About fifteen years ago, Sweden decentralized control over its school system to allow both local municipalities and the central government to make decisions how children should learn. There are now cries to renationalize by the National Agency for Education on grounds test scores are lower. It reports responsibility for school results is “muddled” because no one has complete control. It also argues all Swedish children have a right to the same level of education. The assumption of these charges is central control leads to “similar results” for all children. This assumption is so incorrect that it is difficult finding words to refute the claim. No education system in the world ensures “similar results” for children because children are different and no two teachers teach exactly the same way.
There is need in the modern world for experimentation regarding education. We need to explore multiple roads in order to discover which lead to quality education for 21st century life. A central control leads to teachers teaching for the test, it leads to test scores being synonymous with evidence of “good education” and it dumbs down the quality of education. Ask teachers in America who devote extraordinary amount of time preparing children to “pass the test.” One result is less time for literature, less time for history, less time for science, less time for art, music and other experiences which should constitute the education of a child.