August 17, 2009 | Diane Johnson | Leave a comment Education Secretary Arne Duncan is collaborating with Reverend Al Sharpton and Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.Â The three are pushing cities such as Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Baltimore to fix failing schools. As the tour commences this year, the three plan on adding more cities to their tour.Â “These are cities that have real challenges but also tremendous hope and opportunity” Duncan said. The idea for the tour came from a meeting with President Obama in May. Education is high on President Obama’s priority list.Â He wants to see greater achievement through fewer high school dropouts and more students pursuing higher education.Â The goal is to make the United States number one in the world for people graduating from college. Sharpton said in a statement that “parents need to be challenged, with the message of no excuses.Â Teachers and administrators aren’t the only ones responsible for improving schools.” The group believes that education has to be the first priority for civil rights of this century.Â I’ve been passionate about reforming education, and it can only be done as a bipartisan issue. “When you can find common ground, we should be able to put other differences aside to achieve a common ground” Gingrich said. Education has been deteriorating in America and it’s time we made it a priority.Â Not only will students benefit, but the country will as well because the work force depends on high-skilled jobs.