Jobs bashes Teachers Unions

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

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Often I don't agree with what he says, but this is 100% true especially for LAUSD and it was a problem here back in the early nineties. One teacher at the elementary school I went to, who was a particularly horrible teacher, came to the school from a different one, and not one month after joining this school, was behind the teacher's strike. She did not deserve a freaking dime yet she had some power because of the decent teachers in the union who actually deserved more than what they were paid. We need to reward good teachers, who not just improve students in performance numbers, but how they treat kids and discipline them without the presence of other adults. And we need to send the bad teachers packing. Bravo Jobs.

I worked for the public schools previously and I couldn't agree more.

Unions have ruined them. I might have to reconsider my stance on Macs and the Apple name in general.

Thanks Steve!

In my country teachers' payments are quite low, they are among the lower middle class of people. But most of them do a horrible job so.. I guess no problem there except the ****ed up youth.
Edit: I have no idea how this comment got up here

Do you have a problem with the lower middle class doing a horrible job, as you put it, teaching the children who will end up taking control of your country in the future?

In some ways, what we are experiencing in government schools, (there isn't anything PUBLIC about them)
is the same thing that happened to the U.S. automobile industry in the mid to late 70's. The labor UNIONS
had such a tight grip on the industry, that they didn't give a rats rear end what kind of product they produced.
My father was a car dealer for 32 years and it was sad seeing cars come into the dealership that had parts
on wrong, loose, missing, or even pop bottles under the seats.
Same thing with teaching. The "PC" crowd, along with the liberals & unions WON'T allow the GOOD teachers
to teach anything useful, so the good ones have quit, and we are left with a bunch of teachers that probably
couldn't teach their way out of a cave, in charge of educating?
Couple that with the fact that there is no DISCIPLINE in schools, and it appears that the kids are in charge.
When we have to start importing young adults to run everything, maybe we will wake up. Unfortunately,
by that time, it will be too late.

I see a common thread here, and although cliche':
Those that can, do, those that can't, teach, and get paid far more than they should.

I have to say it again:

Teachers earn more than architects. <--- that's a link

Highlights from the study include:

** According to the BLS, the average public school teacher in the United States earned $34.06 per hour in 2005.

** The average public school teacher was paid 36% more per hour than the average non-sales white-collar worker and 11% more than the average professional specialty and technical worker.

** Full-time public school teachers work on average 36.5 hours per week during weeks that they are working. By comparison, white-collar workers (excluding sales) work 39.4 hours, and professional specialty and technical workers work 39.0 hours per week. Private school teachers work 38.3 hours per week.

** Compared with public school teachers, editors and reporters earn 24% less; architects, 11% less; psychologists, 9% less; chemists, 5% less; mechanical engineers, 6% less; and economists, 1% less.

** Compared with public school teachers, airplane pilots earn 186% more; physicians, 80% more; lawyers, 49% more; nuclear engineers, 17% more; actuaries, 9% more; and physicists, 3% more.

** Public school teachers are paid 61% more per hour than private school teachers, on average nationwide.

The irony is that while teachers as a group are not underpaid, many teachers as individuals are underpaid. Public school teachers are generally compensated according to a standard schedule that rewards seniority and education. On such a schedule, a teacher on probation and a “Teacher of the Year” with the same education and time in service will make the same amount of money.

How fair is that? Neither the teacher nor the taxpayer is well served under such a system.

"average 36.5 hours per week during weeks that they are working"

and how many weeks are they working compare to white collar workers? are you forgetting about summer and winter break where they do not work unless they're teaching summer/winter break class. I doubt that they're making $34.06/hr if the calculation was adjusted to per year.

You do realize that the average school year (in the US) is only 182 days right? So yes, by numbers they may be making $35/hr but in reality its probably closer to $18 - $22 (based on how many extra days they have to work). I should know, I work as an hourly wage person in a school district - I get paid a total of 220 days of the year out of 365 - so I might actually be paid $15.87/hr but in reality I make just a little over $20,000 a year.

Sometimes looking at the numbers alone isn't enough.

So, why is it that when someone like Jobs brings up the fallacies with our teaching structure, everyone is in favor, but when more conservative people bring it up the media ignores it?

It's been brought up many times over the past few years that teachers need to pass certain 'standards' but has always been ignored, if not vehemently opposed, by 'Democrat' entities (yes, I said 'Democrat' not 'Democratic'... it is the 'Democrat' party, not the 'Democratic' party).
Private schools, even though their teachers earn less than half of what public school teachers earn (on average, based on San Francisco public school teacher earnings), have higher student test scores.

There is no taecher shortage. Thats a big myth. If you watch the 20/20 show they show all the problems that school has that they cant fix until they break the union contracts. If you go to new york city, there is a 10 page list of steps one would have to do to get fire. Average pay is for a school teacher is 45K in the country. May seen little but they only work 9 months a year. They get summer break and holidays off. Most of the teachers dont take a second job when there off which it's their fault. Private schools does better because of there are no union and they give higher standards then public and the average public school get 17k(not 100% sure about it but it's real high) per head for school a year. The only thing the governemnt does will is spending our money.

peace

Let's see:

If I have a degree in *anything remotely useful*, a teacher's position will often mean a substantial pay cut versus the alternatives. I'll either be surrounded by obnoxious little germ repositiories (primary school), or obnoxious potentially violent hormone fountains (middle and high school), and forced to dumb-down my lessons to deal with the stupidest members of the class, further sapping education of any joy.

I'd say job security is about ALL a teaching career has going for it.

I agree with him all the way. But, I feel he made an idiotic move by doing so in front of the Union. Think Different?

Swordnyx said,
I agree with him all the way. But, I feel he made an idiotic move by doing so in front of the Union. Think Different?

I disagree, what good does it do to bring up concerns to anybody else but the people you have problems with? That solves nothing. However, I don't think it was wise for Steve to talk about it while representing Apple.

I really despise Jobs, but I'm totally behind him on this. He's dead-on here. I can't believe that the former hippie is saying something that I totally agree with.

Osprey said,
I really despise Jobs, but I'm totally behind him on this. He's dead-on here. I can't believe that the former hippie is saying something that I totally agree with.

Hippe turned extreme capitalist.... heh

ya trip21 and after he fails miserably maybe he will invest all his money in commercials for "Hi im a grade school, and im a high school"

I wonder if Edward J. McElroy would take Jobs to the "really good schools." I highly doubt he would show him the slum ones.

They should really get jobs to teach a few classes, say on umm how to build a business that sells virtually no products so you need to transform it into producing music players. I think everyones diarys are free for a class on Feb 50!!

build a business that sells virtually no products

Yeah, right. I guess that's why Apple is #4 in sales among computer makers in the US, and in the top 10 in the world.

I totally agree with Steve Job about public school. They should work it out like small businesses. One of the reason why public school fails because you can't fire any of the teacher because of the teacher union contract. I just don't think it was the right time to say it because this will hurt Apple with sell apple computer to public schools.

The primarily problem with possibly firing a teacher is there isn't enough teachers. If the union accepted such an act, it'd even be more harder to keep teachers. They already have the worst in pay. We have to be the only country in the world that treats teachers with such low respect.

Either way, I must admit, Steve Jobs might have lost his mind in announcing his opinion. Maybe there'll be a mass shift from Apple to Edubuntu.

A teacher has to go every so often to get recertified and everytime that happens they're eligible for pay increases. When they get to a certain point basically no school will touch them because of the pay increases they are due for the recertification. If they don't have a tenure at a school then they're screwed.

Jobs needs to be put in the shoes of teachers that barely make a living as it is on a teachers salary. Then he wouldn't run his mouth so much. Of course with stealing so much money from the companies that he has a part in, he doesn't ever have to worry about not being able to afford to live.

If you don't like my comments then I really don't care.

PatrynXX said,
The primarily problem with possibly firing a teacher is there isn't enough teachers.

I think that's the root of the problem. However I don't think it's fair, or responsable, to keep teachers just because their isnt enough available to take their place. There needs to be more incentive for an individual to WANT to teach.

PatrynXX said,
The primarily problem with possibly firing a teacher is there isn't enough teachers. If the union accepted such an act, it'd even be more harder to keep teachers. They already have the worst in pay. We have to be the only country in the world that treats teachers with such low respect.

Either way, I must admit, Steve Jobs might have lost his mind in announcing his opinion. Maybe there'll be a mass shift from Apple to Edubuntu.

Teachers earn more than architects. <--- that's a link

Highlights from the study include:

** According to the BLS, the average public school teacher in the United States earned $34.06 per hour in 2005.

** The average public school teacher was paid 36% more per hour than the average non-sales white-collar worker and 11% more than the average professional specialty and technical worker.

** Full-time public school teachers work on average 36.5 hours per week during weeks that they are working. By comparison, white-collar workers (excluding sales) work 39.4 hours, and professional specialty and technical workers work 39.0 hours per week. Private school teachers work 38.3 hours per week.

** Compared with public school teachers, editors and reporters earn 24% less; architects, 11% less; psychologists, 9% less; chemists, 5% less; mechanical engineers, 6% less; and economists, 1% less.

** Compared with public school teachers, airplane pilots earn 186% more; physicians, 80% more; lawyers, 49% more; nuclear engineers, 17% more; actuaries, 9% more; and physicists, 3% more.

** Public school teachers are paid 61% more per hour than private school teachers, on average nationwide.

The irony is that while teachers as a group are not underpaid, many teachers as individuals are underpaid. Public school teachers are generally compensated according to a standard schedule that rewards seniority and education. On such a schedule, a teacher on probation and a “Teacher of the Year” with the same education and time in service will make the same amount of money.

How fair is that? Neither the teacher nor the taxpayer is well served under such a system.

MrCobra said,
A teacher has to go every so often to get recertified and everytime that happens they're eligible for pay increases. When they get to a certain point basically no school will touch them because of the pay increases they are due for the recertification. If they don't have a tenure at a school then they're screwed.

Jobs needs to be put in the shoes of teachers that barely make a living as it is on a teachers salary. Then he wouldn't run his mouth so much. Of course with stealing so much money from the companies that he has a part in, he doesn't ever have to worry about not being able to afford to live.

If you don't like my comments then I really don't care.

You didn't see my link showing that teachers make more than most 'white-collar' jobs, did you?
Mr. Jobs can say what he has because he makes more than teachers do.

And it's not a matter of not liking your comments or not... it's a matter of whether your comments are true or not... which they are not.

Agt. Smith said,

You didn't see my link showing that teachers make more than most 'white-collar' jobs, did you?
Mr. Jobs can say what he has because he makes more than teachers do.

And it's not a matter of not liking your comments or not... it's a matter of whether your comments are true or not... which they are not.


I have a cousin that's a certified teacher. She didn't have her tenure and was let go because her salary cap is too high and the rest of the schools will not touch her because of it.

But by your logic, I make more than teachers so I can say Jobs is a pompus ass. Before he goes and bashes anyone he needs to work on his own problems first and foremost.

"Mr. Jobs can say what he has because he makes more than teachers do."

Actually, in America, you can have an opinion and voice it no matter how much money you make. Steve can say whatever he wants because it's one of the freedoms of being an American. However, just because he thinks he's right certainly doens't make him right. It's fine to have an opinion and to voice it... But you might want to think about doing it a little more tactfully when you're talking about the fan base that's a solid part of your 3% marketshare. Next time, maybe offer a suggestion for improvement without using the word "crazy".