We need a Green New Deal for Education

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

On February 7, 2019, barely a month after the swearing-in of the 116th Congress, Senator Edward Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a fourteen-page resolution for a Green New Deal to address climate change, economic inequality, health care and infrastructure. Though widely derided on the right as classic progressive fascination with big government, and on the left for a failure to address underlying causes (or for not going far enough), the intent as well as the name of this resolution have gained a great many supporters. That support is likely to grow through the next election. The Amazon and Alaska are on fire, after all, and neither the environmental crises nor any of the other crises that are stealing our collective sleep are likely to be addressed in any meaningful way until November, 2020. And, if the past is predictive of the future, perhaps not even then.

The Green New Deal mentions education, but only in the most general of terms with regards to “providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States.” But there is so much more that needs to be said. If we still hope to end to the destruction of our planet and recapture our flailing democracy, it will have to start in our schools as well as our government.

So, with a prayer and a dash of improbable optimism, I hereby submit some bullet points for the education piece of the Green New Deal:

  • Schools will have science and civics instruction every day.

  • Schools will be models of the democracy we wish to teach.

  • Teachers will have a voice in all decision-making. There will be a boom in Teacher-powered schools.

  • All important educational decisions will be made as close to the students being served as possible, as is being done now at so many of our independent charter schools.

  • We will move beyond our present test-score obsession towards performance assessments and other means of measuring success that are aligned with our values.

  • Spending on education will go up; spending on defense will go down. No teacher in any state will need a second job.

  • The insane war between charter school advocates and foes will come to an end; hatchets will be buried. The charter and district-school worlds will both work to rid themselves of profiteers.

You may think that I’m a dreamer, but I’ll bet that everyone reading this has a bullet point of their own, too.

Please send us your bullet points.

Better yet, bring your bullet points with you when you come to Albuquerque in November for #ICSS19.

Keep on keepin’ on.

Steve Zimmerman


© 2020 Coalition of Public Independent Charter Schools

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