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  • Universal School Choice Prevails – For Sweden

    In socialist Sweden, universal school choice allows every parent to choose the best school for their child. The voucher program, which has been in effect since 1992 and was created to tackle the kind of problems plaguing the U.S. educational system, provides families with the opportunity to send their child to any type of school they like – public, private, religious, or even for-profit. Stuart Butler, Heritage Vice President of domestic policy studies, explains in Washington Times:

    These independent schools, like the public schools, get a voucher payment for each child. They compete vigorously with one other because the money follows the child to the school of his or her choice. Schools must satisfy their customers … or lose them.

    While schools must adhere to the Swedish national curriculum and testing, they are free to design their own programs and implement any teaching style they see fit. This arrangement has led to high levels of satisfaction among parents as well as a thriving private school market:

    The growth of the competing private sector has been dramatic. Before the voucher program, less than 1 percent of Swedish children attended private schools. Now it is 10 percent. At the senior high school level, it is 20 percent. About one in five Swedish schools is now private, and roughly 10 percent of the private schools are church-based.

    Swedes have somehow managed to do what the United States has been unable to do – placate the teachers unions, which vociferously oppose school choice. But while socialist Sweden has provided families with the opportunity to receive the best education possible for their children, lawmakers here at home shamefully deny such opportunity to American children. Butler concludes:

    But it is ironic – and embarrassing – that if the 216 low-income D.C. children now effectively being barred from going to private school lived in socialist Sweden, they would be able to exercise choice in a free-market school system.

    Lance Izumi of the Pacific Research Institute also highlights some of the logistics of the Swedish voucher system in a video op-ed in the New York Times. “We implemented competition in education…anybody can use their voucher to choose any school,” states Peter Fyles, CEO of Internationella Engelska school.

    The universal school voucher system has worked beautifully in Sweden, providing families with choice and children with educational opportunity. If President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan want to stay true to their promise to do “what works” in education, Sweden certainly provides an effective template.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Universal School Choice Prevails – For Sweden

    1. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      There is a simple reason for this. Sweden has their "teachers union" if they have one – under control.

      Everyone knows that competition is productive. But, then aagin, who wants to lose tenure?

    2. Bill, Chicago says:

      The premise that "quality education" is Obama's motivation or priority is misguided. Obama is only interested in securing teacher's union support for his political agenda. Obama's Secretary of Education's track record in Chicago was that over 70% of minority males dropped out of high school. Would this level of failure be tolerated if the true objective was quality education? Oh the irony…then they shut down the D.C. voucher program because it IS achieving positive results. Obama can't tolerate having a program out there that proves to the Unions that you can take the most expensive and worst performing school district in the country and make significant improvements through school choice. Why is "choice" so important when it is rationalizing abortion, but it can't be tolerated when it comes to educating our children and rescuing them from a fatally flawed education system? What a bunch of hypocrites!

    3. Michael T., Lakewood says:

      Just one more reason we homeschool. It costs more, but at least we control the curriculum.

      I think it is we who have become more socialist in this case.

    4. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      As long as the left is in power, we will never have a vouchers or any reform in our deployable education system. Today, schools are training ground, not places of learning. The teachers are,

      for the most part, left-wing, union members, reading from altered text book that have been

      purged of the true facts and substituted with the

      lies of the radical left.

    5. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      I saw the DC voucher program debated in Congress. I know the President could have prevented this program from being cancelled. He refused, he didn't want those low income children going to school with his kids! So much for standing up for better education. I felt so bad for the kids, they were on Fox. Now they have to go to school in an unsafe neighborhood. With all the money in Washington, WHY ARE THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS SO BAD?

    6. DAN MOFFATT says:

      The idea that something like this could be implemented in America is absurd.The reason?Too many hands have to be greased.Children lose again.Too big a problem for us to handle,no incentive to change.Again,children lose.It would be nice to see someone speaking on behalf of the children.Do we have such an option?result !! The status quo is maintained.

    7. Pingback: Universal School Choice Prevails – For Sweden » The Foundry « Eastaustinvoice’s Weblog

    8. ronaldo, Vermont says:

      Heritage readers probably all know the reasons WHY educational choice hasn't been implemented. But complaining about unions, tenure, etc, won't move the ball forward.

      Obama opened the door when he said that competition is healthy. Of course we can know he meant, in promoting the "public option" that he ONLY meant healthcare.

      But that's no reason not to use HIS words to renew a fight for vouchers/credits/whatever. We want a "PRIVATE OPTION" for education. Stick to that phrase and stick him with his own words.

    9. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      The best way to improve any product is through open competition, in an open market! The same holds true for our Schools. Parents should be allowed to spend their allotment, what the government spends per child, on any school that the Parent decides is best for the child's education.


    10. Pingback: You decide: What “works” in education? : School Choice Virginia

    11. Dale, NY says:

      choice will not work because segregation is alive and well in the US. Of course it can work in Sweden, everyone is blonde haired and blue eyed.

    12. Jim Hoel, Blue Sprin says:

      People who live in Sweden don't think it is a "socialist country". Here is a reply from one of their citizens:

      "Yes, the system works quite well. Edward is in a small private Montessori school.

      I´m not sure I like that Sweden is being called a Socialist country. To me it´s a bad word. Sweden is a democracy and is led by a right wing government.

      Admittedly, right wing in Sweden is more like the US democrats than the Republicans."

    13. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      We need every individual who is concerned about freedom to help ELIMINATE the career politician. This will require the greatest grass roots movement in history, as the machine controls the money and the media. Find someone you trust, talk them into running, and make sure they WIN! Make sure your local career politician bites the dust! All politics are local! After we eliminate enough of them, we can have a vote for term limits. It All starts with YOU! start now, pass this message in your own words any way you chose, but ACT. The only way they will listen to us is if enough of them are eliminated at one time YOU must make sure YOUR local incumbent is replaced with someone YOU know and trust.

    14. Curious how much in U.S. dollars it is.

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