Norway and Finland have achieved remarkably different results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which has gained intense attention in popular educational debates. In this article we explore how teachers from two large cities in Norway and Finland experienced the opinion climate on education in 2009. When investigating national images we interviewed teachers working in schools located in both low and high status urban areas. Our focus-group and individual interviews suggest that our informants recognise the national opinion climates on education (Norwegian crisis; Finnish success), but that perceptions vary according to school location. We conclude by suggesting four hypotheses for future research.

Keywords: PISA, public ranking of schools, opinion climate, school context, focus-group interview