If you want to know why Finnish schools are so admired, consider the following:

Finnish schools do not have standardized testing until college entry. Admission to teacher education is highly selective. Teaching is a prestigious career. Child poverty is very low. Finnish schools emphasize the arts, physical activity, and a broad curriculum.

If you can’t visit Finland, read Pasi Sahlberg’s book Finnish Lessons, which is now being read around the world.

Pasi Sahlberg just won the Grawemeyer Award for 2013 for this major book. Please send a copy to President Obama so he can learn about the ingredients of great education policy.

If you don’t have time to read the book (you should make time!), read LynNell Hancock’s article in the Smithsonian magazine about her visit to Finland. Hancock was education editor for Newsweek and now teaches at the Columbia School of Journalism.