We speak with Samuel E. Abrams of Teachers College, Columbia University. The root problems in K12 education — including poverty-related stress and underpaid and underprepared teachers — are pervasive and expensive to fix. So instead, the U.S. has  adopted a “commercial mindset,” measuring success through standardized test scores and increasingly outsourcing school management to for-profit and nonprofit corporations. Dr. Abrams explains what we can learn from Finland’s education system.


00:00-00:42 Intros

00:42-03:01 What “education and the commercial mindset” means

03:01-05:26 Examples of for-profit and non-profit privatization 

05:26-13:57 Effects of privatization

13:57-20:01 What can be done to enable public education to better meet student needs

20:01-21:45 Separation of church and state

21:45-28:37 Potential positive lessons from business; W. Edwards Deming; rejecting value-added measurement

28:37-32:13 Comparison of U.S. and Finnish education systems

32:13-35:27 Key changes that can be made in U.S. education system

35:27-36:50 Outro 


Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. 



Soundtrack by Podington Bear