The latest appropriations bill proposed by the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives would cut U.S. support for international basic education by at least 36%. If enacted, this drastic reduction in funding for a critical component of U.S. foreign assistance would decrease our support for vulnerable children around the world and jeopardize the great development progress that we’ve made to date.
The Basic Education Coalition urges Congress to protect funding for vital U.S. international basic education programs. It is imperative that Members of Congress express their support to House leadership for the original funding level included in the House of Representatives fiscal year 2019 State and Foreign Operations bill to ensure that any final FY2019 appropriations agreement includes at least $800,000,000 for international basic education assistance.
Education is essential for economic growth, poverty alleviation, social stability, and participatory democracy. U.S. international basic education programs provide students with safe and equitable access to quality education so that children develop the necessary skills to participate in the 21st century workforce.
From 2011-2017, the U.S. Agency for International Development reached over 109 million learners in more than 50 countries through its basic education programming, including 22.6 million children living in conflict or crisis settings. However, we have more work to do. 262 million children and youth are still not in school and millions more are failing to acquire basic reading, writing, and numeracy skills. If we cut funding now, we risk falling short of the goal of all children in school and learning.
Regardless of gender or place of birth, children deserve the opportunity to learn and make a life for themselves. USAID’s basic education programs are effective and deliver results for those in need. Sustained funding will allow USAID to continue programs that benefit vulnerable populations and provide education assistance for children who are currently being left behind by global development gains.
The Basic Education Coalition is a group of leading U.S.-based organizations and academic institutions working together to promote global peace and prosperity through education.