Durbin, Rubio, Bass, Smith Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation To Extend Authorization On Global Basic Education

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), along with Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, and Chris Smith, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa (R-NJ), introduced bipartisan and bicameral 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.


“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.”


“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 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.”


“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 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.”


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 U.S. must do its part to help stop the COVID-19 education crisis from becoming a permanent catastrophe for an entire generation,” said Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS. “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.”


“Members of the Basic Education Coalition have achieved enormous impact for children around the world by improving access to quality education through the implementation of the READ Act,” said Candace Debnam, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Basic Education Coalition and Executive Director at School-to-School International. “Now more than ever, we must continue these efforts for another 10 years under the reauthorization of the READ Act.”


“As we work to rebuild education systems around the world that have been gravely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the reauthorization of the READ Act is more essential than ever,” said Nancy Devine, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Basic Education Coalition and Sr. Vice President and Director of IDD at Education Development Center. “The Basic Education Coalition and its members enthusiastically support the reauthorization of the READ Act with a 10-year reauthorization.”


“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,” said Leonardo Hosh, Associate Vice President for Child Protection and Education at World Vision. “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."


“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,” said Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director, Global Campaign for Education-US. “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,”


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.