FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 20, 2022

House Passes Bipartisan, Bicameral Bass Legislation to Advance Quality Basic Education Around the World


WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan and bicameral H.R. 7240, the READ Act Reauthorization Act of 2022, introduced by House Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee Chair Karen Bass (D-CA) and Ranking Member Chris Smith (R-NJ). This legislation reauthorizes the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act of 2017 for an additional five years to equitably expand access to basic education for children around the globe. It was part of an en bloc package of eleven suspension bills that was agreed to 361-69. Here is Rep. Bass’s statement from yesterday in support of House passage:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 7240, the READ Act Reauthorization Act of 2022. This bipartisan bill, I authored with Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Chris Smith, is a straightforward reauthorization of the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act of 2017, which was signed into law in the 115th Congress.

“The original READ Act required a five-year Comprehensive Strategy to equitably expand access to basic education for children around the globe and measurably improve the quality of basic education and learning outcomes in literacy, numeracy, and other basic skills that prepare an individual to be an active, productive member of society and the workforce.

“The READ Act Reauthorization Act, which passed the Committee on Foreign Affairs by voice vote, would extend the original authorization by an additional five years. I have also worked closely with the authors of the original READ Act, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Senator Marco Rubio, who have introduced companion legislation in the Senate as S. 3938.

“As implemented in the READ Act, it is the policy of the United States Government 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.

“Since the READ Act’s implementation, we have begun to see significant progress in building the foundational skills necessary for students to thrive and succeed in their educational endeavors. For example, in FY 2021 alone, U.S. basic education programs reached more than 33.4 million pre-primary, primary, and secondary students in 73 countries and more than one million additional individuals with tertiary, vocational, and other workforce training.

“The READ Act also required the President to submit a comprehensive integrated United States strategy to promote basic education. The U.S. Government Strategy on International Basic Education for Fiscal Years 2016 – 2023 emerged from this effort and was designed to promote basic education in partner countries for all children, particularly children from vulnerable groups, including women and children, and measurably improve the quality of basic education and the achievement of key learning outcomes. The strategy has been carried out by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through a Senior Coordinator of International Basic Education, since 2017.

“Since the launch of the USG Strategy on International Basic Education in 2018, agencies and departments have: Created harmonized indicators and streamlined yearly reporting to Congress; Launched the first international basic education website that includes information across all U.S. agencies involved in supporting basic education worldwide; And has increased coordination among U.S. federal agencies and departments by establishing a process for sharing research, tools, and resources to better leverage taxpayer dollars.

“Although the READ Act has seen initial success, our partners at USAID and other Federal agencies require time to update the current Strategy and adapt it to new and emerging issues in global education, such as the COVID-19 pandemic which closed schools and resulted in learning loss around the world.

“USAID has already begun consulting implementing partners and think tanks at the working and local levels to update the Strategy, and they plan to have a full rollout by September. This update will focus on equitable learning outcomes and joint reporting on global learning poverty from COVID-19 among other issues.

“Mr. Speaker, this legislation has received bipartisan and bicameral support, backing from USAID (which implements the Strategy) as well as endorsements from 38 international education organizations. I ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in passing this important reauthorization measure.”

The READ Act Reauthorization Act now awaits consideration by the U.S. Senate.