TACOMA, Washington — On November 6, 2023, the U.S. Senate passed the READ Act Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S.41), a bipartisan bill that reaffirms the United States’ commitment to global basic education and recognizes the transformative power of education in breaking the cycle of poverty. When the U.S. House of Representatives passes its version of the bill, the legislation can then move to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Understanding the Urgency
Currently, 58 million primary school-aged children globally do not attend school and 260 million do not have access to quality education. Gender discrimination in school contributes to the illiteracy of more than 500 million women in adulthood as well. These issues, along with frequent global conflicts, undermine the benefits of education. More specifically, the negative secondary consequences of COVID-19 exacerbated these barriers over the last three years. Considering that education is a proven pathway out of poverty, urgent action is required to enable access to quality education for the most disadvantaged children of the world.
On Sep. 8, 2017, the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act was signed into law. The READ Act emphasizes the value of education for economic growth and social mobility as it promotes educational programs around the world. Through the READ Act, partnerships for educational development will have greater oversight, coordination and a renewed focus on retention. S.41 reauthorizes the READ Act for an additional five years continuing such work as:
- Leveraging U.S. capabilities through technical assistance, training and research;
- Improving the quality of basic education by supporting educational goals in lower-income countries, replicating successful education interventions and measuring learning outcomes in students, especially for girls and young women;
- Amending previous goals of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 in order to develop a coordinated, sustainable and aid-effective plan with partner countries, donors, multilateral institutions, the private sector and nongovernmental and civil society organizations to promote quality basic education through programs that:
– Respond to the needs of countries to achieve improvements in literacy
– Strengthen education systems and expand access to safe learning
– Promote education as a foundation for sustained economic growth.
Expanding Access to Quality Education
Since the READ Act’s implementation, programs that focus on expanding access to quality education for all have reached more than 122 million learners and educators globally.
“We are thrilled to see the passage of the READ Act Reauthorization Act of 2023 in the Senate and applaud the leadership of Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) who have championed this key piece of legislation. By extending the authorization, we can continue to make significant progress in ensuring access to quality education for millions of children around the world. This milestone is a testament to the dedication and hard work of advocates, policymakers and organizations like The Borgen Project, who tirelessly champion the cause of education for all. We look forward to the bill’s passage in the House and its ultimate enactment into law, as we strive to create a brighter and more equitable future for every child,” said Clint Borgen, President of The Borgen Project.
Up next, the bill needs to pass the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), before it can be considered for a vote in the full House of Representatives. Click here to email your U.S. House Rep. to cosponsor H.R.681 and play a part in ensuring access to quality education for children in the most disadvantaged areas of the globe.
– Staff Reports