Promoting quality education for all.

September 14, 2010

Coalition says investing in quality basic education key to achieving all Millennium Development Goals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of next week’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit, members of the Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US) sent President Barack Obama a letter today calling on him to commit to a Global Fund for Education as part of his plan for the MDGs.


Coalition members including the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, RESULTS/RESULTS Education Fund, Global AIDS Alliance, Global Action for Children, National Peace Corps Association, School Girls Unite, Connect to Learn and the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society called on the president to announce his support for a Global Fund for Education—or new multilateral education initiative—at the upcoming United Nations Millennium Development Summit in New York.

From September 20-22 world leaders will gather at the MDG Summit to measure progress toward achievement of the MDGs, a set of eight internationally-agreed upon goals designed to halve poverty by 2015.

“An innovative approach to U.S. basic education funding through a multilateral education initiative is one of the most effective ways to ensure success on all eight goals and improve the lives of generations to come,” the letter states.

Today, more than 72 million children around the world are denied access to quality basic education – more than half of whom are girls. Worldwide, the education funding gap is estimated at $16 billion annually. In 2008, then-Senator Obama pledged to commit $2 billion to a Global Fund for Education. In 2009, the president pledged to come to the MDG summit with a plan for each of the MDGs, including MDG#2 – Achieving Universal Primary Education.

“Research shows that investing in education has a lasting impact on health, gender equity, hunger, nutrition, security, and climate change,” the letter goes on to state. “High rates of primary education are correlated with low rates of food insecurity. A significant factor in reducing child malnutrition has been the education of women. If every child received a quality, basic education, more than 700,000 cases of HIV could be prevented each year.”

Support for a Global Fund for Education is growing around the country. In April, Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Dave Reichert (R-WA) introduced the Education for All Act of 2010, which would help achieve universal basic education by 2015 and would facilitate US support for a Global Fund for Education.

GCE-US sent a letter to the president in June, signed by more than 40 community leaders, education advocates, and members of Congress, calling on him to bolster US leadership on universal education. The letter also urged the president to show support for a new multilateral global education initiative.

In addition, more than 15 million people around the world have signed up to support the Global Campaign for Education’s “1GOAL: Education for All” public awareness campaign, which was also the official theme of the 2010 World Cup.

 

***Below is text of the letter, click here for a PDF version of the letter***

 

September 14, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

In September, heads of state will gather in New York to provide the world with a progress report on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the global effort to halve poverty by 2015. Last year, at the U.N., you pledged to return with a plan to achieve the MDGs. Your plan, Mr. President, will define the United States’ role in combating the worst effects of poverty before 2015.
 
We are concerned to see that the MDG strategy released in late July did not place a commitment to education at the same level as maternal and child health and food security.  We are writing to urge you to ensure that achieving universal basic education is a key component of a global development strategy and the final MDG strategy unveiled at the summit. 

We agree that leveraging innovation should be a focus of the U.S. MDG strategy, which is why we are calling for U.S. commitment to a Global Fund for Education. An innovative approach to U.S basic education funding through a multilateral education initiative is one of the most effective ways to ensure the success of all eight goals and improve the lives of generations to come. 

As you are aware, research shows that investing in education has a lasting impact on health, gender equity, hunger, nutrition, security and climate change.  High rates of primary education are correlated with lower rates of food insecurity. A significant factor in reducing child malnutrition has been the education of women.  If every child received a quality, basic education, more than 700,000 cases of HIV could be prevented each year. 
 
As a candidate in 2008, you pledged to ensure U.S. support of a Global Fund for Education. Your words galvanized education advocates around the world. Without a concerted effort by the U.S. and its allies hard-fought progress in basic education will be lost.
 
We urge you to make education a key component of a global development strategy, which would include U.S. support of a Global Fund for Education and encourage you to announce that plan at the MDG Summit in September. The ability to achieve the MDGs and sustain success depends, in large part, on whether or not we invest in quality basic education for our world’s children.  

Sincerely,

Joanna Kuebler
Director, Global Campaign for Education, U.S. (GCE-US)
AND THE UNDERSIGNED in alphabetical order:
                             
American Federation of Teachers                 
Connect To Learn                           
Global AIDS Alliance
Global Action for Children              
National Education Association                
National Peace Corps Association
RESULTS Education Fund                                 
School Girls Unite                  
United Methodist Church, General board of Church and Society