Lowey Celebrates Bill to Expand Global Access to Education
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, last night celebrated the recent enactment of the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act, bipartisan legislation she introduced to expand access to education for the world’s most vulnerable children.
Congresswoman Lowey’s remarks as prepared for delivery, during the READ Act event on Capitol Hill:
“I am incredibly excited to be here tonight with so many friends to celebrate the almost 15 year fight to pass the READ Act – we did it!
“Before I begin, I want to thank the organizations who planned tonight’s event for their years of grassroots advocacy, such as RESULTS, The Basic Education Coalition, The Global Campaign, ONE, Global Citizen, Save the Children, and many more.
“Let’s give them a round of applause!
“I also want to thank the Representatives who joined us here tonight, especially Rep. Reichert, our lead cosponsor for a number of years; Chairman Royce, who helped advance this legislation out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; our Senate sponsors, Senators Durbin and Rubio; and Administrator Green, who I look forward to working with on basic education.
“I first introduced READ, originally the Education for All Act, in 2004 because I believe that education is the single, greatest force multiplier in foreign aid.
“When we discuss effective and efficient international development, we often focus on efforts that stretch our dollars furthest. I can think of few activities that give the U.S. taxpayer a better bargain than education, particularly when we ensure girls have equal access to the classroom.
“But educating children isn’t just smart foreign policy, it’s a moral imperative.
“Failing to educate a child is a grave injustice – she is not only robbed of economic opportunities, she is deprived of her voice and her future place in the world.
“After all these years, I am ecstatic the READ Act will result in: A comprehensive, integrated strategy at USAID to improve educational opportunities and address key barriers for the world’s most vulnerable children; a Senior Coordinator position at USAID responsible for the development, implementation, and interagency coordination of our basic education efforts; and increased U.S. engagement with key partner countries, donors, civil society, the private sector, and multilateral global education initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Education.
“This has been a labor of love for many members of my staff, some of whom are here tonight. I want to thank Beth Tritter, Ann Vaughan, Talia Dubovi, Marin Stein, and Liz Leibowitz for all your efforts to get this legislation across the finish line.
“But, as we celebrate, we must not forget that much work remains to help the estimated 263 million children and youth who are out of school around the world. Many are girls, those with disabilities, or children in areas plagued by crisis and conflict.
“And we can’t stop at getting them into school. Millions of children who have spent time in a classroom still can’t read, write, or do basic math. We must do better.
“As we look towards the future, we must be more committed than ever to removing barriers for the globe’s most vulnerable children. The READ Act will be the first step, but we will need all of you, as well as our experts at USAID who we are grateful for every day, to make this a reality.
“I will close with a quote from, an inspirational young woman I’ve had the honor of getting to know in recent years. Through her passionate advocacy, she demonstrates the tremendous, life-changing power of education.
“As she so eloquently stated: “Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”
“Once again, I am thrilled to be here with you tonight and am grateful for your advocacy and passion. Thank you.”