Leadership on global education falls back to Congress, after Biden administration refuses to step up
Washington, DC, July 29, 2021 — At the financing summit for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) today, the Biden administration affirmed its intent to cut funding for global education. Ignoring bipartisan calls for a $1 billion five-year pledge, USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced a pledge of only $305 million over three years, most of which was already signed into law before President Biden took office.
Lower-income countries led the way at today’s summit, committing a record $196 billion for education. Donor funding, marshaled by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), is needed to fill key remaining gaps and help strengthen national responses. Despite some notable commitments, including the European Union making the largest single-donor pledge ever made, the United States and several other key donor countries failed to step up. The total pledges of $4 billion fell short of the $5 billion asked of donors.
“In the middle of an unprecedented global education crisis during COVID-19, this shortfall is unconscionable,” said Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund. “When millions of the world’s kids may never return to school due to the pandemic, the Biden administration missed the chance to show new global leadership on education.”
“Fortunately, bipartisan congressional commitment to the Global Partnership for Education remains strong. It is now up to Congress to help ensure the COVID-19 education crisis does not turn into a permanent catastrophe for an entire generation,” Carter said.
The Biden administration’s announcement includes two years of funding committed by Congress during the Trump administration, totaling $225 million. The third year of proposed funding is only $80 million, representing a nearly 40% annual cut.
The final decision on funding sits with Congress. Yesterday, the House of Representatives rejected that same proposal from President Biden to cut funding for GPE, restoring annual funding back to $125 million.
Earlier this year, with the support of RESULTS volunteers and education advocates across the country, 110 members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter to the White House calling for a $1 billion pledge over five years, and dozens of members of the House and Senate also cosponsored bipartisan resolutions in support of GPE. Congress can still deliver on that $1 billion in funding, regardless of the actions of the Biden administration this week.
GPE estimated that $5 billion from donor countries would enable 90 low-income and conflict-affected countries to get 88 million more children in school and learning over the next five years, building back from the pandemic.
As the only international fund of its kind, GPE has spent nearly two decades helping governments invest in solutions to get all girls and boys in school and learning. Since 2002, 160 million more children have attended school with GPE support. In GPE partner countries, primary enrollment for girls has more than doubled.
“Quality education is the right of every child. Communities around the globe have made huge advances to ensure more children can learn and learn well,” said Carter. “With COVID-19 threatening progress, donors like the U.S. need to follow that lead, fully funding global education so that all children have the keys to a more just, more prosperous, and more equal future.”
RESULTS supports a movement of passionate, committed everyday people using their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty. Volunteers and staff multiply their impact through the enormous power of advocacy.
Our movement of volunteers is backed by a staff of researchers, policy analysts, and legislative and media experts. Our shared goal is the end of poverty. We have affiliates and partners across five continents, and a network of volunteers in all 50 states and worldwide. We’re a non-partisan advocacy group comprised of RESULTS Educational Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and RESULTS, a nonprofit 501(c)4 grassroots lobbying organization.
Colin Puzo Smith
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