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No Learning Loss Among Swedish School Children

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


William Galston writes: “Unlike most of its peers, including other Nordic countries, Sweden kept its primary schools open throughout the pandemic. Without additional research comparing Swedish educational achievement with that of countries such as Norway and Denmark, we can’t know whether Sweden’s distinctive policy choice made a decisive difference” (“Owning Up to America’s Covid Pandemic Failures,” Sept. 7).

Fortunately, relevant research on this front does exist, as reported yesterday by Reason’s Emma Camp: “Sweden kept primary schools open for the entire pandemic, yet according to the Swedish Public Health Agency, COVID-19 cases among Swedish children were no higher than those in neighboring Finland, where schools temporarily closed. According to a 2022 study published in the International Journal of Educational Research, Swedish elementary schoolers suffered no learning losses during the course of the pandemic.”*

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

* Emma Camp, “New Data Show COVID School Closures Contributed to Largest Learning Loss in Decades,” Hit & Run, September 6, 2022.