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Remove politics from education, urges N.Y. education leader, CEO

From: Crain’s Detroit Business

By Chris Gautz

May 28, 2014

MACKINAC ISLAND — Removing politics from education, and focusing more on science, technology, engineering and math will help to prepare students for a better future.

That was the message from Joel Klein, the former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and the CEO of Amplify, an education technology company, who said during his remarks Wednesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference that schools across the country are not preparing students properly.

“We are failing our kids in so many ways,” Klein said.

Klein said the greatest challenge domestically is not having students prepared for college or a career.

He applauded Gov. Rick Snyder during his keynote address at the Detroit Regional Chamber conference, for supporting the Common Core standards. The standards are often opposed by conservative politicians who feel states should best decide their own standards rather than use a national system.

“There’s too much politics in education,” Klein said. “We’ve got to have real standards.”

He said educating students in the STEM fields is important, but he also praised Snyder for speaking earlier in the day about the importance of jobs in the trades that do not require a college degree.

Only one in three students nationally are receiving the education they need to succeed, he said. Without it, these students will grow up in an economy that will be unforgiving, he said.

Tonya Allen, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation, said the business community needs to become more involved in education, including providing input on curriculum.

“We need a pipeline,” she said.

Von Washington Jr., executive director of community relations for the Kalamazoo Promise, said the business community would be best served by offering more than just money to schools.

“It has to be a complete partnership,” he said.