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Educational Quick Fixes

It must be easy to fix public education. Everyone seems to have a solution.

Steve Jobs, who’s company makes great computers, recently took a turn at voicing his.

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

“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.”

I’m not going to defend teacher unions but they are not the primary reason why we still have bad teachers in our schools.

Even if principals (is Jobs assuming there are no bad principals?) were able to immediately fire every poor educator, there would be still be a wide range of other problems to be addressed.

Start with spending too much on technology with not enough on training to use that technology.

Once again we have someone with little understanding of teaching and learning presenting a simplistic assessment of a very complex problem that completely ignores 95% of the factors involved.

steve jobs, education, teacher union


  1. KH

    I disagree with you on this one. As a young teacher, there is no incentive for me to do a good job. No matter how much of an impact I make with my students, someone who has 10 more years of experience than I do, will get paid more. Period. Unionization had it’s time and place, and it is no longer needed. Let the merits of teachers, and principals, and board members dictate their compensation, and not some negotiated contract predicated on years of service.

  2. Stephen

    I don’t get it. You say you have no incentive to do a good job? Is it only a money thing for you? Is the incentive to just be a good teacher not enough? And since you’re a young teacher, you might not realize that not everywhere has teachers’ unions. What incentive do those of us who teach in those areas have?

  3. Chris Lehmann


    Sadly, it just really shows a lack of understand on Jobs’ part.

  4. Doug

    It is time to start focusing on poor principals, administrations, and other administrators in a given school system. Yes, there are poor teachers, but there are plenty of poor administrators as well. One poor administrator often has a larger negative impact than one poor teacher.

  5. Andy

    Yes I agree, computers can help education but it needs the right appliance by a good teacher. Good teachers are the bottom line.

  6. MarkJohnsonLewis

    This kind of aligns with Doug’s comment, but the reality is that many principals can’t identify who the really good teachers are. If you ask a principal who the best teachers are, chances are s/he will identify the ones with the least disciplinary actions. In other words, the ones with the quietest classes.

  7. Andrew Pass

    I read somewhere, I hope it wasn’t here, that the State of Florida is considering imposing a fine on parents who do not show up for parent-teacher conference. Too many parents take too little interest in their childrens’ educations. The problem is how do we motivate parents to take a greater interest? The answer lies in cultural change. Changing the unions won’t quickly change the culture. But imposing greater accountability on teachers and principals sure might be a start.

    Andrew Pass

  8. Carolyn Foote

    “Once again we have someone with little understanding of teaching and learning presenting a simplistic assessment of a very complex problem that completely ignores 95% of the factors involved.”

    Well put.

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