By Liza Featherstone, Jacobin

Global warming is here, wreaking havoc and terror, and even as children return to school under uncertain pandemic conditions, our public school system — especially in working-class neighborhoods — is, like so much of American infrastructure, a disgraceful wreckage. Schools are understaffed. Buildings are poorly ventilated, with windows that don’t easily open, and science labs and bathrooms in varying states of disrepair. A new socialist congressman has proposed addressing these problems with a Green New Deal for Public Schools. With a dynamic national organizing campaign, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has been pushing to make it happen.

This summer, as wildfires and hurricanes ravaged the country, newly elected New York congressman Jamaal Bowman, who was endorsed by DSA and represents Yonkers, parts of the Bronx, and southern Westchester County, introduced the legislation, which would invest $1.43 trillion over ten years in public schools, to upgrade them for energy efficiency and health, and to hire and train hundreds of thousands of new staff (education jobs are green jobs; they don’t require fossil fuels or emit greenhouse gases). (Bowman, a former middle school principal, was well-known as an education justice activist long before he ran for office and was interviewed by Jacobin during his campaign.)

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