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Democratic lawmakers push Green New Deal for Public Schools that has a $1.43 trillion price tag over 10 years

Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York and other Democratic lawmakers are pushing a plan that includes a $1.43 trillion dollar price tag over the span of a decade.

Dubbed the Green New Deal for Public Schools, the proposal calls for spending on issues such as infrastructure, staffing increases and more.

“The ambitious new legislation — which aims to invest $1.43 trillion over 10 years in public schools and infrastructure to combat climate change — would make a transformative and unprecedented investment in public school infrastructure by upgrading every public school building in the country, addressing historical harms and inequities by focusing support on high-need schools, and hiring and training hundreds of thousands of additional educators and support staff,” according to a news release.

A signifiant chunk of the proposed funding would go toward allocating “$695 billion over 10 years for Title I and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) increases.”

The plan proposes allotting a quarter trillion dollars toward Resource Block Grants.

“Resource Block Grants will fund staffing increases, expanded social service programming, and curriculum development at high-need schools. The program will allow Local Educational Agencies across the country to hire and train hundreds of thousands of additional educators and support staff, including paraprofessionals, school psychologists and counselors, and learning specialists,” according to the news release.

“The funds may also be used to design locally-rooted curricula; adopt trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and restorative justice practices, to move towards a ‘whole child’ approach to public education; and partner with community organizations to offer a range of services to schools and surrounding neighborhoods, such as after-school programs,” the release said.

The legislation has more than a dozen original co-sponsors, including Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. All of the original co-sponsors are Democrats.

Some of the groups endorsing the plan include Democratic Socialists of America, American Federation of Teachers, Progressive Democrats of America, and Justice Democrats.

“The Green New Deal for Public Schools represents the level of school infrastructure investment that is urgent and necessary to heal the harm from decades of disinvestment, redlining and cycles of poverty and trauma, particularly for Black and brown children,” Bowman said.

“What this comes down to is whether we’re willing to provide our kids with the resources they need to realize their brilliance and have a livable planet. Do we want to continue building a world based on militarization, incarceration, poverty, and destruction of resources? Or will we take advantage of this moment, put our kids and educators first, and treat the climate crisis as the emergency it is? This legislation is what we need to put us on the right side of history,” he said.

In addition to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, the other original co-sponsors listed in the release include Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-Calif.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.).

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