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Major Education Bill Gets Closer to Becoming Law in US Congress

Msichana

How can the US help ensure all children are able to receive a quality education?

Simple: the READ Act! And now we have an exciting update for Global Citizens.

The US Senate just introduced the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act (S. 623), or READ Act, taking an important next step to help vulnerable and marginalized children access a quality education.

This is a huge deal for 263 million children, the majority of whom are girls, currently missing out on school. More than 75 million of these students have had their education disrupted specifically due to conflict and crisis.

Take Action: Call Your Senators and Urge Them to Support the Read Act

Even the students who are lucky enough to make it into a classroom are not necessarily receiving a quality education. It is estimated that nearly 250 million children failing to learn the basics in reading, writing, and arithmetic. This is where the READ Act comes into the picture.

The READ Act will improve how the US approaches educational opportunities and addresses key barriers to school attendance, retention, and completion, especially for girls. The bill calls for prioritizing US education assistance with the aim of helping countries who are most in need. Additionally, the bill focuses on strengthening education systems and providing a framework for country ownership to achieve lasting positive change.

The READ Act has been around in many different forms over the past decade. In the 114th Congress (2015-2016), the READ Act (then called the Education for All Act) managed to pass through the House and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before grinding to a halt as Congress adjourned for the year.

Most recently in the 115th Congress, the bill was introduced in late January in the US House of Representatives by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA). As a way to further grow support for the measure, the bill included the proposed changes made by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the previous Congress. And when it was introduced, it immediately gained support of a bipartisan group of lawmakers passing the House and moving on to the Senate with impressive quickness.

In the Senate, Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Rubio (R-FL) introduced a companion bill, READ Act (S. 623), on March 14. Ideally the companion bill will help to build momentum and allow Senators to cosponsor the legislation. The bill still has a long and obstacle-filled road to the President’s desk as both the House and Senate will need to pass the same version of the bill. Luckily it seems both chambers are on the same page with the Senate releasing a bill that is almost identical to its companion.