Senate Passes Lowey’s READ Act to Improve Global Education Efforts

August 2, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, announced the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation she introduced, along with Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), to increase accountability for U.S. basic education efforts, removing barriers for those out of school and improving the quality of education for those already enrolled. The Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act, H.R. 601, would enhance transparency and accelerate the impact of U.S. basic education programs around the world in order to help countries address the more than 263 million children and youth that are out of school. The legislation now heads back to the U.S. House for a vote.

“There is no greater force multiplier in foreign aid than education,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Prioritizing education around the world will not only help students learn to read and write—it will ultimately help protect vulnerable children from poverty, disease, hunger, and even extremism. Simply put, we cannot build the world we want for ourselves, and for future generations, without making education the center of our efforts.”

Worldwide, 250 million primary schoolchildren are failing to learn basic literacy and numeracy skills. 130 million of these students have attended at least four years of school. Studies have shown that for every year a girl stays in school, her future income increases between 15 to 25 percent.

An educated citizenry contributes to sustained economic growth, strengthened democratic institutions, the empowerment of women and girls, and decreased extremism. That is why no country has reached sustained economic growth without achieving near universal primary education.

Specifically, the READ Act calls for:

  • U.S. engagement with key partner countries, other donors, civil society, the private sector, and multilateral global education initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Education, to promote sustainable, quality basic education.
  • A comprehensive, integrated U.S. strategy that improves educational opportunities and addresses key barriers to school attendance, retention, and completion for the poorest children worldwide;
  • The creation of a “Senior Coordinator” within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) responsible for the development, implementation, and coordination of U.S. basic education programs;
  • An annual report to Congress on implementation of the basic education strategy and progress achieved by USAID programs.