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Jobs, Dell share stage, blast teacher unions

updated 08:55 pm EST, Fri February 16, 2007

Jobs, Dell share stage

Last week it was the music labels, this week it was teacher unions. Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs on Friday spared no words in criticizing the state of public schools and the teacher unions, saying that schools were never likely to improve until principals could fire bad teachers. The Associated Press notes that Jobs shared the stage with rival CEO Michael Dell to deliver their vision of technology in classrooms. Jobs, who is known to be quite intolerant of what he calls incompetence at his own company, touted a text-book free classroom, but reiterated that no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers.

The report says that Jobs' words were quite strong, noting that the Apple and Pixar CEO "lambasted" teacher unions and likened schools to businesses with principals serving as CEOs. Teacher unions, he said, that the unions have directly contributed demise of public education.

"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.'"

Jobs' comments reportedly drew loud applause during an education reform conference, but while Jobs' comments seemed to be drawing support from the crowd, Dell's CEO, who has previously taken swipes at Apple, sat quietly with his hands folded in his lap.

Jobs, however, continued despite the potential repercussions faced the Cupertino-based company when negotiating future California contracts.

"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 admitted.

Dell, who recently took back the reins as CEO of Dell, responded 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."

The report says Dell also blamed problems in public schools on the lack of a competitive job market for principals.

Previously, Jobs outlined his vision for textbook-free schools in the future, the report said. Textbooks, he claimed, 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."

by MacNN Staff




  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Right On

    Right On

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Teaching Yesterday

    We have proposed a WIMax system for the county that could fund for free a labtop andd home internet for every student in the county. The county said "no" because they already had an IT department that did not know how to accept it. Instead they bought two sets of text books so that no one had to carry a big backpack. Such stupidity.

  1. dmsimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Jobs is an a**.

    Steve Jobs, a multi-millionaire(billionaire?) who takes billions from our education system, while our teachers take money from their own pockets to pay for pencils, chalk and paper.

    Pay our teachers!

  1. jcatma61

    Joined: Dec 1969


    teaching IT...

    to find the door tomorrow.

    What is it with our brainiac IT departments in government? They either shith-can your idea because it doesn't spring from their own gray cells or they simply show their utter incompetence by allowing great projects like this to die.

    WIMax for the MASSESS! Burn the textbooks!

  1. iselljuice

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Teachers Pay

    Anyone who challenges that teachers are underpaid has their head in the sand.

    My signature is 'iselljuice'. Juice is slang for interest.

    I sell interest by way of the mortgage bank I run.

    We do MANY mortgages for teachers, counselors, administrators and the like.

    We are in the Chicago area.

    With 5 years experience, the average teacher out here makes 45,000 per year and, and this is INDISPUTABLE, get's more days off per calendar year than they work.

    In addition to this, IL teachers have a pension plan that vests them at 5 years (not fully of course) but at 25 years they retire with 90% of their last year's pay AND the current contract has a 3% cost of living adjustment.

    Teachers on state pensions are not required to place money into Social Security - like the rest of us, and with the money they forego in this plan, they get one of the greatest pension plans of all time.

    It is a regular occurance for us to do loans for teachers with 15 years experience who are pulling down very close to six-figures without an advanced (beyond BA/BS) degree. Again, this is doing so in a job that provides for massive days off.

    Teaching is NOT a poverty based profession. Anyone who states as much has a massive disconnect with reality.

  1. awcopus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Everything you said is correct.

    Jobs was right, but he's a regular supporter of the left through campaign donations to bigwig politicians who are in the pocket of the teacher's union. So, as righteous as he was in saying what he said, how can he not see the hypocrisy of giving millions of dollars to the jerks who empower the teachers' unions? Wake up Jobs... or rather... listen to yourself more carefully!

    Solution to the education system? Unfettered competition and a little something called the profit/loss system.

  1. Sable93

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A Teacher's Perspective

    It is VERY possible to fire negligent and/or incompetent teachers... but it requires a little extra effort from the school's administrator. Principals need to document inappropriate or ineffective behaviors exhibited by the teacher to ultimately result in the teacher being fired. It happens much more often than people think.

    Also, regarding pay for teachers, I'm not sure how teachers in the Chicago area are compensated, but here near Philadelphia, PA, we are not compensated that well. In my district, a wealthy suburban district, the pay scale tops out at approximately $80,000 for a teacher who has a master's degree, 30 graduate credits beyond a master's degree, and at least 15 years of service in that district. Regarding our retirement, we do pay into our retirement. I pay 8% of my income to the Pennsylvania retirement system in addition to social security, which Pennsylvania teachers are required to pay.

    Regarding days off per year, I know of very few teachers who truly take the summer off. Most of us get part time jobs during the summer for supplemental income. Teachers near Chicago may be rich, but I'm not! Luckily, I LOVE my job and wouldn't trade my career for any other.

    One last thought... most teachers only remain teachers for 8 years. If teaching is so easy, full of benefits, and high paying, why don't people stick with it? Just something to think about.

  1. Sable93

    Joined: Dec 1969


    One other thing...

    Some people in parts of the US will see the number $80,000 and think it is really high. Please remember that the cost of living on the east coast is very high compared to the middle states. Also, that monetary figure is for very experienced teachers with a strong educational background. If a teacher is unwilling to go beyond his/her bachelor's degree, their salary will never exceed $53,000 per year.

  1. Strap

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What about bad Principals

    I've seen bad principals fire good teachers. Now what do you do, Jobs? No Union, no recourse. But, I still don't like the power Unions have. No flexability.

  1. himself

    Joined: Dec 1969


    unions aren't bad per se

    ...but its their demands and how they operate that are misguided. I think teachers do need the kind of protection and representation a union can provide, but they make it all too difficult to eliminate not only the teachers that are negligent and/or incompetent, but those who really care more about the paycheck than their students education.

    I have no qualms with teachers making $80,000+ per year... frankly, they should probably make more. But the public school systems won't improve if teachers are paid a bundle despite their performance in the classroom. Simply put, teachers who perform well should be paid well. Those who don't perform well should be fired. When it comes to educating our children, there should be no compromises.

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