Save the Children Hails Global Education Legislation

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WESTPORT, Conn. (July 29, 2011) — Save the Children commended new legislation introduced today that would help reduce the number of out-of-school children, predominantly in war-torn countries, and would boost early learning opportunities for young children in developing countries.

The House bill, called the Education for All Act of 2011, was introduced by Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Dave Reichert (R-WA).

“Some 67 million children across the globe are missing out on school today, and nearly half of these children live in areas of conflict,” said Dan Stoner, Associate Vice President of Education and Child Development for Save the Children. “This legislation, if passed, would give these children the chance to learn, grow and rewrite their futures by getting an education.”

But access to education alone is not enough. The bi-partisan Education for All Act calls for U.S. leadership to ensure quality education for the most marginalized and vulnerable children, including girls, children orphaned and affected by AIDS, and children living in countries affected by conflict and natural disasters. The bill promotes education, including early education, as the cornerstone for creating change at the community level, and supports helping developing countries build capacity to create and implement their own quality education programs.

If passed, this legislation would help millions more children in developing countries realize their dreams of getting an education, starting in their early years, and create a positive ripple effect on families, communities and nations overall.

“We applaud Representatives Lowey and Reichert for including a focus on early education in the bill,” said Stoner. “In the first six years of life, education has a major impact on the development of young children’s brains and bodies.   Save the Children’s experience in more than 30 countries shows that early childhood development not only helps children grow and develop, it also helps prepare children for school and lays the foundation for a lifetime of learning.”

Key provisions of the bill include integrating access to quality education for all children into a comprehensive U.S. global development strategy, submitting an annual progress report to Congress and authorizing funding for education programs where it’s needed most, particularly in conflict-affected countries.

While Save the Children is heartened by the introduction of this bill, the organization is still deeply concerned about the recent cuts to global education funding in the most recent foreign assistance appropriations bill. Released earlier this week, the proposed funding would slash global education by 13 percent, diminishing the chances of countless boys and girls around the world getting a quality education.

“The policies in the Education for All Act are very positive, but only so much can be done without adequate funding,” said Stoner. “U.S. government investments in global education programs are one of the most effective ways to make a positive difference in the lives of children in need. We look forward to working together with Congress to make this bill a reality.”

The Education for All Act of 2011 is supported by many organizations and coalitions, including the Basic Education Coalition and the Global Campaign for Education.

Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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