A reader of the blog posts a comment saying that the U.S. should be open to charters and privatization because, well, what about Sweden.
|What about Sweden? Their educational system is one of the best in the world. It’s a public/private hybrid that essentially uses a voucher system. This is something the NEA has foot tooth-and-nail for years.To post that “fighting public education” is by itself a bad thing is simply not enough detail. I think it’s safe to say that monopolistic “public education” is a failure in the U.S. It’s verboten to try something new?|
The suggestion is that Sweden should be a model because it has welcomed for-profit schools and various forms of privatization.
Well, what about Sweden? I checked the PISA results and found that Sweden has scores no better than those of the U.S., in reading, mathematics, or science; in fact, Sweden’s scores are nearly identical to ours, right about average, even though Sweden does not face the demographic challenges of the U.S.
Why should Sweden be a model? It is not a high-performing nation. It does not have the challenges of demographic diversity and extreme inequality of income that we have.
I’d rather look to Finland, which actually does excel on PISA. It has consistently been at the top of the international league tables for the past decade (Sweden has not). Finland has built a strong and vibrant public school system.
Like Sweden, Finland does not have much demographic diversity, and it has very consciously sought to reduce child poverty (which is far less than our own).
What Finland has that makes it special is the ideal of equal educational opportunity. It has done a far better job of reaching that ideal than we have. That makes it a worthy model. Finland has achieved both equity and excellence. That is a good combination for us.
If we copy the Swedish model, we will make no progress. If we copy the Finnish model, we too might achieve equity and excellence.