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Rubio, Durbin, Smith, Bass Introduce Legislation to Reauthorize READ Act, Continue Global Access to Education
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced bipartisan and bicameral legislation to reauthorize the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act for five years to continue access to basic education for children around the globe. U.S. Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Karen Bass (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. Senator Rubio first introduced the READ Act in 2017, and it was enacted on September 8, 2017 (P.L. 115-56). The authorization expires at the end of this fiscal year.
Rubio is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
“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.