Trump ≠ Finland — Humor


Witnessing the development and expression of perspective is one of the joys of raising little people into adulthood. My son had a “buddy over” and my listening in—aka eavesdropping—content was surprising in its breadth.

Carson and his 13-year-old buddy, my 11-year-old daughter Morgan, and her 5-year-old sister Abigail sat around the dining room table mowing down lunch when the “T” word reared its ugly head. The pre-kindergartner asked Carson’s buddy with an eye roll, “Why are you talking about this Donald Trump?”

“Great question Abby!” screamed my inner mom voice thinking how politics can turn a fun social occasion into a misery. Carson and his buddy proceeded to fill the table in about Mr. T’s activities and his seeming dislike for women. They shared specific examples of Mr. T’s political platform.  My 5th grader chimed in her dislike of Donald’s plan to change her chances to learn in school.

It was satisfying to appreciate how personally this group of kids was taking the public discourse. I suggested we all consider moving to Finland if a Trump presidency occurs.

“Finland?” the puzzled politicos asked while scrambling for a mental image of the world map.

“It sounds like everything you want in your country, is already happening in Finland,” I explained.

Great things about Finland

  • Formal schooling begins at age 7
  • Kids learn through play
  • Society believes education is essential


From multimediaprojectjaw


  • Society and teachers promote respect for nature; students are outside every hour
  • No homework

joe hills thrills tumblr_mjreh0bmhs1qa37j0o1_540

From Joe Hill’s Thrills Tumbler
  • Schools are equally funded
  • Little standardized testing


johncoreywhaley tumblr_mjreh0bmhs1qa37j0o5_540

From John Corey Whaley Tumbler
  • Community ownership in the education system
  • Emphasis is cooperation, not competition
  • More access to teachers


Jan-gebhardt blog post, Europe


  • Low cost overall to society
  • Higher graduation rates
  • Higher rates of economic success after school



“In Finland we orientate more towards learning and working than towards marking and evaluating,” offers a Finnish teacher. From Dana Daporta’s article Finland’s A+ Schools, for

This offering is the type of direct instruction our system may use as a growing tool.

Mr. Trump’s commentary triggered a visceral reaction followed by thoughtful discourse over this lunch. This group of young people–through talking and listening to each other– uncovered strategies they deemed logical for a positive societal future.

And an American dining room felt a little more like Finland.

And this tidbit:

“In a recent analysis of educational reform policies in Finland, Pasi Sahlberg (2009) describes how since the 1970s Finland has changed its traditional education system ‘into a model of a modern, publicly financed education system with widespread equity, good quality, large participation – all of this at reasonable cost’ (p. 2). In addition to the gains in measured achievement, there have been huge gains in educational attainment at the upper secondary and college levels.”

Steady Work: How Finland Is Building a Strong Teaching and Learning System by Linda Darling Hammond

How would you like to bring some Finland into your life?



Pegging the bias-credibility meter — Persuasive

Featured image from Mike Rowe Facebook posting. will link you to the Profoundly Disconnected site.

Social media’s feed of information snapshots is addictively empowering. Who doesn’t feel that they can find out anything they’d like to know about after entering a few keywords into a search engine? I regularly click on items that range from the scientific to the crafty. I recently clicked to a  Journal Sentinel business-section article shared by a Facebook friend. The feelings of dread that followed served as a reminder to acknowledge and mind my seventh sense when clicking through.

The article was about a new facility in the Madison Area Technical College system and the launch of a paid tuition program for unemployed Wisconsinites with an interest in gaining preliminary certification in welding at the Mequon campus facility. My interest was piqued because I am interested in the promotion of learning, wide-ranging applications for all individuals, and the movement to destigmatize working-class identified jobs.

A sense of ick spread from my core as I read. I had to ask myself, “Why is this story bothering you?” My answer, “Because data is missing and it seems to have been intentionally omitted.”

My bias-credibility meter was pegged. My seventh sense had taken a backseat to my information addiction. Meter readings after the click-through are a valuable consideration when part of our information diet.

What does your meter tell you when you click through?

You can find the article here:

MATC offers free welding classes, but Mequon campus has few takers so far

Do you think that the tone of this piece implies imminent failure of the initiative?

Are both sides of the endeavor addressed?

Is the reader offered information about the long-term planning and initiatives of which this certification program might be a part?

Is a political agenda at play?

Did the article cover details regarding national demand for this trade skill?  Does the reader know if students choose this program beyond the qualification of an unemployed status?

What is the tone of the M.A.T.C. dean’s responses? Is he portrayed as a dynamic, strategic planner?

Do you find the input from a local employer (Super Steal representative) valuable? He’s quoted regarding their training program’s emphasis on essential life skills and that he would like M.A.T.C. to include such training so people don’t, “Wash out.”

Was the article an information wash out?

Indulge me while I self-adjust my personal bias-credibility meter closer to dead center with this blog from Mike Rowe’s Profoundly Disconnected Foundation website.

Welding is a $100,000 job!?

Thank you for sharing your meter readings in the comments section.