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Finland is changing its education system AGAIN, and that change STILL doesn’t include standardized testing

25 Mar

While the United States and a few other countries have allowed UK’s Pearson—the largest private-sector, for profit education publisher and test generator in the world—greater influence in their countries, Finland is going in the opposite direction.

“Finland making drastic changes to an already successful education system. Why now? And will this model change the way other countries go about educating their children?” The Christian Science Monitor asks.

Despite having an education system that doesn’t rely on standardized test scores, Finnish students perform extremely well on exams that are given to students all over the developed world.

But now Finland is looking to overhaul its education system and will now focus more on “topics” and less on subjects, according to Alexander LaCasse for The Christian Science Monitor.

The Finns are calling this “phenomena” teaching while in the United States, teaching is called “TESTING”.

I ran into trouble embedding this vimeo video in the post so here’s the link or click Watch on Vimeo above:
https://vimeo.com/122720631

Alexander LaCasse, who wrote the piece for The Christian Science Monitor said, “Finland’s deviation on educational standards may come as a surprise to some – because Finland trails only Singapore and China in performance on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test given to 15 year olds in 65 of the world’s most developed countries.”

What the corporate reformers don’t want anyone to know is that poverty is the  problem—a challenge totally ignored by the rank and punish Common Core Standardized Testing culture promoted heavily by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Walton Family Foundations (in addition to a few other billionaires)—and not teachers or public schools.

If you watch the video that comes with this post, starting at 30:00, you will discover that when we compare U.S. Schools internationally, U.S. schools with less than 10% student poverty are ranked #1 in the world on the PISA test.

For instance, Finland has less than 4% childhood poverty compared to the U.S. that has at least 24% of its children living in poverty. In fact, high achieving countries that score high on international tests all have less than 10% of their children living in poverty.

Even U.S. schools with 25% childhood poverty rates rank #3 in the world on international tests and even schools that have 50% student poverty levels rank above international averages in reading.  In addition, 1 in 5 schools in the United States have 75% of children, or more, living in poverty.

The schools I taught in for 27 years of the 30 I spent in classrooms as a teacher had 70% – 80% childhood poverty rates.

Timeline for Crony Capitalist's War Against Public Education

More information on this issue:

Common Core-Aligned Test Publisher Pearson Using Personal Data to Spy on Students Online

Pearson is expanding its brand into the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia. Pearson earns over $8 billion in annual global sales, with much more to come if countries continue to use standardized tests to rate students, teachers and schools.

For Pearson, Common Core is private profit

Among the likely benefactors of the extra funds were the four companies that dominate the testing market — three test publishers and one scoring firm.

Those four companies are Harcourt Educational Measurement, CTB McGraw-Hill, Riverside Publishing (a Houghton Mifflin company), and NCS Pearson. According to an October 2001 report in the industry newsletter Educational Marketer, Harcourt, CTB McGraw-Hill, and Riverside Publishing write 96 percent of the exams administered at the state level. NCS Pearson, meanwhile, is the leading scorer of standardized tests.

Even without the impetus of the No Child Left Behind Act, testing is a burgeoning industry. The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College compiled data from The Bowker Annual, a compendium of the dollar-volume in test sales each year, and reported that while test sales in 1955 were $7 million (adjusted to 1998 dollars), that figure was $263 million in 1997, an increase of more than 3,000 percent. Today, press reports put the value of the testing market anywhere from $400 million to $700 million.

The Testing Industry’s Big Four

The British publishing giant Pearson had made few inroads in the United States — aside from distributing the TV game show “Family Feud” — when it announced plans in the summer of 2000 to spend $2.5 billion on an American testing company.

No profit left behind

The controversy over Common Core hasn’t stopped companies from cashing in on the education standards program.

States have already awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in Common Core-related contracts to businesses including Pearson, McGraw-Hill Education CTB, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Apple since 2012. And, despite some legal challenges and boycotts, more contracts potentially worth billions of dollars for testing, instructional materials and teacher training are on the way.

Companies cash in on Common Core despite controversy

What can we do? The answer is to refuse high stakes testing

UNITED POT OUT: The movement to End Corporate Education Reform

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial.

Fair Test: The National Center for Fair and Open Testing

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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36 responses to “Finland is changing its education system AGAIN, and that change STILL doesn’t include standardized testing

  1. drext727

    March 25, 2015 at 12:05

     
  2. Alan Bara

    March 27, 2015 at 06:01

    Finland is one of the top PISA scoring nations in the world and they don’t use standardized tests to judge public school teachers and close public schools, do we need any more evidence to convict the crooks that are supported by the Obama White House and send them to prison for a long time?

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      March 27, 2015 at 08:31

      The kind of prisons they’d go to would be country club prisons with tennis courts and golf courses in place of fences and barbed wire. White collar criminals in the United States are rewarded for their crimes more than they are punished. And when they come out, they teach other white collar criminals, who pay for the lectures, on how they did it and how to avoid getting caught.

       
  3. Cristina

    May 25, 2015 at 21:11

    So what? They’re still socialists!

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      May 26, 2015 at 08:17

      Yes, Finland is one of the ten MOST Socialist countries in the world—but it is not a pure socialist/communist country. I think it is worth mentioning that since in the United States, with its Crony Capitalist economic-political system, any form of socialism is a dirty word to corporate oligarchs like the Walton family or Koch brothers, who hate any type of restraints on their abuse of power and employees. The corporate oligarchs spend a lot of money on PR to demonize and stereotype anything that is socialist in nature—for instance, Social Security (that workers pay into their entire working life), and Medicare.

      But few if any of these oligarchs and their corporations complain about the huge amounts of money spent to fund our military and endless foreign wars around the world—and the reason for that is $$$$. The U.S. has the largest private sector arms industry in the world. It even sells weapons to brutal dictatorships and future enemies of the U.S,

      “Despite popular myths, there is very little connection between economic performance and welfare expenditure. Many of the countries on this list are proof of that, such as Denmark and Finland. Even though both countries are more socialistic than America, the workforce remains stronger.

      “Finland has one of the world’s best education systems, with no tuition fees and also giving free meals to their students. The literacy rate in Finland is 100 percent. Finland has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Like Denmark and other European countries, equality is considered one of the most important values in society. Whereas in the Netherlands, government control over the economy remains at a minimum, but a socialist welfare system remains. The lifestyle in the Netherlands is very egalitarian and organized, where even bosses do not discipline or treat their subordinates rudely.”

      http://blog.peerform.com/top-ten-most-socialist-countries-in-the-world/

      In addition, many of the countries on that previous most-socialist list are also the most happiest countries in the world.

      >Switzerland. Switzerland took the top spot from Denmark in 2015, rising from third to first place in this year’s list of the world’s happiest countries. …
      >Iceland. …
      >Denmark. …
      >Norway. …
      >Canada. …
      >Finland. …
      >Netherlands (Holland) …
      >Sweden

      And there this from Quora: How did Norway become so rich despite being a socialist country?

      “The reason Norway is filthy rich is definitely the oil and gas. But the other Nordic countries, which have little or no such resources, are also pretty well off and shaking off the recent economic crisis better than most of the developed world. They have a big state sector, but it is misleading to call any of them ‘socialist’. [NOTE: you might want to check Alaska and what that mostly GOP controlled state does with its oil wealth—they tax it heavily and give a lot of it away as an annual stipend to Alaska’s citizens. It’s called the Alaska dividend, but it is a government Socialist handout that comes from taxes levied on the oil companies that pump oil in Alaska and off of its coasts.]

      http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Latest-News-Wires/2013/0918/Alaska-dividend-Oil-revenue-means-900-for-each-resident

      “Social democracy is a quite pragmatic ideology, where government mediates between workers and employers in ways that benefit both. Much of the large amounts of money that pass through the state goes not to handouts to non-workers, but to make as many people as possible the best workers they can be: Education, health care, child care, pension funds … Business benefits from a workforce that is very productive. Productivity in Norway is among the highest in the world, despite (?) the fact that so many Norwegians work for the government.

      “The role of government in the Nordic countries is not to spread as much red tape as possible, but to grease the gears and get things done. (Not that they always succeed, of course, but surprisingly often.) In many cases the State also owns businesses that compete with private businesses, and the other way around. This keeps both sides productive: Businesses cannot secretly collude to keep prices up, because then suddenly the government-owned alternatives would become cheaper than them. “Likewise there are limits to how bureaucratic and unproductive the government-run businesses can be when they are constantly compared to the market.

      “This approach works pretty well, as seen in the other Nordic countries. Add an unexpected and undeserved treasure chest in the form of oil and gas, and even a chilly land of mountains and fjords can get ridiculously rich.”

      Written 9 Jan, 2014. 27,071 views.
      Upvote484

      http://www.quora.com/How-did-Norway-become-so-rich-despite-being-a-socialist-country

       
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 08:32

        I do not submit to the fallacy of bifurcation, where we have to chose from either socialism or cronyism. There is a 3rd choice, freedom.

        The education in Finland is so “good” that people do not know how to live without the help of the government. They are not free to live their lives as they see fit. The socialist system works well for people who don’t want to be responsible for their own lives. As for me, give me liberty or give me death.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 08:44

        Thanks for the laughter. You logic is totally flawed. How can you speak for the more than five million people in Finland and claim they are not free to live their lives as they see fit? I don’t think you read the last part of my comment from Quora.

        I think our definition of freedom is libertarianism. If that is correct, I suggest you discover the reason why there has never been a total libertarian country in the world ever. Like Communism and pure Socialism, Libertarianism does not work and it does not lead to more freedom because it creates a world of brutal competition where only a few win and most lose.

        You might want to read: What Happened When Some Libertarians Went Off to Build Ayn Rand’s Vision of Paradise

        “Rand’s heroes aren’t just rapists, woman-beaters and thieves. They’re also terrorists who freely blow up or burn properties for ideological reasons, or simply because things didn’t turn out as they might have liked.

        “Then there’s the fraud. It’s praiseworthy in Rand’s eyes—if it’s practiced by the right sort of people. Francisco, the rapist/hero, even boasts about defrauding investors from the “looters'” parasitical economy. In an ironic foreshadowing of Galt’s Gulch in Chile, he brags about building defective housing for Mexican workers as part of a government contract:”

        http://www.alternet.org/books/what-happened-when-some-libertarians-went-build-ayn-rands-vision-paradise

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 08:56

        I can speak of that system because I was born and lived in one of the socialist countries in Europe. If any of those 5 million people decide they don’t want for the government to take care of them and want to make their own decisions regarding education, health care, pensions, etc., can they? Of course not. Then how can we say they are free?

        My definition of freedom is a government inside the Constitution. Nothing is perfect in this world, but socialism and communism are on the opposite side of freedom. Some people like being in bondage, but they do not have the right to force everybody to accept it.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 09:23

        And you think we have total freedom in the United States?

        How individuals and groups think of freedom is measured in different ways. Here, we look at three of those lists each using a different method to measure freedom.

        Have you ever seen the world’s freedom index where Finland is listed as #1? In fact, many of the top 10 countries on that list are on the most socialist countries list. The United States is #49. China is #176. Switzerland, considered the most libertarian country on the planet, is listed as #20.

        World Press Freedom Index 2015: decline on all fronts

        The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate.

        https://index.rsf.org/#!/index-details

        The conservative U.S. Heritage Foundation also has its freedom index that ranks the world’s countries. The Index covers 10 freedoms – from property rights to entrepreneurship – in 186 countries.

        The U.S. made #12 on this freedom list.

        How did the most socialist countries rank?
        China #139
        Denmark #11
        Finland #19
        Netherlands #17
        Canada #8
        Sweden #23
        Norway #27
        Ireland #9

        http://www.heritage.org/index/about

        Next is the Social Progress Index for 2015

        To truly advance social progress, we must learn to measure it, comprehensively and rigorously. The Social Progress Index offers a rich framework for measuring the multiple dimensions of social progress, benchmarking success, and catalyzing greater human well being.

        This index measures: 1. Basic Human Needs – 2. Foundations of Well being – 3. Opportunity

        Just move your curser over the interactive map.

        The U.S. was ranked #16
        Finland was #7
        Canada #6
        Switzerland #3
        Norway #1
        Ireland #12
        China #92
        Denmark #8
        Sweden #2
        Netherlands #9

        http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/data/spi

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 09:39

        No, I don’t think we have freedom in US, actually it gets so close to be socialist, just like Europe. That’s the point, why should we borrow european socialism instead of fighting for freedom??

        That freedom index that places Finland as #1 is a farce. A socialist country cannot be on the top freedom list, it’s an oxymoron. I don’t have my opinions based on some lists or indexes, but on experience. When I lived in Europe, my country had 0% unemployment. Sounds great, right? Oh, the socialist Utopia, everyone should be living it!! But also, do you know that we had our food rationed? Two eggs per month per person. One bread (stale) per family per day. But everybody had a job, either they wanted or not. Did we have “basic” human needs provided? Yes. Two eggs per month was pretty basic. And a gallon of skim milk per week. Foundation of well being? Well, we had national heath care, everyone was covered, but not everyone was treated.

        So, you have to go beyond some numbers to see the truth in it. The test of freedom is to see if the people can live their lives without the government’s involvement. If they can’t, they are not free.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 10:12

        Food was rationed—the reason food is usually rationed is due to a shortage of food or certain commodities. For instance, the United States rationed some commodities and foods during World War II.

        Okay. What country and what year were you there when you left? Naming the country and year is not going to reveal who you are if you want to stay anonymous. Without the name of the country or the years you lived there, we have no way to determine the historical context of the time period in that country that soured you agasint any form of socialism. What was the cause (history, country, dates) of your bias?

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 10:40

        Sometimes the food shortage is because of the government’s involvement, look at California’s problem with water. Another proof that the gov should not be involved. Another times, the food shortage is because the government thinks it knows best how much and what people should eat. It doesn’t. Everybody is different with different needs and likes. Just like education and health care. Socialist countries, like Finland in this article, think there is only one way to get educated (and treated medically, etc), and that’s the government way. People are conditioned to think that’s the right way. All the indexes and rankings that show the socialist countries on top is just propaganda, to condition people to think they want socialism because it’s the best system.

        I lived in Romania and I was there when the communist dictator Ceausescu was killed in 1989. I went through the government indoctrination schools, I was raised on rationed food while preached that’s the way the “New Man” lives. I lived in intellectual and physical bondage and I came here and fight against it. After a quarter century I catch myself still thinking sometimes like the socialist thinking I grew up with and I’m working to get rid of it. I do not understand the love affair Americans have with socialism. Laziness? Ignorance? If someone will paint great pictures about the North Korean system, would Americans embrace it, even if defected north-koreans come to tell us how awful it is?

        If we want freedom, we should not fall for the socialist propaganda. Socialism is not pretty.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 10:52

        You are blaming the water shortage in California on socialism?!?!?

        Thank you for revealing that you lived in Romania when it was part of the Soviet Union’s Communist Bloc. There is a HUGE difference between a socialist dictatorship and a socialist democracy. Look at China’s ranking on all three scales compared to the socialist democracies on that list.

        There is a formula for this flawed logic.

        A. Communist Romania was an oppressive socialist country without freedom ruled by a brutal dictator
        B. Finland is a socialist country
        C. Because Romania was an oppressive socialist country, all socialist countries are oppressive
        D. Therefore, Finland is an oppressive country

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 11:03

        socialism
        noun so·cial·ism \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\
        : a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies

        FREEDOM

        : the quality or state of being free: as
        a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action

        I am basing my opinions on these two definitions. One says government control, one says the absence from it.

        Socialism is one step before communism. The degree of how much socialism is in a country does not matter. A country is either free or is not. Just because Finland did not get (yet) to the level of communism like Romania does not make the socialism something to wish for.

        Yes, a country who does not let its citizens to be free from government’s involvement in every aspect of their lives is an oppressive country. Soft socialism is still socialism. We, Americans, have to fight for freedom, not statism.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 12:07

        Finland has a private sector. Finland is a democracy. The people vote. Finland is not a PURE socialist country. It has socialist programs similar to Social Security and Medicare in the United States. Having socialist programs that pay for education from kindergarten through college does not make Finland the same kind of socialist country Romania was during the Communist era.

        Finland has TEN political parties. Eight of the ten parties holds seat in the 200 member country’s parliament. The two Communist Parties in Finland hold no seats in parliament. The current Constitution was rewritten on 1 March 2000, the first was adopted on 17 July 1919—almost 100 years ago.

        I think after a century of democracy, Finland is fairly safe from being taken over by any communist party unless it is invaded by a dictatorship like it was by Nazi Germany during World War II.

        In addition, there is a Communist Party of the United States of America that was founded in 1920. They hold no seats in any state legislature or in both houses of the U.S. Congress.

        There is even an American Nazi party founded in 1959. The American Nazis also don’t hold any seats in state legislature of both houses of Congress.

        As long as Finland is a democracy like the U.S. is, anyone can start a political party. That doesn’t mean the Communists or Nazis are going to take over the government and turn these democracies into dictatorships. However, the U.S. has a much better chance of being taken over by a corporate oligarch like Bill Gates, the Walton family or the Koch brothers. In a democracy, the voters and/or the representatives they elected to office are the ones who will decide to vote away any freedom they have. Any socialist programs those democracies have will not turn those countries into dictatorships similar to Soviet Russia or Romania during its Communist era.

        Finland also has a thriving private sector. Today Finland ranks among the most competitive economies in the world. The country is highly globalized and foreign trade forms an integral part of the business culture.

        http://www.finland.org/public/default.aspx?nodeid=46134&contentlan=2&culture=en-US

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 12:37

        I did not say that Finland is a PURE socialist country. Yes, US borrowed the european socialism, which I think it’s not a good idea. It is even unconstitutional. The fact that public education exists in one country proves that socialism is present in that country. We are not comparing with other countries, but with the definition. It doesn’t matter if one country is more socialist than others, what it matters is if it socialism exists there or not and what is it done about it.

        America was not founded as a democracy and I don’t want it to become one. I don’t want the voters and/or the representatives to vote away our rights. They can’t do that. That’s the difference between America and Europe. I don’t want America to become Europe. It is an oligarchy now. The statists already took over the government. Again I say, the choice is not only between socialism/statism and cronyism, there is a 3rd choice, freedom. I don’t want US to become socialist, nor corporate cronies like Gates to take over, I want us to live free from government or corporate intervention. Finland may not become what was once Romania, but the fact that the people are not free to pursue their own dreams without the government involvement doesn’t make it much better.

        America has a different Constitution than any country in Europe. We have a standard to go to, if we only want. Europe never knew freedom. Why would Americans look at Europe and why would they want to borrow their socialism is beyond my understanding. Unless we agree that propaganda reached its goals.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 17:30

        You say, “The fact that public education exists in one country proves that socialism is present in that country.”

        Then almost every country in the world has socialism because they all dare to have public schools—in the United States those public schools are transparent (meaning you can’t keep secrets on what you teach and how you spend the public’s money), non profit, and are democratic organizations where the people in those local communities vote for who watches over the public school districts—those are called school boards and they have to run for relection on a regular basis.

        Corporate charters on the other hand, are not transparent (they can hide what ever they want from the public and that’s what they are doing—lots of fraud and corruption with hundreds of millions of the public’s money making a few rich), they are not non-profit (no matter what they claim), they are not democratic because they are privately owned by corporations owned by corporate oligarchs who hire the CEO who does what the oligarch wants, and according to several studies, these private sector, for profit, corporate Charters schools are mostly worse or the same as the public schools they are replacing.

        “America was not founded as a democracy and I don’t want it to become one.”

        Does this mean you want to roll back the U.S. government to the end of the 18th century when only 10% of the population could vote, and those voters were all white men who were not Jewish but only white men who owned property. If the white man wasn’t Jewish and didn’t own any property, that white man couldn’t vote. Let’s see what else we’d get back if we rolled back the clock to the 18th century: women would be the property of men and couldn’t own property or work, children could be sold into a form of slavery called servitude where they might end up in a coal mine or factory working 70 hour weeks for 0.25 cents a day for six and a half days a week. And all those minorities: American natives, Blacks, Asians and Latinos would not be able to vote and if the few white men who could vote wanted to make them slaves again or kick them out of the country, they’d have to go.

        Some freedom that would be.

        In 1900, before all the social programs (public schools have almost a 200 year history in the U.S. so that program came first) like Social Security and Medicare, there were no retirement programs. If you could work, you worked. If you couldn’t work, then you were your family’s burden if you had a family to take care of yu that could afford to take care of you—and 40% of Americans lived in poverty. And no one had medical care unless they had the money to pay for it.

        What is your idea of freedom—living like a wild animal where anyone could come along and kill you at any time, eat you, and nothing would happen to them until someone killed them and ate them? If you are talking about the freedom wild animals have, that’s the world you are asking for.

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 17:45

        Yes, socialism is on the rise, freedom is being downsized, sadly. So what happened with those local school boards that are supposed to be “watching over the public schools” when the states adopted the common core standards?? What a person on that school board can do about it? Absolutely nothing. There is nothing transparent about what is taught in schools today, kids and teachers have to sign affidavits and parents can’t see what children are doing in school.

        Nowhere in the Constitution says anything about 10% of population voting, or the treatment of women, or anything you mention.

        I am mostly sure that those “smart” Finnish students cannot comprehend the Federalist Papers written by those “wild animals”, yet, there were waves of immigrants who wanted to live here throughout history, not going to Finland.

        Doesn’t make you wonder why each dictator controlled the education system when he came to power? He who controls the mind of the youth controls the future.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 18:24

        You say “There is nothing transparent about what is taught in school today.”

        Correct if you are talking about the corporate Charter schools.

        And wrong if you are talking about the public schools. That agreement that public school teachers are forced to sign is only about the standardized tests that belong to Pearson and that are linked to the Common Core—the agreement says teachers are not allowed to talk about the Pearson tests with anyone—and that has nothing to do with what public school teachers are teaching. How do you keep what teachers teach a secret? Kids go home and tell their parents if their parents want to know.

        In fact, entire states have opted out of the Common Core Assessment Consortium.

        9 have pulled out
        4 are considering withdrawing
        and 4 never joined

        http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-assessments/what-states-have-pulled-out-of-their-common-core-assessment-consortium/

        http://dailysignal.com/2015/02/19/states-pushback-common-core/

        You say, “Nowhere in the Constitution says anything about 10% of population voting, or the treatment of women, or anything you mention.”

        Huh? The Constitution and Bill of Rights is the law of the Untied States. It’s not the history of the United States. The Constitution is part of that history.

        You would have to read the history of how the Bill of Rights has changed with each amendment. Click the next link and read the timeline that starts in 1790 where it clearly says “Only white male adult property-owners have the right to vote.” That worked out to be about 10% of the total population in 1790.

        http://www.infoplease.com/timelines/voting.html

        The history of the treatment of Women in the U.S.

        http://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage

        A History of Child Labor in the U.S.

        “There was a time when many U.S. children toiled in factories for 70 hours a week, until child labor laws went into effect in the 1900s.”

        http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/history-child-labor

        http://www.history.com/topics/child-labor

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 18:31

        There are people in America who want to live independent of the government intrusion. They want to take care of their children’s education without the government involvement. Why should they be forced to pay for other people’s kids’ education? Why should they educate their children based on government’s or Gates’ standards? Or anything else?

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 18:36

        There are always going to be individuals who don’t want to do anything that anyone else is doing. But the United States is a country where the Constitution and Bill of Rights that was written by our Founding Fathers in the last 18th century decided what the law will be, how to amend it, and the courts also influence that law and we, as citizens, are then held accountable to live by that law or else. If we don’t like it, we can renounce our citizenship and move to another country.

        Find a country that doesn’t have any laws or government and then you can be as free as a bird once you move there. Good luck finding that alleged paradize where eveyrone is free to do whatever they want and never fear going to prison or being taken to court for an alleged crime.

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 18:44

        The role of the government is to secure our rights, not to infringe upon them. Yes, amendments are possible, but not the ones that infringe on our rights. Nowhere in the Constitution or in the amendments gives the government the power to steal money from some people to give it to others under the form of education, welfare, healthcare, pensions, etc. The government should obey the Constitution and leave us to live free.

        Follow your advice, if you like socialist Finland, why don’t you move there? Why are we suppose to be forced to leave under it here?

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 18:49

        Argue with the government. Not me. Hire a lawyer. Or refuse to pay taxes and ignore the laws and see what happens. A hint of what happens to anyone who refuses to follow the law: The United States has more people in prison than any country on the planet, even Communist-Socialist China. So it seems there are others who must think like you. See what it got them.

        http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison-population-total?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All

        As for me moving to Finland. No. I’ll stay here and keep voting and complaining because the Bill or Rights protects me so I can. But I will pay my taxes because I don’t want to lose my house, my savings and end up in prison.

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 18:51

        The government is elected by us. We the People are so ignorant about the

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 18:59

        Sorry, sent before finished.

        We the People are so ignorant about the Constitution that we elect people who violate the Constitution and infringe upon our rights! Nowhere in the Constitution we find that the government has the authority to have a say in education, yet, you and so many people wish to have a government involved in it, just like Finland.

        We the People should start learning the founding documents and elect people who will respect them. We should stop asking for the government to get involved in education, healthcare, pensions, charity, auto industry, agriculture, credit cards, student loans, and whatever else is involved in.

        I will also vote and keep complaining when people dream of socialist Europe. I will share my experience to explain that socialism kills freedom.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 19:08

        Not all of the people who vote are ignorant—some can actually think logically and rationally—but consider that in Presidential elections about half of the eligible voters vote and in off year elections the turnout is worse. In fact, in 2014, the turnout was the lowest in more than 70 years—-people are not voting, and if they don’t vote, the government can do anything they want.

        The people do not rule the country. The representatives they elect do that. Except for the President. The people do not elect the president. The Electoral College does that. Watch the video and discover how we get our president.

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 19:17

        I know how we get the president. No, not all people are ignorant, but most are. Otherwise we wouldn’t have the government we have and the unconstitutional laws we have. That’s one of the purpose of the public schools, to indoctrinate and to dumb down so people won’t know what is the role of the government and what the it supposed to do. That is why, when I see people asking for the government to get involved in education, healthcare, etc. I have to comment and say that is not constitutional and against freedom.

        We have to start electing state legislature that respect our rights. We have to elect people who promise to respect the Constitution.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 19:46

        The public schools don’t make stupid people. They grow up that way. All anyone has to do is take the time to read on their own to learn what’s going on but too many people aren’t interested and don’t like to read so they stay stupid and are easily to fool.

        Good luck on getting enough people who vote to actually discover what’s going on.

        There is no such thing as total freedom anywhere. Even the wild animals aren’t free because another wild animal wants to eat them.

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 20:18

        I’m sorry, but many of today’s high school graduates have no idea of the legitimate functions of the government. They are told not to worry, just vote democrat. They are trained from the moment they are institutionalized that the government will take care of them.

        There may be no total freedom anywhere but I want to get as close to it as possible. Going toward socialism is the opposite direction, so I definitely don’t want to go there. Coming back to the topic of this post, Finland definitely is not an example to follow.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 26, 2015 at 20:33

        The evidence does not support what you claim. If the youth were told to just vote democratic, then we wouldn’t have had the GOP win the majority in both Houses of Congress and they wouldn’t have control of almost half of the 50 states.

        Move to Texas, Idaho, South Dakota, Colorado or New Hampshire. Those five states are supposed to be the free state in the country, or buy yourself an island in the Pacific somewhere and live there.

        http://www.privateislandsonline.com/regions/south-pacific

        http://www.realclearpolitics.com/lists/freest-least-free-states/texas.html?state=play

         
      • Cristina

        May 26, 2015 at 20:41

        We don’t have the GOP majority only because of the youth vote, there are other ages of people who vote 😉 But seriously, there is very little difference between the parties. So what if there is a GOP majority, do you see them following the Constitution? No state is free when the federal government is with its foot on their neck.

        Do you think these students are free?

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        May 27, 2015 at 07:50

        Those videos tell us nothing—they offer examples that could have been cherry picked because the producer of the film had an agenda and weeded out any responses that didn’t fit. Candidates running for a public office do this all the time and so do corporate oligarchs and their CEOs. Cherry picking means they are controlling the message so it says what they want it to say. Even the private sector media with its so-called freedom of the press does it. Freedom of the press does not mean honest and balanced reporting. A perfect example of our so called free media is revealed in a recent book: “The China Mirage”.

        http://www.amazon.com/The-China-Mirage-American-Disaster/dp/0316196673

        As for freedom, as I have said before, everyone has their own concept of freedom—even the homeless who made a choice to be homeless compared to those who didn’t have a choice.

        Freedom is an abstract concept and what someone thinks the definition means can vary widely depending on each person’s socioeconomic level, where they live and the environment they grew up in.

        I think you spend too much time watching or reading misleading, lying hate media.

         
  4. Tytti

    August 24, 2015 at 18:44

    “I think after a century of democracy, Finland is fairly safe from being taken over by any communist party unless it is invaded by a dictatorship like it was by Nazi Germany during World War II.”

    Finland was invaded by the Soviet Union (the Winter War). But even Finnish communists fought against the Red Army, in part because they knew that Stalin had liquidated practically all members of the Finnish Communist party in the Soviet Union. They, like the rest of the Finns, knew what it was like in the USSR, as also the Ingrian refugees had told about the forced collectivisations and deportations of ethnic Finns. The annexation of the Baltic countries then showed everyone what Stalin had in mind for Finland, too.

    After a period of continuing pressure from Stalin the Continuation War started and Finns fought as co-belligerents of Germany (as there was no other country willing to help). But even when there were 200,000 German soldiers in the country, mainly on the northern front in Lapland, Finland was never occupied and remained a democracy with her own government in power all throughout the war years. (The only time it was really in danger was after the war when the Allied Control Commission was in the country and the communists in the government, in 1944-48.) Even Finnish Jews were safe from persecution and served their country just like all the other Finns, they even had a field synagogue at the front and Germans sometimes knew they were dealing with Jewish officers because some were defiant and let them know that.

    So I do find it funny to think that Finns somehow are not free as we are very stubborn people, even Molotov conceded that. Finnish soldiers are not really known for their obedience, either, but more for their fighting spirit and independent thinking, like when they secretly hide weapons after the war (in 1944) in preparation for a guerilla war in case the Soviet Union would occupy the country.

    Even between Stalin and Hitler and fighting for her survival Finland kept her own values and independence, both national and personal, is one of the most important of them. President Kekkonen said to some Soviet leader that “even if the whole world would turn communist, Finland would stay as a Nordic democracy if the people so wish, and I believe they do”. Finns were probably people who knew best in the Western world during the Cold War what the Soviet socialism/communism really was and didn’t particularly like it, as the two wars showed, or three actually, if you count the Civil War.

     
    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      August 24, 2015 at 18:52

      Thank you for sharing this history. I think from this history that the Finns value their freedom more than many Americans do.

       
      • Tytti

        September 1, 2015 at 07:50

        It’s possible, or at least we have a different idea of what the freedom means. I think Finns generally don’t understand why American keep talking about freedom and protecting it and how “American freedom” is somehow special. From what/against whom are they protecting it? From the outside it looks like the one threatening it most is the US government and/or society itself.

        There are some “freedoms” I value. Like the possibility (as a female) to walk in the streets of a big town at night without being scared, or walking in a forest and pick berries or mushrooms without needing a permission from the owner, also I am not tied a car when I want to go somewhere. Children can and start going to school by themselves from the first grade, giving them some freedom to also spend time outside and play. (This summer three 8-9-year-olds found an elderly man who had been missing in a poor condition from the woods they had been playing.)

        Or the access to one of the best library systems in the world for free and borrow books to read and educate myself from a variety of countries because so many books are translated. This extends to children, too, no one is telling them they should or shouldn’t be reading certain books because they are for adults (or books’ “reading levels” are too low).

        And so on. Especially when it comes to gender roles and religion, I feel so much more free here. When I look at the American society, I see they lack many freedoms that I can enjoy every day.

         
      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        September 1, 2015 at 08:08

        I was born in the U.S., grew up here, served in its military, fought in Vietnam when I was in my early 20s thinking I was defending freedom (that was the first time I was fooled). No more. Now I wonder what most Americans think freedom means. To be honest, I don’t think they know what real freedom is, because Americans, in the name of freedom, God, Apple Pie, etc, want to limit freedom of choice that doesn’t harm anyone—and what choice they take away depends on what political correct mob they belong to. One group wants to take away the right to own firearms. Another group wants to take away a woman’s right to her own body. Another group wants to take away our transparent, non profit, democratic public schools and turn them over to autocratic, for-profit/non-profit (no matter the name, someone still profits), opaque. often fraudulent, corporate Charter schools that will be allowed to refuse education to anyone they want—and they are already doing it all across the country wherever they are doing business—and also teach that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth together at the same time because God made us all in one day about 10,000 years ago (about half of Americans believe this and want to force the rest of us to live by what they think and take away our freedom to be taught the science of evolution). The majorette of the people made a free choice that they want clean air, soil and water but a small number of powerful people want to be fee to pollute without restriction. And this is only a sample of the insanity that’s going on.

        I have come to the conclusion that the United States is probably the biggest threat to global civilization and whatever freedom of choice exits around the world today.

         

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