- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Republican Michigan lawmaker has apologized for comments he made during a hearing that were deemed racially insensitive by Democratic leaders and a teachers’ union.

Television stations WDIV and WXYZ report Troy Sen. Marty Knollenberg apologized Friday after criticism over comments he made during an education committee hearing. In speaking about struggling school districts, Knollenberg said the “non-white population” is a contributor, “we can’t fix that” and “you can’t make an African-American white.”

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel called Knollenberg’s comments “unfortunate” and hopes he can “get a better grasp of what challenges school districts face by a diverse array of students.” American Federation of Teachers Michigan President David Hecker said the comments were “racist and … a major step backwards in improving education.”

Knollenberg says if his critics “knew me they would know I am not racist at all.” He added race isn’t the problem in low-performing schools.

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