Monday, June 29, 2015

Who'd a thunk it? Sweden teaches us about the perils of school privatization Lawrence Goodman #EdBlogNet @idraedu

Who'd a thunk it? Sweden teaches us about the perils of school privatization
In 1992, the normally socialist democratic Sweden implemented a series of school reforms that would be the wet dream of most conservatives. Vouchers were issued to parents to send their children to any schools around the country, private or public. Companies were allowed to start for-profit schools. Private equity firms ran hundreds of schools.
The results? Exactly what any liberal would have predicted:
Test scores fell consistently starting in 1995. Source.
Social stratification and ethnic and immigrant segregation increased. Source.
The better teachers went to schools with students of higher socio-economic status. Source.
In 2013, one of the biggest private education firms declared bankruptcy, disrupting the education of 11,000 students. Some1,000 people lost their jobs. The company's total unpaid debt was around 1 billion crowns ($150 million). Source.
In 2001, a convicted pedophile set up several schools quite legally. Source.
In one study, Swedish researchers found:We find that an increase in the private school share moderately improves short-term educational outcomes such as 9th-grade GPA and the fraction of students who choose an academic high school track. However, we do not find any impact on medium or long-term educational outcomes such as high school GPA, university attainment or years of schooling. We conclude that the first-order short-term effect is too small to yield lasting positive effects.
And yet Britain used the Swedish reforms as model for their own efforts at privatization. And, of course, Republicans remain unchastened.

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