Steve Jobs Blames Bad Schools On Teachers’ Unions

Feb 18th, 2007 | By | Category: General

Steve Jobs pisses off the teachers unionIf Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs wasn’t a lightning rod for controversy after blaming Apple’s DRM on the music industry, he will be now.

At an appearance at an education conference Friday, Jobs blasted teachers’ unions, saying that no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers.

“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. “Not really great ones, because if you’re really smart you go, ‘I can’t win.'”

“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.”

“Apple just lost some business in this state, I’m sure,” Jobs said.

Earlier in the panel discussion, Jobs told the crowd about his vision for textbook-free schools in the future. 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.”

8 Responses to “Steve Jobs Blames Bad Schools On Teachers’ Unions”

  1. […] At an education conference on Friday, Steve Jobs blamed teachers’ unions for America’s educational problems. […]

  2. I think Jobs is absolutely correct. His message should be publically supported by other influential people.

  3. Steve Jobs is more-or-less correct. A LARGE part of the problem with students’ LACK of education upon graduation from high school is our good friend George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind.” As a university professor who has over 700 students per yer, 630 of which are mostly freshmen straight out of high school, it’s mind boggling what little skills students have upon entering college in terms of reading comprehension, mathematics, writing ability, and so on. Most high school teachers I’ve spoken with agree, but they are hog-tied by state educational systems and unions that are, in turn, hog-tied by federal regulations. Thus, university professors are now asked to do remedial education because that has not taken place at lower levels as teachers at those levels have found themselves in a position of having to “teach for the exam” rather than “teach for knowledge.” In other words, colleges and universities have now become what high schools (and, indeed, in some cases what middle schools) used to be. Politicians simply don’t “get it.” Good for Steve Jobs for taking a stand!

  4. Keith says:

    Jobs in correct. He has the guts to say what other people are thinking!

  5. Greg Simmons says:

    Way to go Jobs! I was already a lifetime Apple Computer fan, now I’m a bigger Steve Jobs fan! The elephant in the living room for the past two generations has been the complete failure of the hippie generation’s moral relativistic, self-esteem nonsense. Coupled with the bureaucracy and corruption of teacher’s unions, it’s a guaranteed recipe for the ill-prepared, self-absorbed kids we are graduating from our public schools. Our culture as a whole is also to blame, but public schools have completely failed in their mission to educate our children.

  6. boetheus says:

    You people have it all wrong. I find it ironic that Mr. Jobs would express such ignorance. Bad schools are often a result of bad policy which comes down from bad administrators. Ones that are afraid to integrate technology into its curriculum by providing the necessary resources. Apple is big on its technology in education. They have a whole portion of their website devoted to it, but just this week, two students in Philly attacked a teacher because he took an ipod away from one of them because the district policy bans ipods and other devices. What the students did is wrong, but how can we educate students for the 21st Century when we keep using 20th Century methods? This has nothing to do with teacher unions. He needs to stop spending so much time in India and China and look at our urban schools. Schools will not improve until we also get rid a generation of antiquated administrators.

  7. Greg Simmons says:

    The notion that an army of dedicated, talented teachers is being held back by narrow-minded administrators is laughable. While it’s true that school administrations are part of the problem, bad policy alone cannot stop a good teacher from teaching. My mother was an award-winning teacher for over 30 years, in a highly rated school corporation, and the stories she tells about the majority of her colleagues who became complacent, lazy, horrible teachers because of the protections of tenure and the Union chill my bones. We keep holding taxpayers at gunpoint to build bigger, fancier schools with more and more technology, and we keep turning out lower and lower quality students. Tenure should be abolished, unions kicked out of our schools and bad schools should be allowed to fail and close down. Maybe then, people who are serious about the mission of educating our children can get the job done.

  8. boetheus says:

    What laughable is this notion that teachers can’t be fired. Teacher can lose their jobs like any other professional, but most administrators don’t want to follow due process to do it. They want to walk in one day and just say, “You’re fired! Get out!” It doesn’t work that way for a reason and that is why unions are there. If lazy administrators would take the time to follow procedure, they could rid themselves of every bad teacher in their building, but most can’t operate MS Word to do the paper work.

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