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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16221/the-failure-of-swedish-schools-to-the-left-and-right/

The Failure of Swedish Schools. To the Left and Right

March 25, 2011 by

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


Mr Magoo March 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm

There was also this interesting post about education spending and results on Tino Sanandaji’s blog.


Anthony March 25, 2011 at 10:24 pm

The extent to which “fuzzy education” advocates (fanatics?) have taken control of school boards, ministries and teacher education programs would astound most people. I have direct experience with the education systems in two provinces in Canada and I have heard several first hand accounts from the system in England.

My friend in England was teaching in a temporary position in a school and when he told his principal about a group of students who hung around the back of the classroom ignoring him all day the principal told him not to bother them, lest he be stabbed for telling them what to do. While Canada has not “progressed” quite to the level of England, administrators are doing their best to push things there. Among other educational reforms Ontario adopted a “no work, no problem” policy in which students are NOT to be penalized for failing to complete assignments (on time or otherwise). A student who does every assignment all year and gets 60% is to be given the same mark as a student who gets 60% on a few assignments but decides not to bother doing the rest. No reason or excuse is required.

With school administrators (over the strident objections of most teachers) doing their best to teach students NOT to take responsibility for anything (“it’s not his fault, he might come from a bad home”) it is no wonder that students in public schools are leaning less and less each year.

Ohhh Henry March 25, 2011 at 11:48 pm

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.

That’s just the classrooms – you should see the teacher’s lounge if you want real Lord-of-the-Flies stuff.

And send those teachers to a convention or union meeting and oh, my. A few years ago a politician (I think it was a female cabinet member) from the conservative party in Ontario, which was extremely unpopular with the unions, tried to speak to a bunch of teachers. They were throwing things, screaming obscenities, trying to shove the lady and knock her down, and there was even a guy dressed up in a gorilla suit trying to start a melee in the hallway. I’m guessing that the guy in the costume was probably one of those pathetic, sad-sack geography teachers who has to teach driver’s ed or typing classes on the side. If you want to see egalitarianism gone wild, just look at teacher’s union seniority clauses.

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