Om friskolereform i The Agenda

Ray Fisman, professor vid Columbia universitet, har skrivit en uppmärksammad artikel i Slate Magazine om vilka läxor USA ska dra från den svenska friskolereformen. Han skyller Sveriges kollaps i PISA på reformen och varnar USA för friskolor. Jag bemöter detta i en gästpost i National Review Online.

It is easy to see why Fisman is inclined to blame Sweden’s choice-based educational reforms. Sweden implemented the most sweeping voucher system in the world, literary citing Milton Friedman as inspiration. A few years later, Swedish PISA scores are a national embarrassment. At a superficial glance, it might seem absurd to deny the failure of privatization. A closer look at the data, however, tells a different story….

“The PISA report on Sweden writes:

In Sweden, there is no statistically significant performance difference between students in private and public schools after accounting for students’ socio-economic status. Between 2003 and 2012, results in public schools deteriorated by 33 points, while results in private schools declined a non-significant 25 points.

Fisman doesn’t cite any plausible mechanism through which private schools could have dragged down the test scores of the 86 percent of Swedish pupils who attend public schools….”

“Professor Fisman’s criticism of system design and the implementation of privatization is entirely accurate. If anything, he understates the corruption caused by the lack of control. Fisman writes that the Swedish system doesn’t permit schools to screen pupils, but in practice, some private schools broke the rules to cherry-pick students. Meanwhile, grade inflation has indeed become a major problem. Private schools have an incentive to give their pupils more lenient grades in order to attract more applicants. Competition for students has given public schools similar perverse incentives….”

“Around 1990, Swedish schools were among the best in the industrialized world. Today they are among the worst. I would gladly trade privatization for returning to time-tested old-fashioned teaching methods. The optimal solution would, however, be to actually experiment with Milton Friedman’s ideas at a more than superficial level: Let parents who believe in Rousseauian pedagogic theories send their children to such schools. I and those like me should not be forced to expose our children to these nonsensical fads…”

Läs hela texten här.


Ray Fisman twittrar generöst om min artikel: “A fair and reasonable critique of my Slate column on Swedish school choice (even if I don’t agree!)”