Jobs has harsh words for teacher unions

Jobs has harsh words for teacher unions

Summary: Steve Jobs, speaking in Austin at a forum on technology in the classroom on Friday, blasted teacher unions.


Steve JobsSteve Jobs, speaking in Austin at a forum on technology in the classroom on Friday, said:

I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way... This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy.

According to an AP story by April Castro Jobs compared schools to businesses with principals serving as CEOs.

"What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good?" he asked to loud applause during an education reform conference.

Steve Jobs is a businessman and the epitome of a control freak. Education is very political which is diametrically opposed to the way he runs Apple. Apple is a meritocracy and Jobs doesn't tolerate incompetence so the concept of lifetime employment, tenure, entitlement and nepotism understandably undoubtedly drive him nuts. 

Dan Farber is covering the story on Between The Lines (another ZDNet blog) and TechMeme is also covering it.

Topic: Apple

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  • Jobs believes people should take risks

    What understandably drives Steve Jobs mad is seeing a person, in this case, a
    teacher, wasting their life, not pursuing their passion. In other words: poor
    teachers are bored teachers. It's doubly bad because they not only hurt
    themselves, but they hurt future generations of Americans as well. He spoke to
    this in his now famous Stanford commencement speech[1].

    I totally agree with him. I was the victim of poor teachers. I overcame these
    obstacles and now I do what I'm passionate about.

    The source of Steve Jobs' drive is pure and easy to comprehend. Yet the most
    cynical and threatened find fault with him. Unfortunately, his competitors also
    have the deep pockets to incessantly take cheap shots at him.

    • Yeah, Jobs is THE best!

      Doesn't matter that the fact that many teachers are bored and unpassionate is due to the fact that people like his buddy Al Gore (when in office) tend to take away from teachers the ability to give students an incentive to achieve.

      No awards, no honor roll, the grading system is unfair: it upsets the parents of lessor motivated kids. Correct a student in the classroom, get sued as it embarresed the student. Dress code: How dare you trample on my rights! Detention? Unlawfull imprisonment is the word of the day! No more "A, B, C, D, or F" now it's either "Pass" or "Needs Improvement". The list goes on.

      I don't agree with tenure, if you don't do your job, you should be gone.

      On the flip side, it's the only good thing from an employment opportunity standpoint, given to the fact that the schools are so PC to the point that they've pretty much taken away all the tools that would allow a teacher to get their students to learn, so why else would someone want to become a teacher?
      John Zern
      • Why do kids end up unmotivated?

        Altering the system is wrong, I agree, but helping them find motivation; giving them a chance to pass without dumbing down America the way the television media has to, seems a better thing to do.
      • Tenure is not really about job performance

        I'm not an expert, but my father is a tenured professor and he explained it to me this way: If a tenured professor is unqualified for the job or is performing badly, he should and can be removed with a censure hearing. However, it's so difficult to get tenured, that you really won't find many incompetant tenured educators out there. It usually takes decades of experience with an extensive review proccess to get tenured. That was his experience.
        Tenure is meant to protect the educator from a busybody school board or board of directors who, while not experts themselves or even educated on the subject, can make decisions for the professor about what he or she can and can't teach. Or what books they can use in class.

        At least at college level. I know it's more complicated when children are involved.
    • Guess what? Nor do all passions pay well enough...

      Apple offshores. He's hurting Americans too.

      And good for his competitors, who have done what Apple is too cowardly to do: License their products. All Apple does is say "We're special, buy us!" and when nobody buys they complain.

      And given how they took a PC OS and then ditched everything that made a Mac think different and replaced it with... PC hardware, there is no reason now that they cannot license their OS to OEMs or the public via shrinkwrap. Given Microsoft's fascist WGA activation garbage made triply annoying in Vista, they have a final big opportunity. Guess what? They'll blow it as usual.

      I'm sorry you're a victim of poor teachers. Many of us are, but not for the same reasons - fortunately.
  • Education is not a business Steve.

    What's up with Bill G. and now Steve thoughtlessly spouting off
    all of a sudden? Apple doesn't have to offer a customized iPod
    to every American citizen. Apple's products are awesome, but
    educating individual human beings is an immensely more
    complex undertaking than producing the newest gadget for
    consumption. How would Apple fare if all Steve had to offer
    potential employees is decent job security, while his competitors
    offered triple the pay, opportunities for advancement, far far less
    stress, etc.? Without teacher unions where would the incentives
    for attracting and retaining the best possible personnel come
    from? Raising taxes? I doubt Steve would fund the solution
    personally. If he's willing to put his money where his mouth is,
    fine. Otherwise he should stick to what he knows something
    about--Apple is a great company.
    • Au contraire

      Education is BIG business and it is funded by tax dollars. That's the rub. We've
      grown so tax-phobic yet we want first class government and schools.

      Apple has been providing education a great way to educate students for decades
      now and guess what?

      The problem isn't the teacher as much as it is the testy relationship between the
      school board and the taxpayer. You can throw in a few thousand crappy
      principals, as well.

      But I place problem number 1 on education on the shoulders of parents that
      don't/can't encourage and help their kids do better.

      Oh well, nothing's perfect.
  • He's whining because schools aren't all suckering into his product anymore.

    He's a clueless cretin.

    "I won't license like how all the successful companies do and then I will whine because nobody will buy my product! I'm special! WAAAAH!"

    Good grief. The Mac is nothing more than a PC these days. Intel and all. Can't his lot open up a PC-based OS back for the PC?! :rolleyes:

    Strange he'd team up with Dell, the other big-name Intel PC vendor, but maybe that's so Steve can learn how to better run recycling programs...

    And they have a point: Bad teachers should be fired.

    Bad teachers trying to trip ones down should be fired less gracefully.

    Bad students should be made to enlist.

    Define a bad student.

    Define a bad teacher.

    Define bad parenting while we're at it.

    Any leeway for people to get themselves into order? Or is it all going to be magical guesswork?

    Sheesh. Like Oprah, Steve is a real piece of work... a self-important, out-of-touch-with-reality one...

    How about some real solutions to go along with what we already know: There are big-arse problems out there. And offshoring isn't going to help very many of them...

    Besides, who wants talent anymore? or skilled workers? Every seminar I go to says "Now you can eliminate _____ worker with this simple solution!" "No need for maths anymore, click this one button and Excel will do the counting for you!!" All 'executive' class people want are low-cost, no-skilled-laborers-required "solutions" (read "slaves") that end up not being low cost and solve precious little. And then sing and dance the "get educated" song to make us look bad, which is a bag full of kitty gonads and they know it. They are so grossly two-faced, it's beyond comprehension. "Get educated". Kinda hard to do so getting a minimum wage paying job for them, a wage they still think is too much! Then look up the COST of education... those folks are out of touch.
    • This is a recurring theme with Jobs

      Jobs has come back to this every so often for over 20 years - even when schools were buying his company's products he would preach about how it annoyed him that incompetent public school teachers could not be fired. He seems to take it personally.
  • Clearly off his meds this month...

    "What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good?"

    Yes, well - he should know.
    You fire the ones that 'weren't any good' and then find that you were wrong or miss their expertise...

    Granted there are good and bad teachers and the 'bad' ones should be encouraged to find other career paths - and that also carries thru to small and big businesses and their CEOs, too. But you have to be sure of who is setting the standards for what qualifies as good and bad.

    The Stevo is a infomercial salesman - always has been and that's his only forte. Just don't ask him to build a computer or music player, discuss artist's rights or, clearly, discuss unions and the education system - of which he has no skill or expertise.
  • Steve Jobs is the better teacher.

    If unions attract the brightest and best, why is the United States recruiting fewer teachers than only one other country in the Europe/NA arena? That country is France, an even more union based and government controlled education system where it is said that to hire a government worker is equivilant to marrying them for life. The student/teacher ratio for the USA is 17 average, the same for both primary and secondary school, which makes us equal only to Poland, Macedonia, Ireland, Russian Federation, and Kyrgyzstan in the Europe/NA arean and lower than [b]noone[/b]. I won't even list how the USA compares to Europe in tests designed to measure accomplishment, you have a search engine too, but it is not good news. We need help.
  • Strong Unions=Higher Achievement Worldwide

    12 of the 13 countries with higher achievement rates than the U.S.
    have strong union activity. They're also generally the world's more
    developed economies with higher living standards, for obvious
    reasons. If your job sector doesn't take advantage of collective
    bargaining, get people together and start a union; don't just bash
    teachers because they have it. Unions have historically improved
    the lives of working people world wide; of course there are always
    those who want us to think the opposite.
    • Of coures we want you to think opposite

      because it's true. Unions have not only HURT the American auto manufactures, but the products as well.

      I know a person who gets over 40,000 dollars a year to pull the plastic of of the weather stripping on a car body as it moves down an assembly line. That is a minimum wage job if I've ever seen one.

      The only person who benefits is the the afore mentioned line worker.

      The rest of us suffer from having to pay more for an overpriced vehicle, now which many people can't afford.
      John Zern
  • Stop giving the idiot any press

    He loves it when people treat his opinions as newsworthy. Jobs farts and ZDNet is quick to wonder when the iFart will be released for $299. Then the Mac zealots all go nuts with anticipation that soon they will know what Jobs' better end smells like.
    • But if the stop giving him and Apple press . . .

      what would you do all day? You won't have anything to complain about. No Apple press = sad and bored NonZealot :-(
      • It's not Jobs or Apple...

        That's just a red herring.
        It's really the Mac User that he despises.
        99% of his posts are just insults and name calling.

        I think a group of school kids with iPods beat him up and took his lunch.
  • Unions like the status quo

    Teachers unions and reform aren't antithetical. Reform is about improving the educational system and teachers unions are about improving the teachers' position. Reform entails change. Change that might threaten the positions of teachers that fail to adapt.

    Poor business management and unions led to the downfall of the American car industry. Just as poor management and unions are causing America to lose high value IT jobs to the rest of the world.

    I recommend that people visit PBS's Making Schools Work with Hedrick Smith site and watch the show if it airs. The segment on San Diego's reform attempt is disheartening.
  • look at history

    You'll need to look at your history books and see why the union movement was so successful in the auto, steel and other industries. When the company owners could hire the local police and thugs to beat/kill workers who were striking against the deplorable working conditions. Where the unions have gone wrong is letting their leadership become out of touch with their constituents and instead allying with management.
  • Steve is right

    Education is full of complacent people who are underpaid. And I think the vast
    majority of problems with education lie with school boards and prinicpals.

    We value education so little that we pay poor salaries in exchange for lifetime

    I can think of no industry in today's world where a union has improved save those
    that protect the police and fire personnel.
  • Helped make up my mind!

    Jobs thinking about unions has helped me decide not to go mac! was considering it or another one with uncle bills system installed. Hello Dell!