In the morning session with Harry Patrinos of the World Bank, the students learned of the success of education projects conducted in rural areas of Mexico. In particular, Mr. Patrinos focused on a subsidy program geared toward improving infrastructure in schools and eliminating the problem of teacher absenteeism. Surprisingly, at some schools, teachers failed to show for classes fifty percent of the time thereby creating little incentive for children in the area to attend. Our speaker stressed the fact that a small investment of twenty dollars went a long way in eliminating the problems mentioned above. The findings of the World Bank study, while positive, did suffer from an overly small sample.
In the afternoon, John See from the American Federation of Teachers led a discussion on No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Mr. See gave the group a valuable insight into the problems of NCLB from a teacher’s perspective, namely the problems of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and “teaching the test”. However, Mr. See noted that teachers are willing to work within the framework of NCLB. It just was faults that need attention and remedy.