August 14th, 2009
12:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Political opposites join forces to rebuild schools

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two of the most outspoken people in politics are putting their ideological differences aside to team up on an initiative to help rebuild the nation's public schools.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rev. Al Sharpton will join Education Secretary Arne Duncan on a tour to encourage cities to fix their schools, the Department of Education announced Friday.

Calling Gingrich and Sharpton "two of the most candid people I have ever known," Duncan said in a statement that that there will be "some provocative conversations on education reform." The trio will visit Philadelphia on Sept. 29, New Orleans on Nov. 3 and Baltimore on November 13. More stops, including one in a rural setting, will be added later, the Education department said.

Gingrich and Sharpton met with President Obama in May to discuss education reform.


Filed under: Al Sharpton • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Some republican guy

    But public schools are socialism. How could Newt be for this? Parents who can't afford private schools are a bunch of freeloading obamabots looking for a handout. Education is not a right, it's a priveledge. Have a nice day!

    August 14, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We need more schools and all the support that goes with that. There need to be small class sizes and more teachers to go along with that. Without parental involvement, this will support some students, but won't be able to get every student to exceed as he or she could. We need all the pieces; schools with small class sizes and teachers that are ready to teach; administrators that understand what the needs of students and teachers are as well as how to deal with trouble and problems; parents who not only ask how the child's day was but looks over the class work as well. Everybody needs to be involved; nobody lives in a vacum.

    August 14, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. nea-nea

    This is a good thing so if an Republicans can trust the Obama administration on this then why can they come together with him on health care reform?

    August 14, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Joe

    How appropriate that Gingrich and Sharpton are teamed up on this. The fact that anyone listens to either one of them or takes them seriously when they rant and rave is the surest indication of just how much the American educational system has failed.

    August 14, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Gingrich is a Palin follower. Any kind of reform he suggests I know to oppose. Rev. Al on the other hand, he's a man of his own thoughts and convictions and i'll trust his word over Newt's anyday.

    August 14, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Ted Tartaglia

    It is nice to see the Newt doing something useful for a change rather than supporting the radical right wingnuts.

    August 14, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. S Callahan

    Both of these individuals have had some public behaviors problems in the past....but it's obvious they have learned the meaning of partnership to get things done....perhaps their current activity can role model for their peers in governement. People are just waking up to the idea that we are truely all connected.

    August 14, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. dominican mama 4 Obama

    This is quite laudable. I guess it just goes to show that besides the 'loonies' out there, it is just politics after all. When two opposing sides can come together and accomplish something for the greater good it is worth remarking upon.

    August 14, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Chris ~ Albany, NY

    Talk about a breath of fresh air...to bad more of these kinds of things can't happen more often on more issues.

    August 14, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. RealityKing

    Even brand new schools won't teach kids the basic disciplines they need to learn at home..

    August 14, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. George

    Good for them. Newt can do some good, if he quits listening to Rush, Sarah, and Joe the Plunger!!!

    August 14, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Dallasite

    If they want cities to fix their own schools, the money will have to come from somewhere. Where I live, school districts are having to slash their budgets–and teaching force–due to lack of income from state/local taxes and lack of donations in addition to increased costs. It's really sad when you see districts slicing teachers off of the roles as well as having other teachers double up on subjects to teach in order to save costs.

    Also–it would be really helpful if the college regimen for those wanting to be teachers was less expensive. Thank you.

    August 14, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. katiec

    Will wonders never cease??
    A republican actually working with a democrat!!
    Did not think that would happen in this day and age.

    August 14, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    I believe these two men will learn a lot during this team project.
    It should be the best of two extremes, merged into one common ideal.
    Public Education is not socialism (at least not in this country). It
    could easily become so.. in the age of Obama. Let us hope that the left extremists and the right extremists, can nurture the common ground we have of protecting our freedom and being 'endowed by our Creator'.

    August 14, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Darth Vadik, CA

    OK, I have a problem with this, just because the word "Republican" "supports" "public schools" should NEVER EVER be used together. The Republican party has worked for 40 years to demonize and destroy the public school system. I don't believe Newt for a second, he is a known and a proven liar and cheater.

    August 14, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. lovable liberal

    There is no reason whatsoever for a Democrat to work with Newt Gingrich. He is completely untrustworthy and only interested in turning this to electoral advantage. There's not a true bipartisan bone in his body.

    August 14, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Reading in So. Cal

    I don't particularly care for either of these individuals, but I am pleased they are working together to help education.

    ps to Some Republican guy - The United Nations has determined that education IS a right for everyone.

    August 14, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Phat Elvis

    when even these two extreme ideologues see that the school system needs fixing, you know something needs to be done.

    kudos to both, though i dont care much for either one of them

    August 14, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |