The enemies of school reform have something of a champion in Finland’s Pasi Sahlberg. In a recent comment piece for the Guardian, he discusses his self-invented bogeyman, the ‘Global Education Reform Movement’ with the evil-sounding acronym ‘GERM’. GERM has failed, he says. In his story, choice, competition, and accountability have spread like a virus around the world, infecting education system after education system. But, according to Sahlberg, there’s no evidence the policies work! Only that they increase school segregation, which in turn may have a negative effect on equality in outcomes. He tries to quote the latest 2012 PISA survey to prove his point.
Except there’s a problem: the OECD report to which Sahlberg refers has nothing, I repeat nothing, to say about effective practices and policies for raising performance.