Update 1 – 2015-05-14 – Cornucopias compilation of graphs and names in light of the latest OECD report + bonus video
SCHOOL CRISIS – In the year 1990 Swedish schools were amongst the best in the industrialized world but now they are amongst the worst. It’s so bad that in the spring of 2014, 13.1% of 9th graders did not fulfill the criteria required for high school. Swedish politicians are quick to offer explanations and solutions but are they adequate?
In Sweden we have 2 coalition blocks consisting of Socialists and Liberals. The latter ruled Sweden 2008-2014 and the Minister of Education at the time was Jan Björklund. His reforms were aimed at making the notoriously lax Swedish school more strict and to do so he added more controls, grades and national tests but during his time in power, school results have fallen faster than ever before.
Björklund blames the socialists and they in turn blame him.
Regardless, the responsibility for the Swedish schools now rests on the current Minister of Educations shoulders i.e. Gustav “100 days” Fridolin who is in the Green Party with other bright colleagues such as the alleged Islamist, Mehmet Kaplan.
Prior to the election Gustav (probably) didn’t expect to win so he promised to improve the schools within 100 days. When he woke up and realized that he had to deliver he was in a dilemma so he decided to go back on his promise and stated in a press conference that it would take at least 6 years to turn the tide.
He thinks that increasing teacher wages and spending more taxpayer funds on schools will improve them. The socialists tend to be critical of charter/private schools and want an egalitarian system where everybody is indoctrinated in the state-run schools.
Liberal solutions or socialist solutions?”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.” – OECD
Our neighbour to the East, Finland, spends less than Sweden on schooling and have extremely few charter/private schools. This tells me that more liberal spending probably won’t do much and a socialist solution where all the schools are equally dreadful won’t help either. Which brings me to the following question:
What is Finland doing right that Sweden is doing wrong?
Respect for teachers and the teaching profession is deeply ingrained in the Finnish mentality and has led to intense competition in the applications. Thousands of people apply and after a suitability test 7-15% are accepted to the pedagogical faculties. 94% of teachers have a bachelor’s degree and Finnish schools are more disciplined in the sense that the teachers can send can send disruptive children out of the classroom and confiscate or ban cell phones from lessons with ease.
Sweden has enormous disciplinary issues and there is little to no respect for the profession which leads to nobody wanting to become one. The competition is so low that at one point the bar was set to 0.1/2.0 on Högskoleprovet, the Swedish version of the SATS. If you choose to only fill in A on the multiple choice test you will get more than 0.1. The bar has now been artificially raised to 0.5/2.0 which is still disturbingly low.
OECD raise the alarm
The latest OECD report (2015-05-04) is currently making waves in the media and it shows some more ways in which we differ from Finland. Swedish blogger and author Cornucopia (Lars Wilderäng) has written an interesting post on the matter. He also included some eye-opening charts and gave them appropriate names that I’ve taken the liberty of translating.
“If you do not teach the students math, then they don’t learn math”-graph
“If students aren’t in school then they can’t learn anything”-graph
“Swedish schools grades have nothing to do with the students knowledge and can and should be reformed – instituting earlier grading will not change anything”-graph
“The Swedish school is grossly unequal and discriminated and systematicallly unfavours whole groups of students, such as for example boys”-graph
(My note: Not sure if I agree entirely with this, guys tend to be more rambunctious and it could simply be that boys are underperforming due to a lack of discipliniary measures in Swedish schools. They may very well favour girls but perhaps not to the extent Cornucopia is implying. That’s my experience at least)
“It’s not just the average on the PISA-results which is falling, but the number of top students has also halved”-graph
“The teaching profession is as appreciated by society as the number of students with top grades in math is absent”-graph
“Apparently there is nothing wrong with the Swedish teachers wages, seeing as they at least are higher than the PISA-results”- graph
“The Swedish state can’t do much and will not be able to pass any reforms seeing as it is the municipalities or the schools themselves that decide”-graph
There is however, as is usually the case when it comes to Sweden, an elephant in the room that most people, including the OECD and Cornucopia, prefer not to talk about. This is problematic because the impact it has is so monumental. I do not think it should be ignored.
As the OECD noted no other country has experienced a steeper decline in student performance than Sweden in the past decade and in this very same decade the majority of the population growth has been a direct result of lax immigration policies. Correlating the two is not appreciated by the politically correct masses in Sweden and if someone reading this thinks doing so is racist I regret to inform you that there is something wrong with you and your ideology.
Imagine if 500 000 Eritreans, Germans, and Australians moved to Japan each year and that 100% of Japans population growth was for the past decade a direct result of that very same immigration. The parents don’t speak fluent Japanese and it therefore makes perfect sense that their children will, by and large, not do as well in school as the Japanese children.
When you take a look at the differences in school results between immigrants and Swedes this becomes perfectly clear but is nonetheless completely taboo for the media to mention or the politicians to discuss. The only country whereas immigrant students do better than native students is Australia; a country that cherry picks individuals who are well-educated and have the skills required for the Australian labour market. This stands in stark contrast to Sweden which has prioritized immigration from the third world and some groups such as Somalis are, to a great extent, analfabetic.
But enough with the boring statistics and bland facts. I am going to end on a more personal note with some anecdotes and a short youtube clip.
I am not fully Swedish and have lived a large portion of my life abroad and boy, oh boy, looking back I would describe myself as disruptive, cocky, and short tempered in other words an all-round pain in the a** for any teacher.
The only reason I had decent grades when I lived abroad was my parents, strict teachers and exceptional schools but when I came to Sweden…
- Attendance wasn’t a prerequisite
- There were no grades until year 7
- Teachers hardly kicked anyone (including myself) out of the classroom because of the laissez-faire attitude.
One memorable moment was when the English teacher was going to grade me for the first time and I remember telling him that anything other than an A+ would be unacceptable considering my English was superior to his.
I am not proud of that but my point is that I am describing what it was like one of the best public schools in Sweden where 1st and 2nd generation immigrants were in a minority. Imagine what it’s like in a school of 800 students where only 2 are Swedish natives which brings me to the following video:
I don’t know the background but from what I can ascertain the teacher is yelling because one of his students is being disruptive. The teacher goes on to say he has actively chosen to help immigrants such as the colored kid:
“Don’t call me an immigrant!” – the student yells in broken Swedish
Here is my take; the child has been born and raised in Sweden, he knows no other country but he is treated as an immigrant because he doesn’t look ethnically Swedish and doesn’t speak fluent unbroken Swedish.
When I worked as a door to door salesman I often encountered people who had lived in minority-Swedish areas for decades and were not able to speak the language properly and occasionally I even met native Swedes who spoke broken Swedish.
87% of the population has voted for political parties that stand for uninhibited mass immigration from the Middle East and North Africa which leads me to some questions I hope they can answer:
- Do they live in the same areas as immigrants?
- Do they place there children in the same schools as immigrants?
- Do they accept 2nd generation immigrants who behave differently, have a different culture, speak broken Swedish and don’t look like your average-Swede as… Swedish?
Due to the segregation which the immigration policies inadvertently lead to (threshold for white flight is 3% non-Europeans in a Swedish neighborhood) many immigrants and their offspring do not feel accepted by Swedish society which I believe is one of the reasons why the radical Islamists and criminals gangs are so successful at recruiting. They offer that which Sweden does not; an identity and a sense of belonging.
One unfortunate (or fortunate depending on how you look at it) side-effect of the charter schools is not only the “white flight” but also that certain Islamic groups are forming their own schools at the taxpayers expense. The Al-Azhar school in Stockholm is an example of this. The school only serves halal, extra time is spent learning Arabic and qu’ran, not to mention the fact that boys and girls are segregated during prayers (5 times a day) and PE lessons.
At 18:14 you can see the children at prayers and the Swedish (?) convert + teacher lecturing them on Islam