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MPS School Board directors propose Climate and Economic Equity resolution

climate resolution
Posted at 4:55 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 18:35:28-04

MILWAUKEE  — Green industries are growing faster than the overall economy, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) School Board President Robert Peterson and Director Marva Herndon have proposed the Climate and Economic Equity resolution which would help make sure students are prepared for future "green" jobs as well as cut district carbon emissions by 45% by 2030.

Citizen Action Wisconsin is part of the proposed resolution which will be discussed during the board's meeting on Thursday.

"It's a way for students at MPS to actually see all the new rising green economy jobs which can be the new industrial jobs, the new family-supporting jobs of the future," said Citizen Action Wisconsin Executive Director Robert Kraig.

The goal is to make outdoor classrooms, where students can explore the natural world, and climate justice curriculum as commonplace as hopscotch at elementary schools and football fields at high schools. If passed, the resolution would also hire a teacher to coordinate a climate justice team to help implement the curriculum across the district.

Irva Corbett, a member of Citizen Action Wisconsin and a former MPS educator, stressed that in order for this to be effective, it also needs to be funded properly.

"In my experience, in order for a program and a project to be taken seriously and be sustained, it must become a line item in the budget. It is only when dollars are secured that real change can occur," Corbett said.

The board, which serves a district that is 90% students of color, also hopes to address a workforce disparity in clean energy jobs.

"Climate justice acknowledges that climate change can have social, economic, public health and other adverse impacts on underprivileged populations," said School Board Director Marva Herndon. "MPS wants to be an integral part in working towards climate justice to improve racial equity."

According to e2.org, Black workers make up just 8% of the clean energy labor force compared to 13% of the total workforce. Women hold 27% of clean energy jobs compared to 48% of all jobs.

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