Ten years after Chile reformed its education system, Sweden followed suit, and so Sweden is Andrew Coulson’s first stop in episode three of School, Inc. All private schools in Sweden are now fully tax supported, and parents can choose between these so-called “free” schools and the local public schools.
The global journey continues, visiting highly successful private schools in Sweden, London and India, where the resistance to education as a business has lessened. Coulson is joined by the administrators of these schools to examine the secrets of their success, learning that some of India’s highly successful private schools serve eager poor students and parents at little more than a dollar a week. School, Inc. comes full circle to conclude in the English countryside where the Industrial Revolution began. Then as now, Coulson suggests, education was perhaps the only field in which successful entrepreneurship was not celebrated. He concludes “What if we allowed all education entrepreneurs to put their own money on the line in an effort to better serve us, gaining or losing just as entrepreneurs do in other fields? And what if we made sure that everyone had access to that wide-open marketplace? Would we then see excellence scale-up in education?”