- The Washington Times - Friday, July 5, 2019

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday released an education plan with an eye toward making America’s schools and bus fleets more energy-efficient while including other Democratic priorities such as universal pre-K, free college for lower-income students and tuition benefits for illegal immigrants.

Mr. Inslee’s education plan works in other elements of his climate change agenda — the central focus of his presidential campaign — including retrofitting and upgrading America’s public schools within 10 years to make sure they’re more energy-efficient.

Mr. Inslee also wants to make sure that all new school buses are “zero-emission buses” within 10 years, and increase investments in K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs, as well as “climate change education.”

“The governor … knows that schools and teachers can be the guardians of our planet,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “We can mitigate the climate crisis through the rebuilding of green buildings and making school buses emissions-free.”

Much of Mr. Inslee’s plan also entails rolling back actions from the Trump administration. He pledged to reverse moves from President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that his campaign said foster discrimination and protect for-profit institutions.

“Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have deliberately targeted our public schools — cutting funding, arming teachers, and enabling discrimination,” he said. “As president, I will put an immediate end to these disgraceful policies.”

He would also ban federal funds from being used to arm teachers and seek to pass a national “Extreme Risk Protection Order” law that would allow law enforcement to temporarily suspend the Second Amendment rights of people judged to be a danger to themselves or others.

Mr. Inslee’s plan also includes creating universal pre-K programs through age 4 and setting up support and incentives to help states fully fund all-day kindergarten.

His plan also entails proposing legislation to provide “free and low-cost public college” for students from “low and middle-income families,” building off a program in his home state.

He would also repeal sections of law that authorize states to deny in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, and amend federal law to extend financial aid programs to young illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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