SAN JOSE, California — In mid-November 2023, U.S. Representative Grace Meng wrote an op-ed for The Hill calling U.S. Congress to reauthorize the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act, stating that it is critical to the well-being of the next generation of world citizens. The Congresswoman’s leadership is another example of recent efforts made by Members of Congress determined to draw attention to important legislation that addresses global poverty relief.
The READ Act works to address the pressing situation involving nearly 263 million children and youth worldwide who do not have access to quality education. Its reauthorization is integral in ensuring that all children and youth have access to education globally. The Congresswoman and Carol Jenkins, CEO of World Learning and co-author of the op-ed explained, “…We believe that education is paramount. We must prioritize access to quality education for every child in our own country and around the world. Quality education is just as critical for children in Queens as it is for children in Quito. ”
Congresswoman Meng’s calls to Congress, especially to the House of Representatives, were incredibly timely as the Senate passed its version of the READ Act reauthorization on November 6, 2023.
Gender Equality and Global Economic Development
The READ Act recognizes that education is a powerful driver for economic growth. When children are equipped with quality education, improved economic conditions are achievable through new innovations, increased productivity and participation in the global economy.
In addition, as part of The Borgen Project’s objective to promote sustainable development across the developing world, a core part of its mission ties to the READ Act as the bill also helps address gender equality. By removing barriers that prevent girls and women from acquiring quality education, the READ Act empowers gender equality, a value Congresswoman Meng embraces by leading its reauthorization. Economic advancement is also promoted through greater participation from women in the workforce and can provide for a more knowledgeable political population. A more knowledgeable population prevents political instability and radicalization as well.
Educated individuals are also more likely to participate in democratic processes, respect human rights and contribute to peaceful societies. Communities that prioritize education can take a stand in politically unstable times and adapt to other global challenges, such as economic uncertainty or environmental issues. The READ Act ultimately encourages the pillars of responsible, global citizenship and, thus, the opportunity for more significant collaboration with partners, understanding and peace.
Health and Well-being
Through the reauthorization of the READ Act, new advancements in education can lead to scientific and other STEM-related innovations that contribute to the benefit of general health and well-being within a country as well. Individuals in recipient countries could take advantage of these advancements for a higher standard of living, more informed health choices, greater access to health care services and better health within the population.
Through the work of The Borgen Project and Members of Congress like Congresswoman Meng, millions of children’s voices worldwide are heard through these good faith actors. Advocacy for the reauthorization of the READ Act is a reaffirmation of humanity’s global commitment to inspiring the minds of young individuals. To help pass the READ Act reauthorization, individuals can email their Representative asking for support through The Borgen Project’s Action Center.
– Arman Ahmed