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Private schools

Topic: Society
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Special Work topic and purpose

The basic idea of ​​this report is to find out, first, why private schools (private schools) by many is preferred before the public schools and, second, whether private schools are a threat to the public schools. The design of the study is to present the current state of independent schools in Sweden and to show different views and arguments in the debate about private schools. To do this analysis, concrete and manageable, I have chosen to use the example of the French School. My question is therefore: Are private schools? A case study of the French School.

As a student in the French school, I got in the fall semester 1996 much information about the education minister Ylva Johansson's reform proposals concerning the so-called "school money" and private schools, ie the ability of a student to freely choose schools with school fees from the municipality that comes regardless of the school's principal. French School Principal, Mrs Lönnerblad, was one of the most significant representatives of the public opinion, which held that the school money was necessary, primarily to ensure the survival of independent schools. I will discuss this further in the presentation of the debate on free schools, as this has progressed during the last year.

All this discussing back and forth got me interested and engaged in the debate. So when I was faced with the challenging task to decide on a topic for my specialized work, I remembered suddenly my thought from last fall to do a survey of all thinking on the topic "Private schools". Among other things, to investigate whether schools really are a threat to the municipal school existence.

Methodology and approach

This special work I have largely based on two surveys, which I personally designed, an interview with the Principal Mrs Lönnerblad and a number of reports from the National Agency and the Ministry of Education on the proposal / decision to remove the school money and how this could potentially affect private schools. The purpose of the two surveys was to investigate whether French school - as an example of an independent school - lives up to its reputation and its specific objective: to pursue a more people-centered teaching, which should give a good knowledge of French language and France as one of Europe's most significant cultural countries.
A questionnaire addressed to a sample of parents with children in French school while survey B addressed to a sample of students at the school (see Appendix 1).

As stated, I have assumed the French role of the school as a private school; mainly because I myself go there but also to the school principal has been considerable debate about private schools. However, I believe that the conclusions that can be drawn from the example French school also applies to other private schools.

However, one can see a certain bias in my selection of material. Partly because of that I have not managed to get any information I intended to use my (see below). Partly because I have chosen to do this subjectivity to a part of my thinking to the point of my work was not only to produce the problem, but to also do this from a friskoleelevs viewpoint. This position is most noticeable in my inference where I talk almost solely based on my own experiences and opinions.

I mentioned earlier that I do not always come up with the information I intended to use me in my work; example of this is the National Agency unable (velat-?) set up with a suitable person to interview. Furthermore, my after increases of Independent Schools National Association address and phone number has not been very successful; even with Telia's inquiry lacked information about the union. This is somewhat strange given that it is a "known" and well-established organization.

A short history of private schools

There have been schools in Sweden as long as there have been schools. During the 1800s and early 1900s, these alternatives to the government, today local government, schools very many (in percentage more than today). Most of them were girls' schools.
In the postwar period was built the Swedish school system out and it no longer had as much need of private schools as before. But it was still sympathetic to schools such as developed a linguistic, cultural or religious character. In fact, it was precisely this individuality that deviated from the public school a condition to be met for the school would be eligible for grants from the state. Today, these conditions are removed.
Some dates, showing how the school system developed in Sweden:

1842 introduced compulsory schooling and an elementary school charter which means that in every municipality must be a school with at least one certified teacher.

1858 determined that the elementary school will be divided into parts, primary school and the actual elementary school.

1878 establishes a standard curriculum for elementary schools.

1914 establishment of the People's National Board of Education as

1920 merged with the Grammar School of Administration and forms Skolöverstyrelsen.

1950 decided it in the Parliament on the introduction of nine-year compulsory education - a change from the past 7 years. Curriculum is being drawn up.

1991 increases the responsibility of the community for the school. National Board of Education and the County Board of Education replaced by the National Agency.

1992 introduces a new friskolereform (the choice reform)

1996 Parliament decides to remove the school money.

Some general data on private schools

With independent school we mean in general a school that is not municipally driven and thus has a different principal, such as a foundation, association or cooperative. But otherwise, there are many variations among independent schools.
One can, for example divide independent schools after their goal and "specialties":
¤ schools with special education (eg. The Waldorf and Montessori)
¤ schools with a religious character
¤ schools with linguistic specialization (eg. The French School)
¤ schools with national and / or cultural focus
¤ international schools
¤ other, public schools.

One can further distinguish between schools with traditional school leadership, according to the municipal school template, the "principal, vice principal, administration, and teachers' and non-traditional leadership such as in parent cooperative.
The size of private schools varies greatly, from very small schools with only a dozen students, all stages included, to larger schools with over 500 pupils, including the French School.

But above all, one can divide the private schools as to whether they fully or partially funded by public contributions, that is if they charge fees in schools. Fee The question is of central importance for many private schools. In elementary school, fees vary between 3000 and 5000 per academic year. In most schools, however, the charge of between 4 000 and 5 000. In high school, the typical fee is slightly less than 7000 SEK. The average fee for all schools was 1995 2 200 per pupil. In these calculations, one has in terms of schools that do not charge any fees. The actual figure is thus higher than the actual average. In addition, the figure increased slightly to also counted on the schools that are not entitled to municipal grants (international as well as a few other exceptional cases) and as a result of this charge an unusually high fee. Counting thus remove the schools that are not entitled to contribution, and that does not charge a student fee that will cut the fee SEK 5 000 per pupil per year.

Of the 206 private schools that are available in the country will take 144 no fee, that there are only 62 that do. In Sweden, there are more free schools than there are free schools. In comparison with the rest of Europe, this is unusual. In England, for example, or the United States, the number of high schools more alternative equals the number of primary schools. In 20 of the 35 toll secondary schools meant the fee to pay for school meals. Ten others took fees intended to pay textbooks, teaching materials and possible field trips. International schools do not have the opportunity for municipal grants, because they have the highest fees.

Unlike public schools, private schools must pay sales tax on their purchases. Generally, private schools lower costs for tuition and premises but higher staffing ratio, with lower wages and more work, better student care, meals, textbooks and school management. Why the rent is lower (in general; in reality it varies greatly in different parts of the country) is to free schools deliberately trying to keep these costs down by reducing the floor space per pupil from the usual 15 square meters at a public school, to an average of 11 square meters.
The voluntary work, for example in connection with hemspråks- and support teaching, administrative work and meetings with parents, is considered to be about 40% more common in private schools than in public schools. Incidentally, volunteering more common in small schools than in large.

In addition to the above mentioned points, I want to point out some other differences in the operation of public schools and private schools, and how this affects both students, teachers as President. In my interview with French headmaster I asked the question if she possibly know others principals at other schools. "Yes, I do," she replied, "both principals from schools and from the public schools, and I see a marked difference between the work I perform and other municipal school principals. Mainly when it comes to the nonprofit, which for me usually involves temporary position as a French teacher, administrator, and beyond that a variety of continuing education courses outside my second job. Now, in recent times there has also been a lot of interviews for both TV and newspapers, but this job takes me more than happy for me. "

A presentation of the French school today

French School is a private school with French Svenk profile. In practical terms this means that a student has 5-7 hours 40 minutes French per week from the first class. In addition, the school's French teacher more knowledgeable on this subject than the teacher of the subject at other schools. Therefore we need more teachers, but also by students. French school has many excellent French teacher. This means (hopefully) that the French school may have a higher standard of their education compared to other schools.

This applies mainly to the high school where there are a total of ca. 200 pupils. Compared to any of the local "big high schools" with 1500 students are French school much more personal and individual in the sense that each one is an individual and not just part of the mass. "You get much more of their own identity and become not only a test result on a piece of paper," as one student answered the questionnaire B to question 7. The teachers get to know the students, to some extent, they greet each other in the corridor clean, and does not shy away to turn to a teacher or even the headmaster for any help with problems or anything else related to the school. Sometimes I sit at the same table in the dining room and eat.

This means that while you feel more respect for the teachers and that they feel more pressured to perform a better job not only for its own sake but also to prove to his teacher that his / her teaching is good. You do not want to disappoint the teacher. This may seem strange but the teachers always have a certain expectation that students will succeed. This is what behaviorists, notably Skinner termed as "positive reinforcement." That means in the psychological model that a parent praises and rewards, or criticize and punish their children to influence the child and give it a real moral perception. I would not say that the parent's role is replaced by the teacher, absolutely not, but he / she will be a significant educational authority in the child / adolescent's life.

Provided that this is done correctly, then a teacher at a private school such as French school probably more respectful with it than a "regular" municipal school teachers. Note that this is only an assumption. But much to suggest that the relationship between teacher and student is different between the French school and a public school. This is partly due to the student at the French school has the same teacher for a long period - sometimes up to six years - because. that the school includes all stages (low, medium and high) and even high school.

Many say that this track as a teacher has on a student should not be needed were in high school; to actually be able to take responsibility. Obviously this riveting true, but in the end all know that there is always need for both a "carrot" and "stick" to justify producing the books. The fact that the smaller number of students leads to the teachers have more time to each one's another positive aspect. More and better tutorial gives better results. The work will be done more carefully, from both parties.

Often people ask how it is in a 'SAN' school. They want to know why they have chosen a private school that is also with a French emphasis. They wonder if you made the choice because of the motivation for a better education, or because they want to hang out with "nice people". And how to answer such a kernel issue? Good, bad, funny, sad ...? I do not think the fact that the French School is an independent school affect either the students or their school work. Students at the French School is preis like any other kids, in all other schools.

Many think that the word "private school / private school" has a hint of snobbighet and is an attempt to seem finer and better than other "regular" schools. Why the French school has this myth about him is probably mainly because the former mostly consisted of "fine people", at least the bottom one period of the 50s and 60s, and it was then that the French school became "known" - because of the press coverage of including princesses Bernadottes schooling. When was the picture that there were people who could afford to put their children there.

But of course this was also a reflection of the attitude you then had to education. At the time, did not take any student (matriculation) today. Not even all the end of compulsory schooling despite compulsory schooling. Instead, they often began working at the factories already at age 15 and was then therefore have sufficient training and maturity to work. If you wanted a secure future for their children, with a good professional (not a factory) put them in a private school. And not everyone had the economic opportunities which then needed to do this. It was easier and cheaper to let your children gain experience through job. In this way, each student admission not of the same character as today.

Today is the most important thing that determines whether you are accepted if you live near or in the same parish as the independent school, that is the same principle that applies to the municipal schools (surveys show that 95% of primary school pupils attend the nearest school, regardless of its principal ). Additionally determine what place you get the admission queue, as well as grades. And yes, competition is fierce for admission. The primary school will be admitted through a sample, and admissions to the school is via final grades from the spring semester of ninth grade. To get into the nature of the class, you must have more than 4.5 on average, for social science program applies ca. 3.9. This varies from year to year. Now comes the addition of a new rating system. (Admissions to high school is not on the same scale as the primary school or high school, mainly because these klassser are mostly overcrowded.)

French school has therefore a very good standard of their education and they care about the students spend much of their time at school, but this says nothing obvious about the status of whether teachers, students or parents. At this point, the French School probably one of the most "mixed" schools in Sweden. The myth that it is only "legal and diplomatic children, grew up in the finer parts of Stockholm, whose parents do not want their breasts to be" rub elbows "with simple people, all this is incorrect. Families from 31 different municipalities around the country may not all be "snobs"!

But there are other myths about French school. Others consider that they know that the school consists entirely of immigrant children whose parents gathered their pennies to put the kids in a private school. This is to try to appear as something they are not. I have first before I comment this myth, pointing out that it's a little strange that a school can have as paradoxical opinions about themselves ...!

Back to immigrant families. Sure there are the French school a lot of kids who come from immigrant families, but these are neither particularly rich nor poor, but what immigration policy calls for väleteblerade, well-adjusted, normal integrated families, who do not depend on social or otherwise, is a "debilitating burden to society." And regardless of the different students' social position, so they all have an interconnecting basic unites them and gives them a sense of common målsträvan. This "link" missing students in the public school in my experience. I'm not trying with the above, say French School does not have a single student with a more than secure future financially. Many are obvious, but what I mean is that they generally do not go there because they are attracted by the "fine" stamp French school has, but because of their attitude towards knowledge / studying and their motivation to succeed in their future profession. At least it is this which, in my survey, the fundamental reason for those who came to the French upper secondary school or high school. I would not say that parents of children in public schools would necessarily lack this motivation, but want to emphasize what a high percentage figure study motivation may reasonably sure that children are put in the French school.

Opinions about French School

To get closer to find out the perception of the school, from the inside, I made two surveys. For a description of the organization of the survey, see Appendix 1.

The survey was directed at parents (questionnaire A) I got the following: To medeltypföräldrarna French school has both his children in French school since one alternative preschool; that they have entered their children as soon as the opportunity was given, ie, when the child was four years old; that they have chosen French school on the recommendation of an acquaintance / relative, that one of the parents or other relatives are French-speaking, and that the family previously had a longer stay in the French-speaking country. In a good many of these cases the mother had previously been a student of the French School.

The survey also showed that most parents knew a lot about the French school before their children started there. Examples of things you knew were: the school's history and background, its serious focus on language and its importance for the future in an integrated Europe, the discipline and the emphasis on moral and ethical standards throughout school, the school's stamp "finer" than others.

A questionnaire survey also shows a certain dissatisfaction with faculty, facilities and the like, but not nearly to the degree that it gave a largely negative image. Many parents also answered the opposite, that since their children went to school recently discovered even more positive things with it. Among other things, the incredible commitment of teachers and students both in terms of their children's education but also in the school activities. All in all, the parents were happy with their choice of school for their children. They gave 8.5 average rating out of 10, with 8 as the typical value. Not a single parent were predominantly dissatisfied, that gave a rating of 5 or less.

The survey shows that the parents did not consider the French School is a "fancy" school, in the sense of "only children from better families go there." But they are aware that many in the community believe that. Themselves, they find this stamp are fading out and disappearing. Comparisons were made with the individual school, Sigtuna and Lundsberg in the sense of demonstrating that there are many more who consider their school as "fancy" as defined above than the French School. The only thing, as a parent, can be interpreted by the outside world as something that makes the French School to something finer is that it has the privilege of being sponsored by the Wallenberg Foundation, which is very interested in further development of the education. It is largely thanks to the donations that the school managed to make the lift that took place in the early 90s.

One parent stressed that the demands on learning and the high admission criteria affect the composition of students in classes, which I have discussed earlier. Since grades will determine the students from different social backgrounds. Many parents spoke of the great parent involvement and the many traditions of French school has, something that raises the quality of the school and make it finer if not so better. One parent wrote: "The parents of the French School are treated with more respect by both the teachers and the principal (typical French politeness) than in public schools. This also gives the kids a stimulus that I have not experienced anywhere else. "

To fully assure me that the parents' positive perception of the French school could be argued, I also made a survey B was directed at students. The aim was to compare the parents' answers and see how much they were consistent. Mostly matched elverna answers but did not give the school as a whole the same high ratings as parents. However, this may be due to the students' school burnout, which of course gives some wrong attitude to school. Of the 35 students responded to 22 said they were satisfied with their choice of school. Of these, 75% had this choice made by their parents when they were little. Consequently, between one quarter and one third went to school then one, and this has not given them an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction with the school (more than the general school fatigue).

As for plugging the pace, as he is one of the French school's main character trait, so consider the students in Year 9 in part is hard to keep up, but that this does not involve any major complications. Some of the students (probably about the same) also responded that they did not always understand what the teacher is trying to teach, but this has thus said that did not affect their school work to the point that it must be seen as a problem. While the questions 3c and 6b (see questionnaire in Appendix 1) highlights the problem of the hard pace school. For these were average grade 5.2 or 4.7 out of 10 which of course is just around the mean of the scale, that is no more than "okay".

One can imagine that the hard plug rate would lead to a deterioration of group feeling and klassammnhållning compared with classes in other schools. But ask 6d got the full 7.0 in average grade (much better than the other items.). Thus, we can conclude that this is not the case; plug the pace splits are not classes. Dare I even say, as a student at the school, to the fierce pace rather a connecting link; that those who are little worse and those who have it a little easier for themselves in the school feel an affinity after all, as a result of this. "It carries the same yoke," as a former pupil of the French school told me.

Questions 4 and 6, I have compiled so that they provide a common picture of whether the student feels he / she has the "power" to influence their situation, that is, the ability to communicate with teachers. The average grade in question 6a was 5.4 and the mode was on 5 and 7. This proves therefore one of the fundamental quality issues, about the school's "everyone-knows-everyone syndrome," which is said to arise in that one has a small number of students in the school, leading to closer contact between students and teachers. Despite this, felt 24 students out of 35 respondents to the contact between the student and the teacher was not sufficient and hence should be improved and lead to greater opportunity to influence the school's structure of work etc.

As a whole, the school received from 5 to 8 in the ratings with an average rating of 6.9 and the mode 8 (see Figure X). The average student is thus satisfied with the school and their achievement. He / she thinks he / she has been lucky to get to go to one of the more calm and disciplined schools in Stockholm, which emphasizes and understands the importance of a quality education.

In question 7 of the questionnaire B (students) responded that they saw four French school as a "fancy" school because of the students who go there. Of their other responses to judge, I can interpret the definition of "fine" here is snobbigare and younger primary school students. The five others who answered "yes" to question 7 emphasized that this meant a better education and more.

Incidentally seen French school generally as a school with a good work rate, much more samples than other schools, calmer and more disciplined learners, better food and nicer facilities. But the comments varied greatly between individuals. Rector Véronique Lönnerblad considered eg "The school is not 'fine', but it is better and has a good reputation. Unfortunately, the French School an old stamp on how to be a snob school and this stamp is hard to remove. But it has never really been rättigad. Above all, today it is much more widespread in distribution between social groups, even more than in the public schools. "Another comment was:" Have you been here since one can see that this is just a myth and a facade, like school trying to keep outwardly, but in fact it is just like in any other school at any time with the same types of problems: theft, okamratskap and concentration difficulties. On both sides of the debate are people who have not realized this. "

But there were also some who said that the French School tranquil environment was a danger that it represents a closed and protected world, that these students do not know what reality is, by bullying, theft and vandalism.
The debate on free schools
The 1992 reform
Under the so-called "freedom of choice reform 'introduced as a result of the Government Bill 1991/92: 95 were all approved free schools grants the right of the students home communities - in the form of a" school vouchers "per pupil. The size of these contributions will be based on the municipality's calculations of how much one spends on average per student in the own municipal schools. Each municipality may make a deduction of up to 15% of "municipal school pupil" costs. This is because the man is said to have figured out that private schools do not have equal costs the public schools in that they must offer their students the same great range of school transport, special interest classes, home language, remedial education and health care as the public schools. In addition, as I already mentioned earlier, pays schools a lower rent for premises in that their surface area per student is less than in public schools (on average). The free schools need not therefore be the same size of contribution per pupil as the municipal.

Choice reform was intended to allow both elections in the school system and creating more options, as it is in itself desirable in a modern, pluralistic society, and to improve the quality of education and better cost efficiencies. The consequence was, too, as is known, the number of private schools in just a few years doubled.

The reform in 1996

In 1995, the government came to start questioning school vouchers system, mainly due to the fact that many municipalities felt that the new funding rules increase the cost of their education system as a whole by the emergence of a certain "excess capacity" in the school system with more schools, at least in the short term. There was added a friskolekommitté that would examine how school money affected independent schools, their expenses and student fees. In its report, the Committee proposed the abolition of school money and would instead adopt a system of grants each school had to negotiate with the affected municipality engines. The proposal was met clearly negative of private schools around the country. After consultation with the National Agency, FCA, Independent Schools Association and a number of other agencies and institutions, certain amendments were made, but by and large came the proposal to become the government's bill adopted by parliament in December 1996.
This means that the school money disappears from 1 July 1997 and to rule that the home municipality's contributions to independent schools should be a certain percentage of the municipality's average cost is removed. The decision also includes the schools should be open to all and that therefore education schools do not charge tuition fees.

The demonstration

On August 28, 1996, people gathered from a variety of schools and from many different parts of the country on Sergelstorg which would show their unanimous miss enjoying the reform of skolpengens removal. Apologia for school money and other manifestations made themselves heard. This was a demonstration for the preservation of free schools. Students who would be involved had some time before received good information about what was going on in the parliament and how possibly the school as a unit but also the students themselves as individuals could influence. Many wished that this demonstration would have significance for the debate, it would not only be as a presentation of a unified position / opinion, but also cause rash. The demonstration was - who apparently planned - the quieter type, without any shouts or songs or anything that you as a student passed and hoped for. It was more like a collective walk on part in the warm summer sun. We from the French School had some banners reading Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité - a witty choice that also showed what school we represent, but otherwise no placards or anything that showed our strong desire to rescue private schools (except the hats and brooches sold with text "saving private schools"). When I Rector Véronique Lönnerblad asked if this was planned, the answer was "yes"; att man i skolledningen ansett att plakat, sånger och rop hör 1 maj till och inte är av nöden för att föra fram sina åsikter.

Tyvärr fick demonstrationen inte den uppmärksamhet av medierna som man önskat. Endast en av morgontidningarna hade med en notis, medan man i TV visade ett litet inslag på ABC. Rektor Véronique Lönnerblad säger dock att hon trots allt inte ångrade att denna demonstration genomfördes.


Vad som dock orsakade ett uppsving för opinionssidan (friskolornas) var det inslag i “Kvällsöppet” på TV2 där bland annat Franska Skolans rektor Véronique Lönnerblad blivit ombedd att ställa upp. Hon hade nämligen figurerat en hel del i tidningarna under en tid i samband med friskoledebatten, med artiklar både av henne själv och om hennes kamp för sin skolas överlevnad.
Man diskuterade om hur bidragen i framtiden ska sökas i konkurrens med de kommunala skolorna och hur detta kommer att leda till beroende av de kommunala politikernas personliga och politiska åsikter. Ett socialdemokratiskt kommunalråd menade naturligtvis att det nya systemet var bra för att främja en likvärdig utbildning i hela landet och motverka segregerande skolor. Och en riksdagsledamot från regeringspartiet menade att friskolorna nu hade fått vad de alltid velat, lika behandling med de kommunala skolorna, och att de i praktiken kunde räkna med samma täckning (minst 75%) för sina utgifter. Att en skola som Franska Skolan skulle få en orimlig situation med förhandlingar med ett 30-tal olika kommuner som alla kunde göra olika bedömningar och förfärligt mycket pappersarbete insåg riksdagsledamoten men tyckte inte det var något regeringen kunde ta hänsyn till.

En företrädare för Stockholms Universitets Studentkår påpekade att tom Skolverket hade ansett att man med det nya systemet “utelämnar friskolorna åt kommunernas godtycke” och att det är mycket egendomligt att en kommun både ska vara huvudman åt de egna kommunala skolorna och samtidigt avgöra existensen för konkurrerande skolor. Han menade också att man i framtiden behöver fler skolformer, inte färre, och att om man tar bort de alternativ som redan finns kommer man att “eliminera det mångkulturella Sverige”.

Om avgifterna

Enligt det nya riksdagsbeslutet får inga elevavgifter tas ut i grundskaolan. Vad gäller gymnasiet så ska storleken på elevavgift bestämmas av Skolverket och skolans rektor tillsammans. Argumentet mot elevavgifter är naturligtvis att det skulle skapa en segregation mellan socialgrupperna genom att endast barn till föräldrar som hade råd att betala avgifter skulle gå i friskolor. I andra länder är variationen lika bred som i Sverige (hittills) gällande både avgifters förekomst och storleken på de avgifter som tas ut. I England, där mängden friskolor är procentuellt större än i Sverige (40% av alla skolbarn går i friskola), är avgifterna relativt höga på grund av att staten vägrat friskolorna bidrag. Även i Danmark finns många friskolor och även här är socialgrupp 1 och 2 överrepresenterade, vilket man dock försökt motverka genom att staten bestämt att gå in och sponsra en del sk friplatser så att ett antal elever ska kunna gå i skolan tack vare en form av stipendium.
I boken “Avgiftsbelagd utbildning i privat regi” påstås att elevavgifter befrämjar föräldraengemang: att föräldrar engagerar sig mer i skolans verksamhet eftersom de vill ha valuta för pengarna de lagt ut. Även elevernas motivation till studierna skulle med detta resonemang öka, eftersom de är måna om att få ut maximalt av de pengar som deras föräldrar har satsat. Man tror att borttagandet av denna avgift skulle leda till minskat engagemang.

Om bidragen

Slopandet av skolpeng, dvs en bestämd ersättning till friskolorna, som träder i kraft i och med den kommande höstterminen, och som innebär att det blir upp till varje kommun att själv avgöra hur mycket bidrag man vill ge de godkända friskolorna, riskerar att betyda hårda tider för friskolorna i Sverige, och därmed för Franska Skolan.

175 av Sveriges alla 188 kommuner betalar idag ut bidrag till olika friskolor. 31 av dessa kommuner är gällande för fallet Franska Skolan. Detta kanske inte låter mycket men om man betänker att den vanliga procentandelen elever från annan kommun är ca. 20% så får dessa siffror en mening. För att vara en skola med lite över 750 elever så blir det en hel del. Främst visar sig detta när förhandlingar om bidragen måste genomföras. Först och främst ska man med varja kommun göra fyra olika förhandlingar, beroende på vilket stadium de olika eleverna går på. Därefter ska dessa fyra olika förhandlingar genomföras så smärtfritt som möjligt med 31 olika kommuner runt om i landet. Resultatet blir heller inte alltid positivt. Mycket tid och arbete går åt till detta. Självfallet kan en skola som Franska Skolan inte klara detta på lång sikt, vilket alltså kan få till följd att skolan blir tvungen att segregera: dvs att välja ut de elever som kommer från en lämplig kommun för att slippa alla dessa förhandlingar.

För de kommunala skolorna har elevkostnaden höjts den senaste tiden. Men det rör sig om en höjd totalkostnad på grund av att antalet elever har ökat, vilket innebär att kostnaden per elev är i stort sett oförändrad. Detta förhållande “drabbar” indirekt de fria skolornas bidrag, genom att det blir avgörande för storleken på elevavgifterna. I genomsnitt av de kommunala kostnaderna för grundskolorna går 1.6% till friskolor. I kommunala skolor var (1995) den högsta kostnaden per elev och år 81 700 och den lägsta 37 900 kr beroende på kommun. I friskolorna var den genomsnittliga elevkostnaden 47 300 kr per år.

Rätten till kommunalt bidrag kan tas bort om 1) skolan vägrar ställa upp på de inspektioner och årsredovisningar som Skolverket kräver, 2) utbildningen skulle kuna innebära påtagliga negativa effekter för andra skolor i samma region, 3) skolan tar ut oskäligt höga avgifter enligt Skolverket.
Friskolorna är skyldiga att göra en inrapporterig varje termin (en på hösten med elev- och personaluppgifter och nionas slutbetyg från föregående vårtermin, och en på våren med intäkter samt föregående läsårs kostnader) och dessutom vara beredda på en inspektion av Skolverket .

Om konkurrensen mellan friskolor och kommunala skolor
En del av den starka kritik som riktats mot reformen 1992, som ju införde en sorts likabehandling av friskolor och kommunala skolor, kom från lärarkåren på många skolor på många håll i landet. Dessa lärare har en kritisk syn på vad de anser vara skolans utveckling till en marknadsvara. De menar att skolan ska stå för sammanhållning och integration på lika villkor, vilket inte stämmer överens med den ökande konkurrensen och “survival-of-the-fittest”-principen som kommit att råda inte bara allmänt i arbetslivet utan nu också inom skolvärlden.

Många kommuner menar också att konkurrensen medfört problem för de “egna” skolorna när nya friskolor etablerats tack vare de kommunala bidragen och lockat till sig många elever. En del studier har också bekräftat att det i några enstaka fall har hänt att en kommunal skola har varit tvungen att läggas ner på grund av att alltför många elever beslutat att byta skola. Vad dessa studier dock inte kunnat påvisa är om eleverna valt att gå över till en friskola för att denna skulle ha en bättre kvalitet på undervisningen eller av något annat skäl, som t ex att en rad familjer blivit tvungna att flytta på grund av arbetsmarknadsskäl.

En rapport från Skolverket gör gällande att det finns vissa exempel på att reformen “drabbat” ett samhälle. Ett exempel är kommunen G som är en storstad med många likheter till Stockholm, där friskolorna trots sin hotade situation stadigt ökar i antal och många elever gått över till de nystartade skolorna. Det råder alltså en stor konkurrens om elever och lokaler, och de kritiserande menar att risken finns att friskolorna skulle få fler förmåner och mer bidrag än de egna skolorna. I exemplet om kommun B, en mindre norrländsk kustkommun, med långa avstånd, dyra transporter, lägre lokalhyror och minskande antal elever, kan man påvisa att det skett en kostnadsökning på utgifterna för friskolorna med 2,2 miljoner kr.
Ett stort problem, framför allt i glesbygder, är att det i dessa områden handlar om att hålla skolan/skolorna vid liv i stället för att inleda konkurrens mellan dem. Jag tycker dock inte att dessa kommuner ser helheten. För anledningen till skolornas tveksamma existens idag är just att de har så få elever och f ö är så små att det är mycket kostsamt att driva dem. Om man lät konkurrens uppstå skulle visserligen några skolor påverkas negativt och behöva stängas, men de som var av god kvalitet skulle dra till sig dessa – och andra – elever och på detta sätt bilda en större enhet än tidigare, och då skulle deras existensfråga vara löst.

Slutsatser och egna tankar

En slutsats som man kan dra av såväl föräldraenkäten som elevenkäten är att Franska Skolan fyller ett behov som alternativ i valet mellan skolor. Föräldrar och elever anser att de får ut extra värden jämfört med om de valt en kommunal skola, och att dessa värden motiverar terminsavgiften. Även det faktum att antalet friskolor i hela landet har ökat de senaste åren, framför allt tack vare skolpengen som givit skolorna en garanterad grundtrygghet och möjligheten att komplettera fiansieringen med elevavgifter, visar att det finns en efterfråga på andra sorters skolor än de vanliga kommunala.

Rimliga avgifter är tydligen ingenting som på ett negativt sätt påverkar föräldrar att välja en passande skola för sina barn, för att få sina önskemål tillfredsställda, även om man kan tänka sig att en sådan initiativförmåga kanske mestadels finns hos högre utbildade och välbärgade föräldrar. Ett större problem för valmöjligheten är snarare tillgången till information.

Att Sverige nu, som Riksdagen beslutat, inför ett förbud för friskolor (på grundskolenivå) som får kommunala bidrag att ta ut avgifter, anser jag verkar vara inte bara onödigt utan även ett tecken på oförstånd och naivitet. För samtidigt vill man ju ändra bidraget från att vara en fastställd, garanterad skolpeng (på 85 % eller 75 % som hittills) till att bli en summa som varje kommun själv får bestämma, och som alltså kan komma att ändras år från år.

För att slippa bli beroende av kommunernas godtycklighet och känna en ständig oro för skolans ekonomiska situation och framtid, kommer troligtvis många friskolor att försöka klara sig utan de bidrag de idag erhåller från elevernas hemkommuner och i stället finansiera verksamheten helt med elevavgifter. Detta kommer alltså i själva verket att leda just till den sociala/ekonomiska segregation som regeringen vill försöka undvika genom att förbjuda skolorna att ta ut avgifter!

I stället hade det varit bättre att inte införa något förbud mot elevavgifter utan istället ett ökat bidrag från hemkommunerna för att möjliggöra för alla som vill att sätta sina barn i en friskola. Man har gjort beräkningar på att om detta skulle göras så skulle ca 90 % av de elevavgifter som idag tas ut att försvinna helt.

En viktig konsekvens av att tillåta friskolor på liknande ekonomiska villkor som vanliga skolor är att det uppstår konkurrens. I och med att skolorna kommer att bli beroende av att var “attraktiva” för att familjer ska välja att sätta sina barn där, så kommer pressen att öka på både friskolor och kommunala skolor att höja sin standard och att ha en bättre kvalitet på sin undervisning. Enligt min mening skulle ett friare skolval automatiskt leda till en effektivisering och utveckling av skolväsendet. Dessutom hoppas jag att den tillsyn som Skolverket har och de inrapporteringar som friskolorna måste lämna in för granskning varje termin, kommer att leda till en ökad förståelse och insikt om behovet av kvalitet i utbildningen.

Ett friare skolval betyder dock inte bara högre kvalitet utan också större mångfald. Jag läser i ett pressmeddelande från Utbildningsdepartementet från den 13 november med rubriken “Krock eller möte” där man bl a skriver om hur lärare arbetar i skolor där många kulturer blandas. Ett betänkande om detta tema skall lämnas i slutet av september i år. Mitt förslag till utredarna är att de vänder sig till Franska Skolan för närmare upplysningar och insikter. “Franska” är en oas för familjer med utländskt påbrå och även för andra som är positivt inställda till mångfald och traditioner av olika slag.

Ett problem med hela debatten om friskolorna är att den tagit form av ett “krig” mellan två politiska block. Moderaterna, Kristdemokraterna, Folkpartiet och Centern ser bara positiva saker i ett främjande av friskolorna, framför allt en allmän höjning av skolans standard och undervisning. Socialdemokraterna, Vänsterpartiet och Miljöpartiet vill ha “rättvisa” och lika behandling för alla och därmed ett förbud mot alla former av elevavgifter. För att kunna påverka situationen för friskolorna i en positiv riktning måste man alltså tänka sig för i kommande kommunalval: där en borgerlig majoritet styr månar man mer om friskolor än i de kommuner där man har en socialistisk majoritet.

Jag skulle vilja avsluta mitt arbete med att citera en amerikansk skribent vid namn FC Fowler:

“The private school aid controversy raises the problem of autonomy and control, posing basic questions about the proper relationships between the state, the church and the family. It also reveals the inherent tensions among democratic values of freedom, equality and solidarity. Moreover, it touches upon such sensitive subjects as children, religion, ideology, race, social classes and cultural identity. In short, it touches things that are central to what it means to be human.”

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Nedanstående är skolarbeten som handlar om Friskolor eller som på något sätt är relaterade med Friskolor .

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