The Associated Press reported on U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s recent visit to Haiti, where he spoke to officials about the need for a data collecting system in the impoverished country. Valerie Straus writes:
You are never too poor, apparently, to want for data.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan went this week to Haiti, the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world, and talked to education officials there about the great value in collecting data to improve schools. He was quoted by the Associated Press as saying:
One of the many needs here are clear data systems, having transparency, knowing basic things, like how many children we have, how many schools there are, how many teachers we have. I think it’s so important that everybody be transparent and honest on the good, the bad and the ugly.
Duncan, the AP also reported, visited a school where children sleep on the street (which is not unusual in a country where 80 percent of the population live in dire poverty), and saw a class packed with more than 100 seventh graders. Most of the schools in Haiti don’t have toilets, and many are without running water.
He was quoted as saying: Far from ideal conditions. Very far, but nothing a good data system can’t help.