Apple CEO Steve Jobs decided to condemn teachers unions last Friday, at a Texas education reform conference. Teachers unions have traditionally represented one of Apple's most loyal group of customers and have largely stuck with the company since the days of the Apple IIe. After Jobs' blunder, I would think Apple would like to know whether the trend will continue.
During a joint appearance with Michael Dell, sponsored by the Texas Public Education Reform Foundation, Jobs took on the unions by first comparing schools to small businesses, and school principals to CEOs. He then asked rhetorically: "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? Not really great ones, because if you're really smart, you go, 'I can't win.' " He went on to say: "what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way. This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."
The American Federation of Teachers, the nation's second-largest teachers' union, wasn't exactly pleased – spokesman John See announced: "The president of the AFT, Edward J. McElroy, saw his comments, and he'd like to invite Steve Jobs to accompany him to visit a few schools, to really see what's going on in the schools. If Jobs doesn't change his mind, then at least we know he has some information." On the brighter side, Jobs did not rant all of Friday away: he also lobbied for a textbook-free future. The Associated Press quoted Jobs as saying, "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."
News source: ComputerWorld