Why are we still not allowed to talk about Sweden?

Anthony LaMesa
2 min readJun 13, 2022

Incredible news about learning loss was ignored last fall — and is being ignored again.

Yesterday, Sweden’s education minister expressed confidence that she made the right decision to keep primary and lower secondary schools open throughout the pandemic.

She was responding to a tweet from a World Bank education economist who was sharing a journal article that concluded “there is no evidence of a learning loss regarding early reading skills in Swedish primary school students” and “the decision to keep schools open benefitted Swedish primary school students.”

When this research was initially shared last September in the Swedish press, I was excited by the findings and wrote a Medium post sharing the news. In addition, I tried to interest the New York Times’ education reporters in the research, but I don’t believe anything was ever written.

And, now, despite important research being published in the International Journal of Educational Research, major U.S. newspapers still seem disinterested about what happened in the only European country to keep most schools open throughout the pandemic. I can only find reporting in the right-wing National Review.

The New York Times has had space for utter bullshit — this, this, and this — but apparently no time or room for some of the most important education research to come out of the pandemic.

I suppose I can understand why their leading Covid-19 reporter might not want to write something, but their education reporters? Why not?

I am extremely confused.

Is Sweden still considered a “pariah state” in the New York Times newsroom? And we’re still not allowed to acknowledge anything good about their pandemic response?

I just don’t get it.

Why can’t we talk about Sweden in polite company?

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Anthony LaMesa

Some thoughts on reopening America’s public schools.