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Ready for Another Czar?



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The Democrats’ student-loan nationalization plan, which I wrote about here, includes a provision which would create a green schools advisory council and, in all likelihood, a green schools czar:

SEC. 343. ADVISORY COUNCIL ON GREEN, HIGH-PERFORMING PUBLIC SCHOOL FACILITIES.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF ADVISORY COUNCIL.—The Secretary shall establish an advisory council to be known as the ‘‘Advisory Council on Green, High-Performing Public School Facilities’’ (in this section referred to as the ‘‘Advisory Council’’) which shall be composed of—

(1) appropriate officials from the Department of Education;

(2) representatives of the academic, architectural, business, education, engineering, environmental, labor, and scientific communities; and

(3) such other representatives as the Secretary deems appropriate.

(b) DUTIES OF ADVISORY COUNCIL.—

(1) ADVISORY DUTIES.—The Advisory Council shall advise the Secretary on the impact of green, high-performing schools, on—

(A) teaching and learning;

(B) health;

(C) energy costs;

(D) environmental impact; and

(E) other areas that the Secretary and the Advisory Council deem appropriate.

(2) OTHER DUTIES.—The Advisory Council shall assist the Secretary in—

(A) making recommendations on Federal policies to increase the number of green, high performing schools;

(B) identifying Federal policies that are barriers to helping States and local educational agencies make green, high-performing schools;

(C) providing technical assistance and outreach to States and local educational agencies under section 339(d); and

(D) providing the Secretary such other assistance as the Secretary deems appropriate.

The bill allocates $4 billion to the “greening” of public school facilities (literally — the bill includes money for building greenhouses and planting trees), and the green schools czar would influence how the bulk of this money is spent. Even though this is primarily a higher ed bill, the green schools portion pertains to K-12. More federal intrusion into local school districts — how exciting!

For budgetary purposes, the $4 billion would come from the “savings” generated by coverting subsidized private lending to direct federal lending, but as the Congressional Budget Office pointed out, nearly half of those projected savings are the result of an accounting trick; they aren’t likely to materialize. What savings are realized will come at the cost of reducing competition in the student-loans market by making the government the largest direct lender to college students by far. Obama says he wants greater competition in the health-insurance market: Why the double standard?

This education bill takes $4 billion we don’t have and, instead of spending it on education, gives it to a new green czar to spend on environmental projects of dubious value. This kind of thing is becoming so routine one hardly notices anymore. It’s just another $4 billion, right?



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