Half of principals back re-nationalizing schools

Nearly half of principals in Sweden want to see control of schools taken away from intrusive local government officials and put back in the hands of the state, a new survey has shown.

Half of principals back re-nationalizing schools

Roughly one in two, 48.3 percent, of Swedish school principals support having school’s renationalized, according to a survey carried out by broadcaster Utbildningsradion (UR).

Just over 22 percent of the 980 principals interviewed in the survey rejected the idea of having the state reclaim control over schools, with the remaining respondents saying they weren’t sure.

The survey also found that 51 percent of principals felt steamrolled by local government officials, and 48 percent said they would prefer to be employees of the state, rather than of their local municipalities.

Sweden’s Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), the party of current Education Minister Jan Björklund, has long pushed for Sweden’s schools to be re-nationalized, but has failed to gain any traction on the issue.

The “dual leadership” of having municipalities and the state share responsibility for schools results in a “muddled system of control”, Liberal Party argued in a 2009 report.

A 2011 opinion poll found that a majority, 56 percent of Swedes, were also in favour of renationalizing Swedish schools, something the head of the National Teachers’ Association (Lärarnas Riksförbund) said at the time was a sign of “deep discontent” with Swedish schools.

TT/The Local/dl

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Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime