“Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs lambasted teacher unions Friday [at an education reform conference in Austin, Texas], claiming no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers,” April Castro reports for The Associated Press.

MacDailyNews Take: Never have we agreed more with anything Steve Jobs has ever said.

Castro reports, “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.””

Castro reports, “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.'”

Castro reports, “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. 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.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bizarro Ballmer” for the heads up.]
One very big reason why the state of U.S. public education is woeful is precisely because of what Jobs said today. And Michael Dell is a simpering ass-kisser who’s more concerned about saddling schools with his garbage PCs and reaping the profits than speaking the truth and trying to effect positive change. Those are two facts, as clear as can be.

Apparently, at the conference Dell also did not utter a peep about shutting down companies and giving the money back to the shareholders.

Two more points:
• Teachers for too many years were grossly underpaid, but at least you knew the majority of teachers weren’t in it for the money.
• While unionization served teachers very well, it has grown beyond what it should be. The situation is currently out of balance and has been negatively affecting the quality of U.S. public education for years.

And, before anyone starts, let it be known that we’re not jumping on the bandwagon just because Jobs said it. We’ve been on this bandwagon for years. One such example:

MacDailyNews Take (March 29, 2005): Teachers who don’t want to learn new things should be fired immediately. Sorry for the burst of truth, NEA. The NEA’s Code of Ethics of the Education Profession states: “In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning. Shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to varying points of view. Shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress.” The NEA has been around since 1857; supposedly “working to provide great public schools.” However, U.S. public schools are generally woeful. Is it the National Education Association or the National Education Anchor? Perhaps it’s time America tried something else, something that’s actually effective and improves the nation’s public school system?

Related article:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to just stay away from all that political stuff’ – August 25, 2004