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AFT Helps Kick Off Global Action Week for Education

The Global Campaign for Education kicked off its Global Action Week with an event on April 21 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., featuring Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. AFT vice president Francine Lawrence, who is president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, also spoke at the event.

"The American Federation of Teachers is proud to be a longtime supporter of the Global Campaign for Education," Lawrence said. "It is appropriate that this year's theme-The Big Read-focuses on literacy. Reading is the foundation for all learning. Without a solid grasp of reading, students can't do word problems in math, can't read the directions for science experiments, and ultimately can't succeed in school or in life.

"Healthy economies and vibrant democracies require strong educational systems. We can't allow the current global economic downturn to reverse or slow efforts to ensure that all children around the world have universal and free access to high-quality education. Today's students-in the United States and abroad-must to be able to compete in the global marketplace."

U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), shown at right with Francine Lawrence, also spoke at the event, noting that "helping nations around the world educate their children sows the seeds for economic opportunity abroad and diminishes the risks of violence and instability. It also demonstrates the goodwill of the American people."

Two students who are active in promoting global education efforts (shown at left with the Queen) participated, as well. Jessica Markowitz, 13, is an 8th grader from Seattle who has raised $30,000 for global education efforts. Devli, an 11-year-old Indian global education activist and former child laborer, told of how she and her family escaped a life of forced labor and how going to school has changed her life. She has since helped 15 other children in her village attend school.

More information about the Global Campaign for Education is available online. Among other things, the site includes an online petition asking President Obama to ensure that all children have the basic right to learn and establish a $2 billion Global Fund for Education.

April 21, 2009