The U.S. public education is reaching a crisis point and could destroy everything else around it if it isn’t fixed, Kenneth Langone, Invemed Associates chairman and president, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday.
“We need desperately to fix our public education system, Langone said. “It's in trouble, and it will destroy everything else around us if we don't fix it.”
Addressing the teachers’ strike in Chicago, Langone said that while teachers are not making the kind of money they should make in some parts of the country, they should be held accountable for their performance.
About 29,000 teachers and support staff are on strike in Chicago to protest reforms such as performance evaluations for teachers and more authority for school principals. (Read More: Teacher Strike in Chicago Hometown May Be Headache for Obama.)
“The teachers have to understand one thing: they’ve got to deliver,” Langone said. “We cannot allow poor kids to leave high school unable to read or write or compete.”
Although Langone argued it was not realistic to turn struggling pupils into "nuclear scientists," he added they required “basic tools so that they can compete.” (Read More: Trump: Don't Blame Emanuel for 'Unfair' Teachers Strike.)
Richard Grasso, former chairman of the NYSE, also told CNBCthat students need the “right environment to study and learn.”
The former Big Board chief said that "great teachers don’t teach for seven hours, they’re teaching for 20 hours because they’re thinking about their kids, and the problems those kids have.”
Langone, who is a Mitt Romney supporter, linked his support for education reform to politics. "Why am I for Romney? Because I think he'll do more for public education than [President Barack] Obama will."