by Michelle Wirth
Gerard Robinson has been chosen as keynote speaker for the 2017 Georgia Charter schools conference. Robinson is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on education policy issues including choice in public and private schools, regulatory development and implementation of K-12 laws, the role of for-profit institutions in education, prison education and reentry, rural education, and the role of community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in adult advancement.
Before joining AEI, Robinson served as commissioner of education for the State of Florida and secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. As president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), Robinson worked to ensure that children in low-income and working-class black families in several states and the District of Columbia were given the opportunity to attend good schools. Throughout his career he has evaluated the effects of reform initiatives on parental choice and student achievement, advocated for laws to improve delivery of teaching and learning, and published essays on how to make good policy to give all children a chance at a good job and future.
A proponent of the importance of education to civil society, Robinson has spoken before audiences in the United States, in China, and in the United Kingdom. Robinson started his career by teaching fifth grade in a private, inner-city school. He is a member of many education-related boards. His issue brief for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools was cited in an amicus brief presented before the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2013.
Robinson has a master of education degree from Harvard University, a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Howard University, and an associate of arts degree from El Camino College.