Mother’s first class, around 1950, at Skabersjöskolan, where I myself also went to school.

A friend in Sweden sent this article via Twitter. It was written by Jenny Maria Nilsson. I went to Google and asked for a translation from Swedish to English. Sweden is even farther down the road to privatization than we are. A conservative government in the early 1990s opened the way to public funding of independent schools, many of which operate for profit.

She writes:

The goal for primary school is not millions of different things but first and foremost education. If that goal is achieved, it certainly also provides other things: life opportunities, education and freedom, social interaction, a place for children to be and so on, but the school’s goal is teaching a basic curriculum.

In the book about the digitalisation of the Swedish school, which I have contributed to, I write: “What is the school’s task? To be a marketplace for all kinds of commerce, an arena for the edtech industry, a pseudo-market for welfare entrepreneurs and consultants, an advertising opportunity for municipalities, schools and individual teachers, a leisure center where children can thrive while parents are at work, an institution that organizes social support, a place where educators are responsible for identifying and developing great talent, an organization that will kick-start your child’s career, rank your child and let it make contacts with others in its social group, a place for admiration and curling of young people or vice versa a place where you put children in place and so on. ”

Tax-financed primary school is none of this but a “room” organized by us where previous generations through teachers and other school staff strive to convey the basic practical and theoretical knowledge that has been accumulated in various fields. The goal often seems to me to be distorted, the school system has increasingly been characterized by what I call the era of panic, where more people are looking for things that have nothing to do at school. The school has become a means for various special interests rather than a goal in itself.

To leave the era of panic, we need to navigate an era where school and school institutions and administration can maintain integrity. An era where the school is a cohesive unit that honors its knowledge and education mission – what I call the era of the monolith.