Jobs thinks the unions and books have to go

Steve Jobs – the fearless leader of Apple Inc. – has announced that he feels “unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy,” at a recent appearance with Dell Computer founder Michael Dell. Speaking about the importance of technology in the classroom Jobs referred to unionization as one of the problems keeping good teachers out of the classroom and bad ones in. Following on this thread he also spoke of a day where he sees learning resources online for all to access, where the content is constantly updated Wikipedia style.

The story, covered by the Associated Press, says little about Dell’s speech and focuses solely on Job’s more aggressive statements. While I agree in spirit with his ideas that a more competitive market for teachers will likely improve educations, it will take some time and effort to produce such results. With the deep entrenchment of the union mentality in education, and the lack of proper investment in the education systems it would be difficult for such a mindset change to happen. Even in a competitively driven teacher environment there is no promise all schools will end up equal. Although, there is no promise they won’t either.

I think the best idea however is the Wikipedia style online resources. This is not a unique idea and it was inevitable that it would be applied to secondary education. Universities have been moving to online resources for years and it is saving them money and freeing up space for other services. By putting your states, provinces, countries, core educational requirements online and supplementing with additional resources you could have a valuable tool for educational standardization.

Imagine all of Newfoundland and Labrador’s students using the same books, tests, and resources, from an online system. Where teachers, academics, and experts could update and tweak the information when necessary.

AP Wired story here

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7 Comments on Jobs thinks the unions and books have to go

  1. The best one can hope for, in life, is equality of opportunity. Forcing equality of being is not only futile, but counter productive. See USSR.

    Steve Jobs’ view of privatization (and you may be sure he in no way had NL’s rather unique educational environment in mind) of education is exactly what I’d expect from a diehard capitalist. Perhaps he sees opportunity for Apple in it, or it’s just a Libertarian viewpoint, but it’s hardly realiztic.

    Schools, like governments, are like publically traded companies only insofar as they need money to run. Thier stated purposes, however are drasically different, and to actually run those institutions as companies – with the sole, overriding goal of maximizing profit – would be disasterous for the institution in question.

  2. In regards to ‘wiki-fying’ educational resources, the traditional Wikipedia model of anyone-can-edit, anyone-can-contribute material would be of limited use to an educational setting. It may be a great boon for teachers to contribute to, given sufficient scope. Just keep Kansas away from the Evolution pages. 😉

  3. Actually, Steve Jobs owns shares (about 5M) in Apple, but as of March ’06, that constituted less that 1 percent of the companys outstanding shares (over 800M). The majority of stock is currently held by institutions.

    Incidentally, as CEO he has a salary of $0.

    And it’s ‘formerly’, not ‘formally’, Mr. Engleeesh majorrr. Apple, Inc (AAPL), according to Yahoo.

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