We speak with Dr. Sam Abrams of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE) at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Abrams describes his analyses of statistics released by local and national education systems and widely disseminated by the media. Sometimes the reports are wrong or misleading, which can have serious consequences for students. We also talk about some of the differences between Finland’s schools and our own.


00:00-00:41 Intros

00:41-05:39 Misleading narrative about admissions to NYC screened high schools

05:39-08:23 Why Department of Education and principals don’t correct the narrative

08:23-12:05 Sam Abrams’s Columbia Journalism Review article

12:05-13:02 How changes in admissions policies at Beacon and Bard High School and Early College will change the schools

13:02-17:31 What an equitable admissions policy could look like; screening; focusing on reducing large economic consequences for students of tracking

17:31-24:15 “Teaching time” in US and other countries—errors in comparative data and their importance

24:15-26:31 Looking at assessment in Finland and the U.S.

26:31-31:22 Educational option plans—implications for integration and for instruction

31:22-33:30 Outro


Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. 


Soundtrack by Poddington Bear