Washington, D.C.- On Wednesday, November 1st, at 5:30pm, over 150 representatives from NGO’s, USAID, Congress, and the Administration gathered to celebrate passage of the bipartisan Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act (HR 601).
The “READ Act” builds upon current U.S. efforts to ensure equal access to quality education for children, globally. The legislation works toward reaching the 264 million children and youth around the world who are still not in school, improves the quality of education for those already enrolled, and builds sustainability and country independence.
The READ Act was passed by Congress on September 8th, 2017, and signed into law by President Trump later that day. The celebration on November 1st paid special tribute to the leadership of Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), for championing this bill and ensuring that USAID’s education programs remain a priority of this administration.
The event was co-sponsored by the Basic Education Coalition (BEC), Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US), Global Citizen, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, ONE, RESULTS, Save the Children, and UNICEF USA. CSO leadership gave thanks and emphasized the significance of this moment in international education.
Below are excerpts from the keynote speakers’ remarks (as prepared for delivery):
Dan Stoner, Co-Chair of the Basic Education Coalition, opened the event. “The Basic Education Coalition is absolutely thrilled that this important legislation has become the law of the land. It has the power to accelerate efforts to get millions of the most vulnerable youth in the world in school and learning,” said Stoner.
“We know that children need a quality education to reach their full potential, and the READ Act will help us reach the 264 million children who are still out of school and the millions more who are failing to learn the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. With passage of the READ Act, we have a great opportunity to work together to ensure that US development assistance builds on existing gains and delivers results for children who have been left behind by recent global development progress,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children.
“I introduced the Education for All Act and READ Act because I believe education is the single greatest force multiplier in foreign aid. I can think of few activities that give the US taxpayer a better bargain than education... Educating children isn’t just smart foreign policy, it’s a moral imperative. Failing to educate a child is a great injustice. She is not only robbed of economic opportunity, she’s deprived of her voice and her future place in the world,” said Congresswoman Lowey.
“We must do our best to ensure that all children, especially those in conflict-affected areas, have access to education because education offers opportunities – the chance to get a decent job, to escape poverty and violence and to provide for a healthy family. …Put simply, education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and in its future,” said Congressman Royce.
"Expanding access to education allows children to care for themselves, their families and their communities. Global Citizens took over 50,000 actions in support of this legislation and we are extremely proud to support the READ Act." said Simon Moss, Managing Director - Campaigns & Co-Founder of Global Citizen.
“This remarkable victory was made possible by the bipartisan leadership of champions on Capitol Hill, and the persistent work of grassroots advocates and partners across the country,” said Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS and Global Campaign for Education-US Board Member. “This legislation will help kickstart the action needed to create a brighter future for kids everywhere.”
Read more about the READ Act and BEC's policy agenda