Monday, May 11, 2015

Rethinking school competition in Sweden

There are calls for reforming Sweden's system of competition and school choice among lightly-regulated private schools. The Guardian has the story: Sweden urged to rethink parents' choice over schools after education decline--OECD recommends comprehensive reform including revised school choice arrangements and more effective regulation

"Sweden has been urged to halt the steep decline in the international ranking of its schools by taking action to limit parents’ and pupils’ right to choose.
report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) recommends “a comprehensive education reform” to restore the Swedish system to its previous standards.
"Andreas Schleicher, director of the OECD’s education directorate, was scathing about the country’s “disappointing” performance, saying he had once viewed Sweden as “the model for education”.
“It was in the early 2000s that the Swedish school system somehow seems to have lost its soul,” he said at a press conference in Stockholm. “Schools began to compete no longer on delivering superior quality but on offering shiny school buildings in shopping centres, and I think that’s the issue we are really seeing.”
"The call for “revised school choice arrangements” will have resonance in the UK, where the coalition government’s programme to launch free schools funded by public money was in part inspired by Sweden.
"Since the 1990s, Sweden has allowed privately run schools to compete with public schools for government funds. Critics on the left blame the voucher system for declining results, saying it has opened the door for schools more interested in making a profit than providing solid education. Conservatives say students have been given too much influence in the classroom, undermining the authority of teachers.
"The OECD report says: “Student performance on the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) has declined dramatically, from near the OECD average in 2000 to significantly below average in 2012. No other country participating in Pisa saw a steeper decline than Sweden over that period.”
"The report blamed the system of school choice for the failure of almost half of children from immigrant backgrounds (48%) to make the grade in mathematics.
"Rather than recommending rolling back Sweden’s system of free choice and competition in schools, however, it suggests that the country “revise school choice arrangements to ensure quality with equity”.
"That would involve limiting the independence of free schools from local education authorities by bringing in new national guidelines to allow municipalities to “integrate independent schools in their planning, improvement and support strategies”.
"The report also recommends helping disadvantaged families make better school choices, so that their children, as well as those from middle-class families, apply to the country’s more popular, better performing schools.
"Finally, it suggests that municipalities restrict the ability of some parents to choose their children’s schools by introducing “controlled choice schemes that supplement parental choice to ensure a more diverse distribution of students in schools”.

1 comment:

Cyril Morong said...

Have you read this post?