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The Failure of Swedish Schools. To the Left and Right

03/25/2011

Tino Sanandaji analyzes data on the Swedish school system on his blog, where increasing “privatization” (a Friedmanite voucher system) and quickly dropping test scores seem to correlate. After first debunking the left’s view that the problem of Swedish education is because of private schools and profits, he debunks the right’s view that the voucher system (a supposedly “capitalist” system) will put an end to the degenerating school system.

Tino rightly points out that the Swedish right’s educational system is a faux capitalist system that restricts free enterprise from behaving like free enterprise and therefore cannot provide the remarkable results we have learned to expect from the market. He also hints at the curriculum being continuously watered down, which is also the case with expectations. And he hints further at the substandard norms in Swedish schools (as well as in society as a whole) and the power vacuum, a result of the egalitarian objectives of education, that has created a type of “mini Lord-of-the-flies” atmosphere in classrooms.

What he does not bring up is how Swedish university education of teachers was dramatically changed over the last decades in order to fundamentally make schools into fuzzy-education, egalitarian-oriented institutions for raising Good Citizens. (This, by the way, in the form of creating “good democratic citizens” is an objective of education as stated in the Central Plan as enacted by Parliament and enforced by The Swedish National Agency for Education.) Finishing a teaching degree makes you state certified for teaching certain subjects, but it does not mean you actually studied those topics (!).

Of course, when teachers are taught to be soft and never demanding, to do what the children ask rather than educate them, and to explicitly advocate gender neutrality in the class rooms at the expense of teaching – which are all part of what you learn while working towards the teaching degree – then the quality of education necessarily drops. Fast. But this should not be surprising; it is all in line with how that Socialist Utopia in the north is developing.

See also: How the Welfare State Corrupted Sweden, The Sweden Myth, Stagnating Socialist Sweden, The Recycling Myth

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Per Bylund is associateprofessor of entrepreneurship & Records-Johnston Professor of Free Enterprise in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Website: PerBylund.com.

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