Durbin, Rubio Applaud Committee Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Authorization on Global Basic Education

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today announced the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) advanced their bipartisan legislation 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. The legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ).  

“Given the terrible learning loss around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic and troubling backsliding on girls education in places such as Afghanistan, reauthorizing the READ Act couldn't come at a more important time,” said 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. I’m glad the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced this bill on a bipartisan basis and urge the full Senate to pass it before the end of the year.”

“This important bill will help make up for the learning loss caused by COVID-19 and advance educational opportunities for children worldwide,” said Rubio. “I welcome the Committee on Foreign Relations’ unanimous passage of the bill. The full Senate should pass it immediately.” 

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 (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.

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:

1.       respond to the needs of developing countries to achieve improvements in literacy;

2.       strengthen education systems and expands access to safe learning;

3.       promote education as a foundation for sustained economic growth; and

4.       monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and quality of basic education programs in partner countries.