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The Finnish Alternative: Reclaiming Public Education From Corporate Reform

Monday, 20 August 2012 00:00 By Dan Archer and Adam Bessie, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
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The Disaster Capitalism CurriculumThis is the third and final installment of Dan Archer and Adam Bessie's "The Disaster Capitalism Curriculum."

In our first two episodes of "The Disaster Capitalism Curriculum," we took readers to Washington, DC, and post-Katrina New Orleans, tracking how the spread of GERM - the Global Education Reform Movement - is transforming public education into private enterprise. Once born of neoconservative economic philosophy, GERM is now fully bipartisan, and, thus, because there is so little public debate between Democrats and Republicans, the corporate media portrays competition, testing and school choice as our only choice for school improvement.

But there is another way.

In our concluding episode, we take readers to Finland, in an extensive original interview with world-renowned education expert Pasi Sahlberg, director general of Centre of International Mobility and Cooperation in Helsinki. The following report is based on an extensive original interview with Dr. Sahlberg, his book "Finnish Lessons" and a small selection of his many published essays (see a selection of his works below). Here, he provides an alternative vision for empowering public education, a way to improve schools that few Americans have been exposed ... though one which isn't so foreign as it first seems.

Run your cursor over the comic to bring up black circles, which tell you that there is interactive content underneath. Simply click on them to be taken to relevant source materials.

You can pre-order the complete print copy of "The Disaster Capitalism Curriculum: The High Price of Education Reform" - including all three episodes in full-color - here, through Chip-In.

Related Content:

Ana Partanen, "What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success," The Atlantic. December 29, 2011.

Pasi Sahlberg, "How GERM is infecting schools around the world?" Pasi Sahlberg Blog. June 30, 2012.

Pasi Sahlberg, "Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland?" (New York: Teacher's College Press, 2011).

Pasi Sahlberg, "What the US can't learn from Finland about ed reform." The Washington Post's "Answer Sheet. April 17, 2012.

Adam Bessie

Adam Bessie is a professor of English at a Northern California community college and an essayist, most recently in comics form.  Bessie is a regular Truthout contributor, and his writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, AlterNet, and in the Project Censored book series, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @adambessie.

Dan Archer

Dan Archer creates nonfictional, journalistic comics to offer a new perspective on human rights/social justice issues and give voice to stories that wouldn’t otherwise be heard. In 2010, he was awarded the John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists at Stanford University - the first comics journalist ever admitted to the program. His journalistic pieces have been published by American Public Media, Cartoon Movement, The London School of Economics, The Huffington Post, AlterNet, The Guardian UK, Yes! Magazine, Eye See magazine, Graphic Novel Reporter, World War 3 Illustrated, Presente, Operamundi (Brazil), Expressbuzz (India) and Independent World Report, among others. They have also been distributed by the International Organization for Migration, The Coalition for Immokalee Workers and Sparkplug comics. He has also worked with several publishers, including Penguin, Atlantic Books, Abrams Comic Arts (on a collaboration with Harvey Pekar), Random House and Harper Collins. He received his MFA in cartooning from the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont and currently co-teaches the graphic novel project through the Creative Writing Department at Stanford University.

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