It’s Raining Meatballs

What lessons can we fail to learn from Sweden’s disastrous school choice disaster?

Reader: it seems like only yesteryear that you and I were off to Sweden together to tour the wonders of that country’s experiment with skola privatisering, otherwise known as *the magic of the market.* So what happened since we boarded our return flight aboard Scandanavian Airlines? In a word: katastrofA familiar recipe of vouchers and privately-run, publicly funded schools, spiced up with the profit motive, has had the exact opposite effect of what advocates promised, with international test scores plummeting and gaps between haves and have nots widening, even as for profit school operators have been profiting. So why do I feel like we’ve taken this trip before? Continue reading →

Question Authoritarianism

Yong Zhao warns that America is on a suicidal quest for educational excellence…

zhaoEduShyster: I have to start by paraphrasing my hero, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: why can’t we have China’s education system for a day? 

Zhao: Because the Chinese system is not a system that you want to copy. I started thinking about writing this book a decade ago, after No Child Left Behind. I remember thinking *I can’t believe that the US is going to abandon what has made it a good country so far in order to try to copy a system that has been proven ineffective in producing a modern economy.* After a decade, it’s getting worse and worse, not just in education but in the rise in the glorification of authoritarianism in other domains. That’s how you end up with writers like Friedman asking *why can’t we be China for a day?* Every few decades people begin to question democracy because it isn’t as efficient as authoritarianism. On the one hand we condemn authoritarianism but at the same time we admire its actions. Continue reading →

Cloudy with a Chance of Swedish Meatballs

The totally true, tragicomic and almost-certain-to be-ignored cautionary tale of Sweden’s 30 year experiment with privatizing education…

Pack your bags, reader, and prepare to stow your winebox in the overhead compartment. We’re headed on an adventure of the international variety. Our destination: Sweden—the nation that brought us free love, ready-to-assemble furniture and aquavit—is also home to a 30-year-experiment with skola privatisering, or as we call it, excellence enhancement through the magic of the market. How are things going in Sweden these days? Funny you should ask… Continue reading →