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Because Sweden has instituted a statewide system of school choice between state-run and private schools, much of the world, particularly the United States, is keeping close tabs on the Swedish educational system to learn from its successes and failures. High taxes led to a shift in the 1990s from a strictly socialistic government that had existed more than 50 years to one that is highly conservative.

As a result, Sweden's relatively small number of private schools and universities may expand in number in the future. State-run schools very well may slash budgets as the push to lower national taxes continues. Swedish education officials now have put responsibility for upholding standards into the hands of local municipalities. Whether this will result in uneven levels of educational quality from municipality to municipality or even higher accomplishments from all students is a matter of debate. Nonetheless, Swedish officials have been most concerned because the academic test scores of primary and secondary students have slipped when compared to the scores of youth in other developed nations.


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—Hank Nuwer

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