Monday, February 19, 2007

Apple CEO Critiques The Receiving End Of The Teacher's Apple

The past week has really exemplified why I admire Steve Jobs. He speaks his mind and doesn't worry about being PC (pun intended).

As reported by MacMinute:

In his speech at an education reform conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was critical of teacher unions, reports the Associated Press. Apple compared school principals with company 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?" asked Jobs. "Not really great ones because if you're really smart you go, 'I can't win.'" Jobs appeared in a joint appearance with Dell CEO Michael Dell. "I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," Jobs said. "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

My father has been saying this for years. He has been very outspoken against teacher's unions and the way schools are run in the United States. Another thing that my father regularly addresses with the school board is their ability to raise taxes without taxpayer referendum - by the means of property tax re-assessment.

My father also challenges the grading system and the notion of the "Bell Curve" - he believes that education should be based on concept rather than grade level. You don't move on until you you have learned a concept with a 90% score. This would also have the added benefit of allowing gifted students to graduate earlier - if they "move along" fast enough - some could graduate at 15 or 16. In fact, I'm sure we would actually see MORE graduates at this age rather than the spotted few we see now.


Anonymous said...

My first reaction to Jobs' rant was that he should focus his effort on where it is needed, such as improving Apple, not on displaying his ignorance concerning teachers' unions. What an unbelievably stupid rant-talk about biting the hand that feeds you! Jobs should step down before his overweening hubris does any more damage. At some point Apple will have to carry on without him anyway.
My wife has taught high school for 28 years, half of them as union president. Ask any longtime teacher what needs to be fixed in education; teacher unions will rarely be mentioned, except by idiots and idealogues. Those highly regarded European schools are much more unionized than ours.
If no sincere apology from King Jobs is forthcoming, and none is really expected, my 20+ years with Apple may be over.

FYT said...

You didn't qualify your statement ... if it's not the unions then what IS wrong with education. I think the main thing Jobs was hinting at is that unions are not conducive to change. I believe his statement meant that if teachers were held up to the same standards as CEOs - they would be forced to produce results by pupil performance. My father's program forces this situation. But then again, teachers (most) don't want change because they don't want to be asked to produce greatness ... they just want to come to a cushy job ... how long or how hard they work really isn't tied to their performance.