Reporting on the presidential race, I’ve focused a lot on the major issues - No Child Left Behind, merit pay, school choice - but the next president will have a significant say in some other issues, such as whether the federal government should help school districts invest in environmentally friendly, or “green,” schools.
This past Wednesday, the House Education and Labor Committee passed a bill - on a more or less party-line vote - that would authorize about $6.4 billion a year to help districts construct “green schools.” Republicans argued that financing school construction is a local responsibility and that Congress has too many unmet obligations in education already, such as funding for students in special education.
Even if the legislation makes it out of Congress this year, there’s virtually no chance President Bush will approve any funding - he vetoed one of last year’s education spending bills because in his view it contained too much money.
So, if a federal Green Schools program is going to happen, it’ll need the support of the next administration. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., is for it. She’s got something about green schools on her Web site. I called the McCain and Obama campaigns yesterday to find out their positions. I’ll update when I hear back. Maybe someone out there in the readership has heard one or the other mention the issue on the campaign trail?