Education Forum Agenda


Education for a 21st Century World

August 6-7, 2014 at the Carlson School of Management, 3M Auditorium
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

How should we nurture the next generation from cradle to career?

How and when should we use 21st technology to assist this process?

As Americans consider questions like this, they discuss high test scores, longer class days and years, and high tech solutions. “From Cradle to Career,” looking instead at equity in society and public responsibility for child rearing, asks different questions:

  • Can equity play a central role in how a community raises an entire population to be active and productive adults in the 21st C?
  • Can technology assist this approach?
  • Can we make education something that children and adults enjoy?

State of Minnesota stake holders together with representatives from Finland will engage in these questions this summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Why should we create a transnational conversation with Finland?

In the 1980’s and 1990’s Finland put in place a massive national public school reform that addressed differences in social and economic status and its affect on access to education. The high PISA scores attest to its success, but Finland knows the 21st century has created new challenges. In August, in Minnesota, Finnish practitioners will bring their current discussions and new ideas, developed in the context of the practice of Equity, to create a new transnational conversation focused on Minnesota.

Why should we have this conversation in Minnesota?

  • The State of Minnesota’s population is 5.3 million, and Finland has 5.5 million.
  • PISA scores indicate that the United States continues to lag behind global leaders like Finland.
  • Minnesota provides a credible base from which to explore this lag.
    • Minnesota’s public school students provide some of the highest test scores achieved in the nation.
    • Minnesota also has the lowest achievement rates among minorities, ranking next to the very bottom of all 50 states.
  • Minnesota, like Finland, is a civil society that is concerned about the whole well-being, a region that values education, health and hope.

The Cradle to Career Education Forum will bring together government policy makers and educational theorists from two countries, the USA and Finland, to create a dialogue with school administrators, classroom teachers, and parents–a dialogue that will envision and define a workable and viable future for public education, and an equitable future that engages the entire population.


Minnesota has a proven track record that it wants and does create nationally ranking schools. Now, it will begin to discuss how to raise all the schools to this position and, at the same time to create the highly skilled workforce, and community partnerships that will attract people, jobs, and new development to Minnesota

  • Mission: initiate a new vision of how to achieve a world class education in Minneapolis and Minnesota for all its citizens.
  • Method: open a dialogue among the key decision makers in the state of Minnesota
    • Politicians and business leaders
    • Teachers and School Administrators
    • Parents and the General Public
  • Premise: Inclusion of all Minnesota voices.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Day 1: Education for 21st Century World

8:15 Registering, Networking, Coffee and Tea
9:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks

Keijo Karjalainen, Cultural Counselor, Embassy of Finland, Washington DC
Marianne Wargelin, President of FinnFest USA

9:15 Keynote Address I: Education for 21st Century World

Maureen McLaughlin, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Education and Director of International Affairs, U.S. Department of Education

10:15 Keynote Address II: Education for 21st Century World

Jaana Palojärvi, Director for International Relations, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland

11:00 Break
11:15 What is Fun Learning with the Angry Birds?

Mighty Eagle/CMO Peter Vesterbacka & Vice president of Learning

12:00 Panel of Respondents to the Keynote Address

Dr. Lauri Järvilehto, Philosophy Academy, Helsinki, Finland
CMO Peter Vesterbacka & Vice President of Learning, Helsinki, Finland
Executive Director, R.T. Rybak, Generation Next, Minneapolis, MN – Invited
Dr. Anja Kurki, Principal Researcher, American Institutes for Research, Washington DC

1:00 Lunch

Networking and box lunch

2:00 – 3:40 TED-talk and Thematic Sessions
2:00 – 2:30 Session 1. The Science of Fun Learning

Dr. Lauri Järvilehto, Philosophy Academy, Helsinki, Finland

2:35 – 3:05 Session 2. The Finnish Classroom and 21st Century Skills

Miika Lehtovaara, Class/Subject Teacher (Comprehensive School, 1- 9) Tampere, Finland
Elementary teacher from Finland will describe his innovative approaches to learning in Finland today. How does he successfully identify individual learning styles in his diverse classroom? How do schools successfully help students understand and appreciate other cultures, and learn a foreign language?

3:10 – 3:40 Session 3. What is Learning in 2020? What does Innovative School look like?

Tiina Korhonen, Head of the Innokas Network, City of Espoo and University of Helsinki, Finland
Minna Kukkonen, Innokas-Coordinator, City of Espoo and University of Helsinki, Finland
In this session, you can get familiar with the Finnish Innovative school model, the practical learning of 21st century skills and the innovative use of technology in Finnish schools. The innovative school model is the integration of learning, teachership, leadership and home, school and community collaboration .The topic is examined from the perspective of creativity and innovation.

3:40 Break
3:55 – 4:30 Panel of Respondents to the Sessions

Hector Garcia, Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC), St. Paul, MN
Jay Haugen, Superintendent, Farmington Public Schools, MN
Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
Kit Olson, Teacher, Edina Public Schools, MN
Gretchen Sage-Martinson, Parent, St. Paul School District, MN

4:30 – 5:00 Plenary and Closing

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Day 2: Education Reforms and Equity

8:15 Registration, Networking, Coffee and Tea
9:00 Welcome and Opening Summary
9:10 Education Reforms and Equity: Options for More Equitable Education Reform

Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, former Director General of National Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation (CIMO), Ministry of Education and Culture, Helsinki, Finland

10:00 – 10:55 Education and Equity in Minnesota and Current Reforms

Commissioner, Brenda Cassellius, Department of Education, MN

10:55 Break
11:10 – 12:10 Panel of Respondents to the Keynote Address

Michael Munoz, Superintendent, Rochester Public Schools, MN
Mayor Ardell Brede, City of Rochester, MN
Dr. John Moravec, Founder of Education Futures LLC.
Dr. Anja Kurki, Principal Researcher, American Institutes for Research, Washington DC
Dane Smith, Growth and Justice, Minneapolis, MN

12:10 Lunch

Networking and box lunch

1:10 – 3:05 TED-talk and Thematic Sessions and Small Group Activity
1:10 – 1:40 Session 4. New Learning Environments and Establishing Learning Communities in Schools and the Effects on Teacher Training

Dr. Riitta Juusenaho, Projects Director of City of Tampere
What are learning environments? Who should be learning in schools? Only children? And what are the 21st century skills that should inform teaching practice in every school? How do we build a “new school?” Who should be making questions in classrooms, teachers or children? We will share the ways these questions are solved in Finnish schools and in teacher training.

1:45 – 2:15 Session 5. Future Learning Skills

Katariina Salmela-Aro, University of Jyvaskyla, Academy of Finland Research Programs
What are future learning skills and development in global context? This longitudinal study will explore this question and role of technology.

2:20 – 2:50 Session 6. The Finnish Approach Implemented by Two Public School Teachers in Minnesota

Anne Shadrick, Elementary school teacher, Farmington, MN
Ulla Tervo-Desnick, Elementary school teacher, St. Paul, MN
Are you looking for ways to improve the focus of students? Would you like to find strategies to raise the level of engagement? Research shows that an active brain is the ideal way to maximize effective learning. In this session, you will be introduced to several activities and strategies that will activate the brain and improve the learning of students, and also raise test scores. These strategies can be implemented immediately with minimal supplies.

2:55 Break
3:15 – 4:15 Panel of Respondents to the Sessions – Moderated by Pasi Sahlberg

Louise Sundin, Executive Vice President of Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, MN
Dr. Karen Seashore, Professor in the Department Organizational Leadership, Policy, and development, College of Human Development and Continuing Education, University of MN
Ted Kolderie, Senior Associate, Education Evolving, St. Paul, MN
Crystal Polski, Fulbright Scholar in Finland, Social Studies Teacher at Wayzata High School, MN
Miika Lehtovaara, Class/Subject Teacher (Comprehensive School, 1- 9) Tampere, Finland
High School Student, Sandy Calvillo, Rochester, MN

4:15 – 4:35 Small Group Activity, Reflections, and Action Steps – Led by Pasi Sahlberg
4:35 – 5:00 Plenary and Closing