Want to hear some good news for a change? The READ Act was approved by the Senate in August. What is the READ Act and why should we care? The Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act is a bipartisan-supported bill that will accelerate the impact of U.S. basic education programs around the world in the poorest countries. Education is key in eradicating poverty and developing democratic governments. Our support of global education via our foreign assistance tax dollars has made a world of difference in getting million of children into school who otherwise could not attend. Education promotes stability and health, and increases economic advancement, particularly for girls and women. Studies have shown that for every year a girl attends school, her future income increases between 15 to 25 percent. Furthermore, no country has reached sustained economic growth without achieving near universal primary education.
Presently, more than 263 million children and youth worldwide have no access to education and languish in illiteracy and poverty. Statistics reveal that poverty-stricken countries become more vulnerable to government instability, weak economies, extremism, hunger and disease. The less education a girl receives, the higher the mortality rate grows (deaths of infants per 100 births) in that nation.
The READ Act calls for U.S. engagement with key partner countries, other donors, civil society, the private sector, and multilateral global education initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Education, to promote sustainable, quality basic education. It requires a comprehensive, integrated U.S. strategy that improves educational opportunities and addresses key barriers to school attendance, retention, and completion for the poorest children worldwide. When H.R. 601 passed in the House by voice vote in January of 2017, Congressman Doug LaMalfa voted in favor, and for that he is to be commended.
Now there is a House Resolution to support the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a program that functions as a coalition of educators, nations and local organizations, to bring education and improve it in the poorest countries. Introduced in July by Rep. David Reichert (R-WA), the GPE removes barriers to education for those out of school and improves the quality of basic education for those already attending. They have a plan from 2018-20 to get an additional 25 million kids through school and improve quality and access for 800 million more kids. Support for the GPE Resolution will mean future adequate funding to allow it to continue its important work and carry out the mandates of the READ Act. A replenishment conference is set for the end of February 2018 for the GPE. Take a minute to call, email or write Congressman LaMalfa today. Thank him and remind him of his voice vote in favor of the READ Act, and urge him to sign onto H. Res. 466 in support of the Global Partnership for Education. This is a powerful way to build a world that we want for ourselves and future generations.
By Lisa Schliff