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Jamaal Bowman Speaking in a microphone at a rally

GREEn nEW DEAL FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS

THE GREEN NEW DEAL FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Jamaal Bowman’s Green New Deal for Public Schools is a transformative and unprecedented investment that puts young people at the center of our national response to the crises of climate change.

FREE PRE-K AND UNIVERSAL CHILDCARE

Childcare is the highest household expense for families in much of the United States. And the median annual pay of childcare is less than $26,000, leading to high turnover and reliance on public assistance.

As a father and a teacher, Jamaal knows firsthand that all families need and deserve quality, affordable child care regardless of where they live or their income. That is why universal childcare is part of his Care for All Agenda [link to Inequality issue page] and why he has led the charge nationally to include universal child care and free pre-K in infrastructure legislation.

Upgrade Every Public School

We must ensure every student is learning in a school where they can drink clean water, breathe clean air and be free from mold and broken windows. An unprecedented investment of $1.4 trillion over ten years in our K-12 public schools will build the carbon-free, climate-resilient schools of tomorrow. Every single public school building in America will have the resources for green retrofits to remove toxic mold and asbestos, provide full accessibility for students with disabilities and build new renewable energy and energy efficient upgrades. Schools across the nation will become resiliency centers for their communities as they break ground on new resiliency investments, from EV bus charging stations to garden and tree planting.

Create Over 1 Million New Jobs

At its core, the Green New Deal for Public Schools is a jobs program, creating over 1.3 million good-paying jobs every year. According to estimates by the Climate + Community Project, green retrofitting projects will generate 935,000 jobs, including 270,000 on-site union construction and maintenance jobs. In addition, new grants will support over 339,000 education jobs each year while simultaneously diversifying the pipeline of educators trained in trauma-informed teaching. 

Address Historical Harms and Inequities

This investment in our public schools is urgent and necessary to heal the harms caused by decades of disinvestment, redlining, poverty and trauma, particularly for Black and brown communities. The effort to upgrade every school will begin with the highest-need districts and new block grants give high-need schools the resources to hire more staff, expand social services and invest in curriculum development. In addition, it will quadruple Title I funding for schools and districts with students living in poverty.

Eliminate 78 Million Tons of CO2 

The investments in our schools will have a global impact, eliminating 78 million tons of metric carbon dioxide emissions per year—the equivalent of removing 17 million cars off the road. Schools across the country will eliminate carbon emissions by powering their buildings with new green energy procurements, on-site renewable energy, energy efficiency upgrades and electrification projects.

Build the Climate and Labor Movements

Transformational change must come from the grassroots. The Green New Deal for Public Schools was built in concert with, and will rely on, a coalition of America’s resurgent climate and labor movements. More than just a bill in Congress, the Green New Deal for Public Schools gives activists and advocates a rally point and a new opportunity to build an intergenerational movement. From leading unions like the American Federation of Teachers and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York to climate action groups, including Sunrise Movement, Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA and 350.org, this vital legislation is powered by advocates across the country.

Cancel Student Debt and Make Public Colleges Tuition-Free

For working families in New York, higher education must be a path to prosperity, not a path down into debt. The promise of a good job relies on a good education that does not end the day after high school graduation. It is a moral and economic necessity to guarantee an affordable higher education, and it’s well within our ability to achieve this goal. 

We must cancel all student loan debt. A universal, across-the-board cancellation will drive economic growth and provide an entire generation with the ability to escape suffocating debt to begin building wealth. This can be largely funded through raising taxes on Wall Street and a wealth tax.

We must make public colleges, universities and vocational programs tuition-free. In addition, we must provide grants to students to help cover living expenses. This can also be largely funded through raising taxes on Wall Street and a wealth tax. 

 

We must support HBCUs. Free college and canceling student debt would bring us closer to achieving racial and economic justice, cutting racial wealth gap for young Black Americans by more than 50%: from 12 to 1 to 5 to 1. In coordination with this plan, we must simultaneously make historic multi-billion dollar federal investments in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).  

 

We must ensure justice in higher education. This means banning for-profit colleges, which use predatory practices to impoverish students. It also means passing the PRO Act to support labor organizing on campuses for adjunct faculty and staff in higher education. And it means reinstating Pell Grants for incarcerated students to achieve universal higher education in prisons.

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