An educational lesson from Sweden

Sweden’s education reforms in the early 1990s decentralized the system and gave parents a choice to send their children to state or private schools paid by the state with a voucher. Over 90% of the parents stated in a recent survey that “school choice” and competition have improved the overall quality of education. The poorest are the happiest since their children can now go to the best schools for free. The ability to exit a bad school also gives a working class child the same chance as a middle class one to rise in the world. The initial hostility of the Left has also diminished since even socialist politicians do not dare criticise what is popular with voters. The government budgets have not been hurt by having to finance children in private schools because municipalities have managed to close or cut expenses of the lower performing government schools. The Swedish government provides the resources and sets some basic guidelines and then lets the private sector go to work. It is the perfect public-private partnership.

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