Saturday, August 11, 2012

Take Action! Ask Your Rep. to Cosponsor the Education for All Act

There is no single development intervention that can so radically and comprehensively change the trajectory of a child’s life — and future generations — as education.[1] But children, especially, girls aren’t getting to school and learning. While the U.S. has provided important global leadership to help open classroom doors for children around the world, there are still 67 million primary school-aged children not in school, the majority of whom are girls. The world has made steady progress towards universal education since 2000, but unless more effective policies are implemented and there is greater international support, 72 million children may still be out of school by 2015 — more than in 2008. Millions more will receive a low-quality education and not be able to read, write, and count.

RESULTS activists around the country are asking their representatives to cosponsor the bipartisan Education for All Act, which was introduced by Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and David Reichert (R-WA). The bill calls on the U.S. to improve its global education policies to ensure all children receive a quality basic education and to support a Global Partnership for Education to achieve this goal. Call and write your representative to cosponsor the Education for All Act of 2011.

Take Action! Write to Your Representatives about the Education For All Act

1.     Introduce yourself as a RESULTS volunteer and a constituent. Acknowledge any actions that your member has already taken to support our work or other actions on poverty and thank him/her.
2.     Inform your representative or aide that the Education for All Act (H.R. 2705) was introduced last year and is still open for cosponsors. .
3.     Sample Letter / Call Script: I’m a constituent writing/calling to ask Representative____ to cosponsor the Education for All Act, which is H.R. 2705. I’m very concerned that there are still 67 million kids still not in school. The majority are girls and the poorest kids. And if something doesn’t change, more kids will be out of school in 2015 than in 2008. All kids deserve the right to an education. Education strengthens families, communities, and countries by reducing poverty, increasing incomes, fighting HIV/AIDS, saving the lives of mothers; the list goes on and on. The bipartisan Education for All Act by Reps. Lowey and Reichert seeks to improve U.S. policies so we can provide more robust support for powerful education initiatives like the Global Partnership for Education and more effectively get kids into school. Will you cosponsor this bipartisan Education for All Act?
4.     Request a reply and include all of your contact information.  If writing, please e-mail or send your letter to the local office. For office information:
Why Education Matters: Maternal Survival and Child Health
A child born to an educated mother is more than twice as likely to survive to the age of five. Educated mothers are 50 percent more likely to immunize their children than mothers with no schooling. Women with six or more years of education are more likely to seek prenatal care, assisted childbirth, and postnatal care.
Why Education Matters: HIV/AIDS
Education is known as a “social vaccine” against HIV/AIDS. Infection rates are halved among young people who finish primary school. If all kids received a complete primary education, at least 7 million new cases of HIV could be prevented in a decade.[2] One study showed that rural Ugandans with secondary education have a 75 percent lower rate of infection than the uneducated, and another found that AIDS spread twice as fast among uneducated as educated Zambian girls.[3]
Why Education Matters: Gender Equality
Particularly for women and girls, the economic and personal empowerment that education provides allows them to make healthier choices for themselves and their families. Benefits of girls’ education include not only the reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS, but reduction of poverty, improvement of the health of women and their children, delay of marriage, reduction of female genital cutting, and increase in self-confidence and decision-making power. [4] On average, for a girl in a poor country, each additional year of education beyond grades three or four will lead to 20 percent higher wages and a 10 percent decrease in the risk of her own children dying of preventable causes. [5]
Why Education Matters: Stability and Economic Development
Education is a prerequisite for short and long-term economic growth: No country has achieved continuous and rapid economic growth without at least 40 percent of adults being able to read and write.[6] Failing to offer girls the same education as boys costs developing countries $92 billion each year, according to a study by Plan International. That's $1 trillion per decade in forgone earnings and unnecessary costs. [7] A person’s earnings increase by 10 percent for each year of schooling, translating to a one percent annual GDP increase quality education is offered to all.[8]
Why Education Matters: Hunger and Food Security
Gains in women’s education made the most significant difference in reducing malnutrition, out-performing a simple increase in the availability of food. A 63-country study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that more productive farming as a result of female education accounted for 43 percent of the decline in malnutrition achieved between 1970 and 1995. Crop yields in Kenya could rise up to 22 percent if women farmers had the same education and inputs (such as fertilizer, credit, investment) as men farmers.[9]
Why Education Matters: Security and Democracy
People of voting age with a primary education are 1.5 times more likely to support democracy than people with no education.[10] Countries with higher primary schooling and a smaller gap between rates of boys’ and girls’ schooling tend to enjoy greater democracy, and democratic political institutions (such as power-sharing and clean elections) are more likely to exist in countries with higher literacy rates and education levels.[11] Every year of schooling decreases a male’s chance of engaging in violent conflict by 20 percent.[12]
Why Education Matters: For Children
In 2002, Jean Pierre Nzamurambaho dropped out of school in the middle of his third year of primary school in Rwanda when he was 12 years old. “I decided to drop out because I was tired of being sent home because we couldn’t pay school fees. I spent two years doing domestic jobs, but I could not see any future for myself.” In 2004 the government abolished primary school fees. Jean Pierre was able to return to school and now wants to become a teacher. 13 year old Seraphine is similar: “Nowadays, teachers are no longer sending us back home [because of school fees or uniform], and even if I don’t put on uniform, I come and study freely.” Seraphine wants to become a nurse in the local health clinic.

Why Support the Education for All Act?

The Education for All Act of 2011 calls on the U.S. to support multilateral global education initiatives like the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), formerly the Fast Track Initiative (FTI). The GPE had its first-ever replenishment conference last fall, and it is the only multilateral global partnership focused on ensuring all children have access to a quality education. For example, in 2009, over 82 million children were enrolled in school in GPE developing country partners compared to only 63 million in 2002. The Global Partnership has put 19 million children into school.[13] Moreover, the Education for All Act seeks to ensure the U.S. provides the leadership to ensure a successful international effort to provide all children with a quality basic education. It calls for improved policies to expand access to school; improve education quality; reach marginalized and vulnerable children, including those affected by conflict and humanitarian crises; and mandates a new U.S. Education for All strategy be created, coordinated, and implemented. Increased cosponsorship of the Education for All Act means more members of the House will be aware of the power of education, the potential of the GPE, and how critical it is to be a lead supporter of education for all.

[2] “Learning to Survive: How education for all would save millions of young people from HIV/AIDS.” Global Campaign for Education.
(London: GCE, 2004).
[3] What Works in Girls’ Education.
[4] UNFPA. Women and HIV/AIDS: Confronting the Crisis. Available at:
[5]What Works in Girls’ Education.” Barbara Herz and Gene B. Sperling, Senior Fellow for Economic Policy and Director of the Center for Universal Education, April 2004.
[6] “Millions Miss Out.” Global Campaign for Education.
[7] “Paying the Price: The Economic Cost of Failing to Educate Girls.” Plan International. (Plan International, 2008).
[8] “Education on the Brink: Will the IMF’s new lease on life ease or block progress towards education goals?” Global Campaign for Education. 2009.
[9] UNFPA, UN Population Fund, State of World Population 2005: The Promise of Equality. UNFPA, New York, 2005, p. 47
[10] UNESCO,  Education for ALl Global Monitoring Report 2009
[11] World Bank. Education and Development.
[13]Global Partnership for Education. April 2012.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A moving op-ed was printed in the Saturday 08/04/2012 edition of the Austin American Statesman, titled, "U.S. dollars crucial to ending preventable childhood deaths".  It took two months of hard work by my RESULTS colleague, Eloise Sutherland, to get this printed in the paper.