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Submitted by Bob Prouty on

Sorry, Adam, but in answer to the title question of your blog, you and Gordon Brown were wrong on this one. The evidence shows clearly that the poorest children showed far greater gains for both enrollment in and completion of primary education than the wealthier children (weighting the per-country analysis by population will show the trend even more strongly). I also don't agree with your suggestion that years of schooling for 15-19 year-old children is a better measure of MDG progress, since the MDGs focused on primary completion, and children entering school in 2001 wouldn't be showing up yet in the 15-19 age group data. I do nonetheless agree that the forthcoming goals should explicitly address equity concerns, because while virtually all development partners are already building a poverty focus into their programs, they should be doing more. They should now pay attention to the transition to secondary, and they should pay attention to categories of marginalization that currently get little attention--children with disabilities, children from ethnic and linguistic minorities, children living in extreme poverty, working children... But I'm worried at the suggestion implied in Gordon Brown's comment that it could be seen as further penalizing poor children to address learning issues and transition to secondary ("raising the bar")even before all poor children have access to school. There's plenty of reason to believe that poor children will be the first to drop out when quality is low--and dropout is one of the major factors keeping us from achieving the access goals...So yes, more attention to equity is a great idea, but no, poor children weren't left behind by the MDGs.