Bhavia Wagner wrote a wonderful column (Gazette-Times, March 3) on the power of education to end poverty in Cambodia.

Around the world over 100 million primary school-aged children were denied access to education in 1999. Today we’ve made significant progress — the number has dropped to 59 million out of school. But recent progress has stagnated. Can you imagine growing to adulthood unable to read or write? How can we create a safe world with so many children growing up in that situation? 

In partnership with dozens of other nations, the United States has been a leader in attacking barriers to basic education. In January the House passed the bipartisan READ Act, Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development, H.R. 601. It will strengthen the accountability and transparency of U.S. global basic education programs to ensure our investments are having the greatest impact and are advancing quality education for girls and children affected by conflict or emergencies. It’s a win-win for everyone!

A letter to the White House and Congress signed by 120 retired generals stated that funding these programs is critical to keeping the United States safe. Education reduces poverty and promotes peace. Call your senators and ask them to pass the READ Act in the Senate, and call Rep. Peter DeFazio insisting on continued, robust U.S. leadership and support. Find more at RESULTS.org, and contact the Corvallis RESULTS chapter there too.

Peter Stoel

Corvallis (March 22)

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