“He and I agree as the president and Secretary Duncan agree that education is the No. 1 civil rights issue of the 21st century,’’ Gingrich said.
Education is one of the main topics of Sharpton’s Action Network conference, which will continue through Saturday at the Hyatt and is expected to draw 2,000. Free workshops are scheduled with experts discussing charter schools, school choice, bullying, the slow-closing achievement gap between minorities and whites, graduation rates and other issues affecting students.
Local guest speakers scheduled to appear include Martin Luther King III, Bishop Eddie Long and State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell). Sharpton also will discuss his upcoming national tour on school reform.
Gingrich, Duncan and Sharpton will make their first official stop in Philadelphia on Sept. 29 for a visit to pubic schools and a frank discussion encouraging parents, educators, churches and politicians to work together to overhaul failing campuses. The tour also is scheduled to stop in New Orleans and Baltimore in November.
Sharpton said he will give parents some tough love on getting involved in their kids’ education and will accept no excuses.
“I come from a single-parent home on welfare, but my mother never missed a PTA meeting,” Sharpton said. “This has got to be everyone’s hands on deck.”