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Thursday, November 30, 2023

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As climate change conference opens, one CA city takes action; Israel and Hamas extend Gaza truce by one day in a last-minute deal; WV could lose hundreds of millions in Medicaid funding.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Storm Energizes Backers of CA Bill on Climate-Resilient Schools

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Tuesday, August 22, 2023   

As the waters recede from the biggest storm to hit southern California in decades, lawmakers in Sacramento are considering a bill Wednesday to make schools more resilient. Senate Bill 394 would require the California Energy Commission to create a statewide plan to help school districts integrate climate resilience and sustainability into their master plans.

Andra Yeghoian, chief innovation officer at the nonprofit TenStrands, which supports the bill.

"The moment of urgency is now," Yeghoian said. "The current students that are in our schools are not even protected, let alone future generations of students. And so, this bill is absolutely critical to minimize disruption to schools, so our kids can actually learn."

The bill has already passed the California Senate and has a hearing on Wednesday in the State Assembly Appropriations Committee. In recent years, California has become increasingly vulnerable to extreme heat, wildfires and flooding rains. Advocates would like to see school districts get better air filtration and air conditioning systems, and plant more trees in schoolyards to provide shade and help clean the air.

Jeff Freitas, California Federation of Teachers President, said climate resiliency in schools is also a matter of environmental justice.

"Research has shown that an estimated 5% of the existing gap in standardized test scores between Black and Hispanic students and their white counterparts can be attributed to heat exposure, and not having an environment to keep them safe and cool when we do have heat waves," Freitas said.

Advocates are also calling on school districts to become carbon neutral, shift to 'zero waste' policies, and conserve water.

Disclosure: California Federation of Teachers contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Early Childhood Education, Education, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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