Rep. Jamaal Bowman Unveils Legislation that Targets Climate Change in K-12 Schools
Last week, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) introduced the Green New Deal for Public Schools Act, a piece of legislation that calls for unprecedented investments in public school infrastructure in order to combat the effects of climate change. The bill creates an Office of Sustainable Schools within the U.S. Department of Education and aims to invest $1.43 trillion over 10 years into K-12 schools, targeting those with the highest need. Funding will upgrade the physical infrastructure of every school across the nation and expand staffing capabilities, social service programming, and curriculum development.
The bill is an effort to address the intersecting crises of climate change, systemic racism, and economic inequality as they pertain to the most disadvantaged and marginalized students. To this end, the bill quadruples Title I funding, reaching $66 billion annually to support students living in poverty, and increases IDEA Part B funds to $33 billion annually to support students with disabilities.
Included in the proposed resource is $250 billion in Resource Block Grants, a commitment to diversifying and strengthening the educator pipeline, and a dedication to increasing community involvement that will incentivize locally driven educational development. In addition to retrofitting public school infrastructure to make it more safe and sustainable, the bill is also projected to fund 1.3 million jobs per year and eliminate 78 million metric tons of CO2 annually, which is the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road.