I'm not writing about this to lift myself up, no. It was an interesting read to me, of course, since I grew up in Finland, and I thought maybe some of you find it interesting as well. I never knew back then that the educational system was one of the top-notch in the whole world, but of course I am thankful!
Anyhow, the article mentions how there is no nation-wide testing. Well, there are national "matriculation" exams in the end of high school and for 9th grade, at the end of comprehensive school.
And it's true that teaching is a highly respected occupation there, which in turn attracts top-notch students to become teachers. BTW I have always felt that the MAIN problem with mathematics education in the U.S. goes back to the teachers, and not to the curriculum.
How Finland became an education leader
Another one on similar lines: West Virginia learns Finland's "most honorable profession": Teacher
I also found this article on CNN, that kind of ties in:
Why one good teacher quit. A high school math teacher is quitting and going into nursing because she can't make a living, and nurses make $20,000 more a year than she does.