Durbin, Rubio Introduce 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) introduced 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. In the 117th Congress, the legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Reps. 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 theREAD 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.  This legislation has strong bipartisan support, which we saw through its original passage into law in 2017 and SFRC passage of this reauthorization last Congress.  I hope we can get it through the Senate and signed into law in the 118th Congress.”

“The reauthorization of the bipartisan READ Act would create strategies to provide clarity and transparency on the United States’ efforts to advance basic education in developing countries,” said Rubio. “This is an important step to help make up for the learning loss caused by COVID-19 and advance educational opportunities for children worldwide.”

“At this time of unprecedented need for children and youth due to setbacks in learning caused by humanitarian crises and the pandemic, a swift reauthorization of the READ Act is critical to strengthening U.S. government’s support to improve inclusive, quality education and foundational learning outcomes for millions of vulnerable children and youth globally.  We applaud Senator Rubio and Senator Durbin for their leadership to introduce the READ Reauthorization Act, and urge Congress to quickly pass this important bipartisan legislation,” said Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director, Global Campaign for Education-US.

“Access to high quality foundational learning is one of the most decisive levers in the fight against poverty.  The READ Act Reauthorization can enshrine the U.S.’s commitment to education as a basic human right and will help propel a much-needed reversal in the educational progress lost during the height of COVID-19.  We are grateful to Senators Durbin and Rubio for their committed leadership on this legislation, and RESULTS calls upon Congress to take swift action to pass the READ Act Reauthorization into law,” said Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS.

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.