The proposal aims to spend $250 billion over 10 years to retrofit schools, remediating lead and asbestos, equipping facilities with solar panels and batteries, and increasing energy efficiency and air circulation. Once those upgrades are complete, it would slash emissions of planet-heating carbon dioxide by at least 29 million tons per year, the equivalent of taking 6 million cars off the road. The work would also create demand for more than 100,000 construction and maintenance jobs, split roughly in half between red and blue states.
Another $250 billion spent over that same decade would fund the creation of 336,000 new jobs in schools, adding nearly 10 new teachers, nurses, social workers and other staffers to about 33,000 schools.
And the plan calls for quadrupling funding for Title I programs, which aid students and districts in higher-poverty areas, from $14 billion to $60 billion, while increasing the budget for the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act for students with disabilities from $13 billion to $33 billion. Those increases would amount to roughly $66 billion per year in new spending.
“Ultimately, no one will understand the Green New Deal through the volume of carbon molecules in the atmosphere or the source of the electrons in their circuit,” said Billy Fleming, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s McHarg Center and another co-founder. “But there is a real opportunity to translate the demands of the climate justice movement into transformative investments in the built environment ― the public schools, housing, transportation systems and infrastructures that stitch together everyday life.”
But there are partisan constraints. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is saying he won’t move forward on the next round of legislation without more Republican buy-in than there was for this stimulus bill. What, if anything, in this plan do you see potentially appealing to your Republican colleagues?
How would this help level the disparities between schools and between different regions? How, for example, would a plan like this benefit territories as well as states and bring help to places like Puerto Rico, which has seen hundreds of schools shut down?
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