Today on the International Day of Peace, urge Congress to pass the READ Act so kids affected by conflict can go to school
The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently said, “Peace is needed today more than ever. War and conflict are unleashing devastation, poverty, and hunger, and driving tens of millions of people from their homes.” We know that conflict and displacement are a major cause of 250 million children globally being out of school. Today, International Day of Peace, we must call upon Congress to reauthorize the READ Act so that the U.S. does its part to ensure children everywhere get the education they deserve.
Violent conflict interferes with schooling, but it is especially bad for marginalized groups of kids like girls and students with disabilities. According to new data from the Global Education Monitoring Report, 58 million more children lost access to school in 2022 (making the total number of children out of school an alarming 250 million, as mentioned above). Violent conflict is responsible for much of this increase in out-of-school children—in particular, the radicalized groups banning girls from school in Afghanistan. Eighty percent of Afghan girls are now out of school.
Without the READ Act, the U.S. cannot continue to lead globally on the right to education
The U.S. government has been a leader on the right to education globally, particularly for girls. Last year alone, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and partners reached more than 32.7 million learners, including 12.7 million girls, in 97 countries. These programs served displaced kids, refugees, former child combatants, and other students affected by violent conflict. Efforts like these across countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Nigeria, and Pakistan made sure kids coping with oppressive conditions learned foundational reading, math, and social emotional skills. These are the skills they need to continue their education and get stable jobs and raise healthy families later on.
The bipartisan READ Act reauthorization is necessary to continue and even improve the U.S.’s role in this work. If passed, the law will make U.S. foreign aid more effective and maintain our government’s commitment to connecting all children with the schooling they need to learn foundational skills.
But time is running out. We need Congress to reauthorize the READ Act (HR 681, S 41) before the end of September when the legislation expires. To help get this bill over the finish line, we need you to urge your members of Congress to join as co-sponsors. You can check if your members of Congress are supporters, and ask them to push congressional leadership to move the bill. You can also use the hashtag #READActReauthorization in your social media posts or write a letter to the editor to tell Congress to pass this critical bill that will affect millions of students around the world. Please take action today!