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Jobs: Teacher unions prevents schools from excellence

Schools suffer from culture of mediocrity because bad teachers can't be fired, excellent executives won't work in such a culture.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor on

Steve Jobs came out swinging against teachers unions at an education reform conferencde in Austin recently, reports the Associated Press.

Jobs said principals were unable to improve schools because they can't fire bad teachers due to tenure. He also 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. "Not really great ones because if you're really smart you go, 'I can't win.'"

Appearing with Jobs, Dell Computer founder Michael Dell weighed in on the union issue by saying that unions were created because "the employer was treating his employees unfairly and that was not good."

"So now you have these enterprises where they take good care of their people. The employees won, they do really well and succeed."

During the panel discussion, Jobs spoke of a future where textbooks would be replaced with a free online information source that was constantly updated by experts, much like the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

"I think we'd have far more current material available to our students and we'd be freeing up a tremendous amount of funds that we could buy delivery vehicles with - computers, faster Internet, things like that," Jobs said. "And I also think we'd get some of the best minds in the country contributing."
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