My new piece at Ordinary Times is about the lessons we should learn from the failure of Sweden in privatizing their education system. There is just a bit:
The lesson I took from the Sweden’s privatization failure is its contrast with its neighbor Finland. Finland has long been celebrated for its successful schools, with countries around the world attempting to borrow what works from their system. The Finnish system is centralized yet community centered; only the best university students are recruited into the profession, and are paid well for their services. But more importantly, trust and autonomy is placed in the hands of each school’s administrators and educators. Outside corporate and political figures are not given reign to muck with the workings of the school as they see fit (Joanne Barkan has an excellent piece about how philanthropists in America, while celebrated, are doing harm to our schools). Their schools do not shift direction aimlessly as educational fads come or political figures look to make a point.
Good national school systems serve a purpose that exceeds efficiency concerns. They help unite a people and a nation around a community framework, both implicitly and explicitly. While distinct, the Korean and Finnish education systems demonstrate a united vision for a society that the individuated corporate schools attempted in Sweden cannot achieve.
Read it all here.
(Image: Nikolaos Gyzis, “To krifó scholió”, Oil painting, 1885/86.)