Marco Rubio, Dick Durban Urge the Senate to Reauthorize the READ Act to Help Global Education

With the clock running out on the current congressional session, this week, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., got their proposal “to reauthorize the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act for five years to continue access to basic education for children around the globe” through a key committee.

Rubio successfully led the effort to reauthorize the READ Act in 2017. U.S. Reps. Karen Bass, D-Calif., and Chris Smith, R-NJ, are championing the proposal in the U.S. House.

In March, Rubio weighed in on the proposal which Durbin introduced that month.

“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,” Rubio said. “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.”

“Given the terrible learning loss around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reauthorizing the READ Act couldn’t come at a more important time,” Durbin said. “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.”

“The 10-year reauthorization of the READ Act will stabilize and enhance U.S. efforts with partner countries, the private sector, and civil society organizations—including faith-based organizations, which are active in many countries where state agencies do not exist—to promote basic education in some of the most challenging parts of the world,” Smith said. “Investing in children’s education globally is investing in American security, as it gives children the world over hope for the future. Our legislation also recognizes and facilitates partnerships with parents who are the primary educators of our children.”

“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,” Bass said. “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.”

“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: respond to the needs of developing countries to achieve improvements in literacy; strengthen education systems and expand access to safe learning; promote education as a foundation for sustained economic growth; and monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and quality of basic education programs in partner countries,” Rubio’s office noted.

The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee which passed it last week. With the House passing the bill without opposition back in September, Rubio and Durbin called on the Senate to follow suit.

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

“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. 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,” said Durbin.

Kevin Derby
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