WASHINGTON – On March 28, 2022, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, and Congressman Chris Smith, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa (R-NJ) introduced bipartisan and bicameral legislation with U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to reauthorize the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act of 2017 for an additional five years to equitably expand access to basic education for children around the globe (H.R.7240 / S.3938). The Global Campaign for Education-US applauds the introduction of the READ Act Reauthorization and urges Congress to quickly pass this critical legislation.
“Basic education is unequivocally one of the most important resources young people need to grow into the strong leaders, doctors, business owners, and economic contributors of their nations. This is why I am introducing the READ Act Reauthorization Act of 2022,” said Rep. Bass. “Basic education is a global human right, and we must continue to lead the effort to ensure that all young people have adequate access to that right, especially now given the major impact COVID-19 has had on the education system.”
“The five year reauthorization of the READ Act will stabilize and enhance U.S. efforts with partner countries, the private sector, and civil society organizations—including faith-based organizations, which are active in many countries where state agencies do not exist—to promote basic education in some of the most challenging parts of the world,” said Rep. Smith. “Investing in children’s education globally is investing in American security, as it gives children the world over hope for the future. Our legislation also recognizes and facilitates partnerships with parents who are the primary educators of our children.”
"Given the terrible learning loss around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reauthorizing the READ Act couldn't come at a more important time," said Senator Durbin. "Doing so will ensure U.S. development programs continue to focus on providing basic education around a sound long-term strategy – one that includes making sure girls have access to schooling."
“After years of acute learning loss brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of vulnerable children around the world have lost out on valuable educational opportunities and are confronting futures rife with violence and poverty. The resources provided by the READ Act are now more important than ever,” said Senator Rubio. “I was proud to lead my colleagues in the initial enactment of this bill and am grateful to once again work across the aisle to enhance educational opportunities worldwide.”
There has been tremendous progress in advancing quality basic education around the world since the READ Act was first signed into law five years ago. In 2018, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released the U.S. Government Strategy on International Basic Education for Fiscal Years 2019-2023, which has since demonstrated the U.S. Government’s commitment to international education and leadership on pressing international education challenges. The READ Act Reauthorization would continue the goal of providing access to education for some of the hundreds of millions of young people who are currently not in school, or who do not have access to education because of conflict or political instability.
In addition to its bipartisan, bicameral support, the READ Act Reauthorization has broad support from diverse civil society stakeholders, coalitions, and partners.
“At this moment of unprecedented need for children and youth due to setbacks in learning caused by humanitarian crises and the pandemic, the reauthorization of the READ Act ensures critical support and hope to children and youth by providing inclusive, quality education. We applaud the efforts of Representatives Bass and Smith and Senators Durbin and Rubio to introduce the READ Reauthorization Act, and urge Congress to pass this important bill swiftly,”
- Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director, Global Campaign for Education-US
“The U.S. must do its part to help stop the COVID-19 education crisis from becoming a permanent catastrophe for an entire generation. The READ Act helps guarantee the kind of quality foundational learning that is the right of every child, and a powerful antidote to poverty. And by supporting the Global Partnership for Education, this bill strengthens our collective global response to education, rallying behind countries and communities that are leading the way. I’m hugely grateful for continued bipartisan leadership on global education in Congress, and especially to this bill’s lead sponsors Rep. Bass, Rep. Smith, Sen. Durbin, and Sen. Rubio. As a network of grassroots advocates, RESULTS and our partners are ready to support a bold continued U.S. commitment to global education.”
- Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS and Global Campaign for Education-US Board Member
“The pandemic has had devastating impacts on learning outcomes for students around the world and we anticipate record numbers of people in humanitarian need in 2022. The reauthorization of the READ Act will ensure we can continue to partner with the US government strategically to reach the most vulnerable children around the world with quality, safe, and inclusive education. We are grateful to Representatives Bass (D-CA) and Smith (R-NJ) and to Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Rubio (R-FL) for their leadership at this critical time."
- Leonardo Hosh, Associate Vice President for Child Protection and Education at World Vision
The READ Act amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and states that it shall be the policy of the United States to work with partner countries, other donors, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and nongovernmental and civil society organizations, including faith-based organizations, to promote quality basic education through programs and activities that:
- respond to the needs of developing countries to achieve improvements in literacy;
- strengthen education systems and expands access to safe learning;
- promote education as a foundation for sustained economic growth; and
- monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and quality of basic education programs in partner countries.
- Please fill out this form to show your organization’s support for READ Act Reauthorization.
- Take action: Contact your members of Congress asking them to support the bill to reauthorize the READ Act (H.R.7240 / S.3938)
Learn more: Read Rep. Karen Bass’ full press release here.