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Bob, thanks for taking the trouble to write.  
 
Let’s look at the data. The unweighted data show that 84% of the 50 countries for which we have trend data achieved propoor growth on net primary attendance. In the case of attendance, your hunch was right: weighting the data by population pushes the figure up – to 92%. But on primary completion, the figure is bleaker, and your hunch was wrong. The unweighted percentage for the 28 countries for which we have trend data is 68%, and the population-weighted percentage is just 59%. So a full 40% of the developing world’s children live in a country where the poorest 40% of children have made slower progress toward the primary completion MDG.
 
Forgive me, but given me these numbers, how can you say so categorically: “Adam, you’re wrong – poor children weren't left behind by the MDGs.”?  Especially as what I actually said was: “So, yes, it is true that in education – as in health – poor children haven’t always made as fast progress as the better off toward the MDG goals.” If I’m guilty of anything, it’s understatement!
 
On the years of schooling variable, this variable will pick up post-2000 increases in primary completion in surveys fielded after 2003 (15-year olds in 2003 would have been 12 in 2000). For some reason, EdStats doesn’t seem to have the latest DHS and MICS surveys, so in practice you’re right: insofar as it reflects increases in primary completion rates, my last chart will reflect increases that occurred prior to 2000.
 
Does that make the chart irrelevant? I don’t think so. If you look at MDGs 1, 4 and 5, the MDG baseline is explicitly 1990 not 2000. For MDG 6, it’s not explicitly so, but progress on TB is measured using 1990 as the reference. MDG 7 in general doesn’t have an explicit start date, except 7c which also explicitly uses 1990 as the baseline.
 
So my question is – what’s special about education? What’s wrong with assessing progress using 1990 as the baseline, as almost all the other MDGs do?
 
Best,
 
Adam