Steve Jobs on teacher unions

by Russ Roberts on February 21, 2007

in Education

Steve Jobs, speaking at a conference on educational reform, sacrifices a few future dinner party invitations with a moment of intellectual honesty. The AP reports:

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs lambasted teacher unions Friday, claiming
no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools
until principals could fire bad teachers.

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.

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

In a rare joint appearance, Jobs shared the stage with competitor
Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc. Both spoke to the gathering
about the potential for bringing technological advances to classrooms.

"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."

At various pauses, the audience applauded enthusiastically. Dell sat quietly with his hands folded in his lap.

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


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