September 28, 2010

Today's Question

Today's question is for all you National Standards folks.

Mississippi, despite being the poorest state in the U.S., is nearly as affluent as Finland.  Why is Finland capable of setting its own educational standards while Mississipi requires guidance from the Feds?


Tom Hoffman said...

Good Lord man. Have you ever been to Finland?

KDeRosa said...

I've been to Minnesota which is full of Finns, Swedes, and Norwegians. Is there a difference?

Grambo said...

I think it's a little more complicated than that.

KDeRosa said...

Or is it?

Tom Hoffman said...

Despite what the aggregate economic numbers say, if you spent two weeks (months, years) traveling in Finland and the same in Mississippi there's no way you could reach the conclusion that they're equally "affluent" as actual human communities.

Not that I'm going to try to prove that to you, you pretty much just have to go see and talk to people yourself.

KDeRosa said...

Tom, the TIMBRO link goes beyond aggregate numbers and shows that the "poor" in the U.S. often live better than the average person in the EU and bear in mind that the income of the US poor does not include a considerable amount of "in-kind" transfers. To the extent that cultural differences, they are not necessarily due to financial considerations or fixable by government/charitable programs. Moreover, I believe we have ample evidence that subsidizing the markers of status doesn't necessarily produce the character traits that result in that status; it often undermines them.

Lastly, even if the poor of Mississippi are worse off than the poor of Finland, what does that fact have to do with Mississippi's ability to set (though not necessarily fund) it's own educational standards.

Dick Schutz said...

Aw, c'mon, Ken. Finland is a nation. Minnesota and Mississippi are states in a Federal system of government.

Affluence doesn't cause instructional accomplishments or the lack thereof. Instruction does. You've made a point of that in the past, as I recall.

Finland is pretty much a welfare nation. Is that what you're advocating for Mississippi?

KDeRosa said...

Dick, I can easily pick a state with a higher population than Finland if you think population is a factor.

Education and welfare have traditionally been state roles and these functions have traditionally been taken care of by state government.

The point about affluence is that Mississippi has the resources to deal with the issue.

Here's the analogous situation -- why doesn't Finland need the EU to run set it's education policies and standards but Mississippi needs the US federal government?

Dick Schutz said...

"Today's Question" was:
Why is Finland capable of setting its own educational standards while Mississipi requires guidance from the Feds?

That's the question I was responding to.

Population, affluence, form of government, have only distal influence on academic accomplishments. The proximal determinant is instruction--that black box between "standards" and "standardized tests."