Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here! Your trusty interplanetary journalist is back with the scoop on the changemaking leaders of Planet Earth. Today, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Rafael Machiaverni, the general director of Parceiros da Educação. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Rafael! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your organization?
Rafael: Glad to be with you, Spiffy! At Parceiros da Educação, our main goal is to increase the learning levels within the public educational system of the State of São Paulo to the highest in Latin America by 2040. Our challenges include the current learning levels—which are low in Brazil as a whole: only 10% of Brazilian students leave K-12 schools with adequate proficiency in math, for example—and the size of the São Paulo network, which has more than 5.6 million students.
Spiffy: Those sound like quite the challenges! What motivates you to tackle them?
Rafael: My main motivation is my conviction that we first need to solve the educational problem in Brazil in order to be able to address its other social and economic problems. As around 85% of Brazilian students are in public schools, we need to focus on raising the quality of the public education system.
Spiffy: That makes total sense to me! How would you describe the impact of your work?
Rafael: Our work helps K-12 students, teachers, principals, and educational system managers. We develop partnership programs, which already are impacting more than 500 schools and 350,000 students. We have a social return on investment of more than $7 for each dollar invested in our municipal school system program. We also take steps to increase the chances that good practices become public policies. The pedagogical material that we have developed for learning recovery has reached 7.5 million students around Brazil.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone or initiative by you or your organization. What impact does that make?
Rafael: We have developed a program that helps regional school districts achieve higher levels of learning. Before the pandemic, we started in two districts that were among the most challenging because of their large number of students (more than 180 thousand) and low educational levels. Since then, we have helped their high schools move up approximately 50 places in a ranking of 91 districts..
Spiffy: That is a remarkable feat! Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Rafael: There is strong consensus on what needs to be done to improve educational levels: provide interesting classroom instruction, good training for teachers and principals, continuous evaluation, effective curriculum, and constructive school monitoring. We now need to make a commitment as a society to put education as our top priority.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Rafael—it’s been an honor!
Rafael Machiaverni serves as general director of Parceiros da Educação, an NGO that supports public education in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and impacts more than 350,000 students. Rafael started at Parceiros in 2019 and contributed to an expansion from 200 schools to more than 500 schools. Prior to that, Rafael worked for 14 years in the aeronautical industry. He graduated from the University of São Paulo and has a master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from ITA (Aeronautical Institute of Technology). (Nominated by Cristina Londoño of VélezReyes+. First published on the Ladderworks website on April 25, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.