Vi­tal for sta­ble world

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

As chil­dren in North­west Arkansas get ready for school, I’m dis­tressed to know a stag­ger­ing 263 mil­lion chil­dren around the world are not. They have no schools.

A re­tired Root El­e­men­tary li­brar­ian and grand­mother of eight, I know first­hand the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion. I am com­mit­ted to a world where ev­ery per­son has an equal chance for a safe, healthy and pro­duc­tive life. Al­though my ad­dress is Fayet­teville, I re­al­ize the earth knows no po­lit­i­cal bound­aries. Our fate is un­avoid­ably in­ter­twined with the fate of ev­ery per­son on the planet.

Sup­port­ing global ed­u­ca­tion, be­sides be­ing mo­rally right, en­hances our na­tional se­cu­rity through in­creased global sta­bil­ity. With­out an ed­u­ca­tion, chil­dren are more vul­ner­a­ble to the pull of ex­trem­ist groups, at greater risk of con­tract­ing deadly dis­eases, and more likely tar­gets for forced la­bor, traf­fick­ing, and child mar­riage. Each year of school­ing for males re­duces their risk of be­com­ing in­volved in con­flict by 20 per­cent. Amaz­ing.

The Global Part­ner­ship for Ed­u­ca­tion re­cently launched a new plan to sup­port ac­cess to ef­fec­tive ed­u­ca­tion in 89 de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. But it can’t do it alone—donors and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries must con­trib­ute.

Un­for­tu­nately, the White House has pro­posed slash­ing U.S. in­vest­ments in the fight against global poverty, in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tion. These is­sues have strong bi­par­ti­san sup­port in Congress, and I hope we can count on Sen. Tom Cot­ton, Sen. John Booz­man, and Rep. Steve Wo­mack to help make sure the U.S. con­tin­ues to show strong lead­er­ship through sup­port of the Global Part­ner­ship for Ed­u­ca­tion. JAN M. VANSCHUYVER


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