Saturday, June 13, 2009

Education is Basic Right for All Children

Printed in the Morton Grove Champion, June 11 2009
Education is Basic Right for All Children

School’s out for summer vacation and some of us parents are wondering what to do with kids at home all day. For many families, lack of school means squabbling siblings and child-care hassles until camp starts. But what would it mean if there were no school – ever? That’s the reality for the families of over 75 million children around the world without access to basic primary education.

As the economic crisis continues, children in extreme poverty continue to be its biggest victims as they are forced to leave school to work, care for siblings, join armies, or even be sold into slavery. Yet education is the single, most effective intervention to help them lead productive, healthy, and safe lives. Without decisive leadership to achieve Education for All, these kids will remain trapped in poverty without education. Progress made since 2000 to increase school enrollment could be reversed.

While campaigning, President Obama pledged $2 billion toward a Global Fund for Education. By eliminating school fees, improving teacher quality, and providing textbooks and other incentives to keep kids in school, the U.S. can literally change the future of an entire generation at risk. For that, $2 billion is a bargain. Plus, we would get the added value of international goodwill and make children less easy prey for extremist regimes.

Increasing the U.S. global education contribution to our fair share can greatly accelerate progress toward universal primary education for all children by 2015. Despite the dismal economy, there are countries ready and waiting for American leadership in creating a multilateral Global Fund for Education. A Global Fund would harmonize donor contributions to ensure quick and effective disbursement of educational aid. Work is being done to reform and expand existing mechanisms, but for efforts to be ambitious, the U.S. must boost the capacity of the international community. The world is waiting for us.

Our country isn’t so self-absorbed that we disregard the need for education in the world’s poorest communities. Americans care. President Obama cares. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, long-time champion of basic education rights, cares. A minivan mom like me cares. We need congressional appropriators like Representative Mark Kirk (R-10th) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to care enough to appropriate the $2 billion and support a new Global Fund. Because no child should be on a permanent vacation from school.


John Kerry to introduce foreign aid reform in Senate

Somehow I missed this. This was sent out by Bread for the World's president David Beckmann on May 22.

Exciting developments for foreign aid reform have happened in Washington, DC, this week—largely because of the persistent advocacy of Bread for the World’s grassroots network. Officials are starting to take notice. Yesterday, Senator John Kerry made an important speech calling for the comprehensive reform of foreign aid. He announced his plans to introduce a companion bill to the House’s Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 2139) in the Senate. The Obama administration has begun to weigh in on the issue as well.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Senate Praises Bread for the World's Advocacy Work

Usually, advocacy organizations are recognizing members of Congress for their work. Last week, it was the other way around! Thank you, Senator Durbin!

"Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced a resolution recognizing Bread for the World’s 35 years of work on hunger and poverty. Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) were original cosponsors of the resolution. S. Res. 157 passed the Senate by unanimous consent on June 2."