We often hear about difficulties in Congress and how approval ratings are at a record low. We want to say thank you for realizing that in the midst of the chaos, your voice still matters. Today, largely influenced by your emails, phone calls, and tweets, the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act – previously named the Education for All Act, was signed into law! This bill will put measures into place to begin providing education to the more than 59 million children of primary school age around the world who are without the opportunity to learn – including girls, refugee children, and children with disabilities.
Advocates contacted Congress over 1500 times, asking Senators and Representatives to pass this bill, a bill a long time in the making with a version first introduced in Congress 13 years ago. We want to say thank you to Representative Dave Reichert (WA), Representative Nita Lowey (NY), Senator Marco Rubio (FL), and Senator Dick Durbin (IL) for championing this bill. Today in a joint statement, they celebrate this success with us.
A Message from D.C.
“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. “Prioritizing education around the world will not only help students learn to read and write — it will ultimately help protect vulnerable communities from hunger and disease and increase economic advancement, particularly for girls and women. Simply put, by putting education at the center of our efforts, this bill moves us further down the path to building the world we want for ourselves and for future generations. This is a tremendous bipartisan achievement, and I thank my colleagues for their hard work to send this critical legislation to the president’s desk.”
“The expression ‘knowledge is power’ knows no borders or backgrounds,” said Rep. Reichert. “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. I have been a longtime champion of the READ Act and could not be more pleased to see this bill get across the finish line.”
“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. “I commend President Trump for signing into law this important bill that will advance American interests and values by helping children around the world reach their full potential.”
“Passage of the READ Act will help provide children, particularly girls, with a quality education and empower them to improve the lives of their families and change the course of nations,” said Senator Durbin. “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.”
Photo: Classroom scenes from Chalimbana Primary School, in Chongwe ADP, Zambia. © 2016 World Vision/ photo by Jon Warren