As I prepared to bring my children safely to school Monday morning, I heard the headline news health update on 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai, the brave Pakistani girl who stood up to the Taliban for her right to attend school, yet was shot and seriously wounded the previous week. Although I am greatly involved in the education of my own children and value education in Snohomish County, I am astutely aware that for 61 million children around the globe, simply accessing school is impossible.
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. Without universal access to quality education for these children, the health, economy, and security of whole countries are at risk.
The world has set a goal of getting all primary school-aged kids into school by 2015, but we are not on track to achieve this.
Fortunately, Rep. David Reichert helped to introduced the bipartisan Education For All Act of 2011. This bill focuses on educating girls and hard-to-reach populations. It also makes space for the U.S. to invest in the Global Partnership for Education — a multilateral partnership that will leverage U.S. global education funding for greater impact in the most cost-effective way. This bill will help transform the lives of millions of children and entire nations, and will make the U.S. more secure in the process.
Perhaps all of Washington state’s representatives will hear Malala’s story and decide that their action to sign onto the Education for All Act will be a step in the direction of peace. No need to question whether this is a smart political move; it is the right thing to do.