For the girl who has to gather water during the day. For the boy torn away from his school when his family was forced to flee the war in Syria. For the child who is visually impaired, but there are no tools in her classroom to help her learn to read. These are the children advocates spoke up for last fall when you supported the Education for All Act.
Nearly one thousand of you moved quickly before Congress ended last session to pressure the Senate to pass the Education for All Act. There was disappointment that the bill did not pass, but also evidence this week you were heard. On Monday the House reintroduced the bill, on Tuesday they voted and passed the bill, and today, you can act on the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act (the renamed Education for All Act)!
Thank the Representatives who helped make this happen:
Chairman Ed Royce – House Foreign Affairs Committee, shared the following remarks:
“And yet, around the world, over 120 million children are not in school. More than one-third of these children come from countries embroiled in war and conflict. With many recent conflicts lasting well over a decade, we are now seeing entire generations of children who are failing to receive even the most basic education.
Certainly, this is a humanitarian crisis.
H.R. 601, the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act, introduces new guidelines and increases accountability for existing U.S. efforts to improve access to basic education in developing and conflict-torn countries. It requires strategic planning and the prioritization of resources relative to needs on the ground, potential for impact, and alignment with U.S. diplomatic, development, and security interests.
Particular emphasis is given to conflict-settings and countries that are partners of the United States, whose populations are most in need, and who have committed their own resources to ensure the success and sustainability of these efforts. It also requires increased attention to some of the specific barriers to education that women and girls face.”
To see the READ Act move forward so quickly, passing the House, is momentous. This puts the bill back in the Senate where it failed to pass last session, and the journey for this bill to become a law is still long. However, with so many children out of school, it is necessary and it is the voice of people like you that can make it happen.
This bill authorizes no new spending but works by mandating that the U.S. develop a comprehensive integrated strategy to promote basic education and increase transparency. Work will focus on marginalized populations, including girls, children with disabilities, and children who are affected by conflict, including refugees. Also included in the strategy will be children who have been affected by domestic violence, early marriage, and gender-based violence.
Thank your Representative for passing the READ Act and tell your Senators you would like to see them follow suit. Now, more than ever, your voice matters in D.C.!
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Photo: © 2015 World Vision/ photo by Vanndeth Um