READ Act Becomes Law!

Basic Education Coalition Applauds Congress and President Trump for Passing Critical International Education Legislation

On September 8th, 2017, Congress took the critical step of passing the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act of 2017, ensuring that all children, regardless of where they were born, have access to a quality basic education. President Trump signed this legislation later that day.

“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 BEC Co-Chairs Dan Stoner (Associate VP for Education and Children for Save the Children US) and Jerrold Keilson (VP of International Programs, Policy and Systems Changes for the American Institutes of Research). “We are able to celebrate today thanks to the leadership of Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) for championing this bill and working to ensure its passage. We also thank President Trump for signing this important piece of legislation into law, ensuring that USAID’s education programs remain a focus in this administration.” 

The bipartisan Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act (HR 601) builds upon current U.S. efforts to ensure equal access to quality education for children throughout the world. The legislation works toward reaching the 263 million children and youth around the world who are still not in school, a full one-third of whom live in conflict areas, improves the quality of education for those already enrolled, and builds sustainability and country independence. 

“Without a doubt, education is the greatest force multiplier in foreign aid. The READ Act will enhance our global education efforts, removing barriers to education for those out of school and improving the quality of education for those already enrolled,” said Congresswoman Lowey.

“By giving young people in impoverished regions the tools to read and write, we will put them down a positive path where they are better able to care for themselves, the needs of their families, and their communities. The opportunity for a basic education will also help these children live longer, healthier lives and will promote stability in areas of the world suffering from conflict,” said Congressman Reichert.

“The READ Act will empower millions of children around the world, particularly girls, by increasing their access to basic education and reducing their vulnerability to poverty, abuse and extremism,” said Senator Rubio.

“This bipartisan achievement will help unleash the potential of children across the globe and arm them with the necessary tools to break the cycles of poverty, violence, and extremism,” said Senator Durbin.

The Basic Education Coalition has worked with congressional allies to advance key elements of this legislation for over a decade, working to keep international basic education a priority on Capitol Hill. “We know that basic education is a critical component of US diplomatic, development and humanitarian efforts,” said Stoner and Keilson. “The results are staggering. When children have a quality education, they are healthier, achieve higher wages and are less likely to be targets for trafficking and forced labor. With 250 million children who aren’t able to read a single sentence, this law will drive the action needed to create a better future for children all over the world and that benefits us all."

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