Congress launches first-ever International Basic Education Caucus

June 29, 2015
by Allison Grossman, Senior Legislative Associate

Last Wednesday, global education advocates came together on Capitol Hill for the launch of the first-ever International Basic Education Caucus. Two education champions, Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) joined forces to create this important new bipartisan group in the House of Representatives. They are currently circulating a Dear Colleague letter to encourage their fellow members of the House to join their efforts.

In a joint statement, Congressman Reichert stated, “Guaranteeing education for all children around the world lays the foundation for success. We know just how important this is because of how frequently it has come under attack from groups like Boko Haram and the Taliban. If we are going to spread freedom, promote economic growth, enhance stability and security, and alleviate poverty around the world, the best way to do that is by first ensuring every young child, including every young girl, has access to basic education.”

During a reception on Wednesday evening to mark the launch of the Caucus, Congressman Quigley (pictured below) spoke of the critical role the Caucus will play in raising awareness and garnering support for global basic education and the Global Partnership for Education. Through events, briefings, letters, and more, the Caucus will provide a much-needed space on Capitol Hill to discuss emerging issues in global basic education, such as early childhood education, or respond urgently to global events threatening the right to education.

Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund (pictured above), closed out the reception by thanking Congressmen Reichert and Quigley for their leadership. But she also reminded us that, “today is only the beginning. We look forward to working with all of you to grow the caucus so that we can help countries achieve quality education for all of their children.”

Background on the International Basic Education Caucus:

This bipartisan International Basic Education Caucus provides opportunities for members of Congress to join together to support international basic education and act quickly to respond to global events affecting access to quality education. Through the establishment of an International Basic Education Caucus, members of Congress will:

-Help increase support in Congress for international basic education programs.

-Increase member and staff understanding of global education challenges and build bipartisan support to address these issues.

-Establish a platform to respond quickly to global events such as recent terrorist attacks on schools in Nigeria and Kenya.

Potential Caucus activities might include:

-Caucus-sponsored briefings on basic education issues for members of Congress and their staff.

-Members-only briefings with international field staff.

-Congressional receptions in coordination with partner organizations such as the Basic Education Coalition, RESULTS, and the Global Campaign for Education-U.S.

-Letters to the Administration and world leaders surrounding global events.

-One-minute floor speeches around key basic education opportunities such as global events or international days like International Literacy Day, International Women’s Day, and Global Action Week for Education.

Members of Congress can join the caucus by contacting Colin Swanson ([email protected]) with Congressman Reichert (R-WA) or Shira Siegel ([email protected]) with Congressman Quigley (D-IL).

You can download a fact sheet on the Caucus here.

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