Steve Jobs insulted teachers in Texas, California and elsewhere. Now they want him to apologize.
He won’t, and the whole brouhaha may cost Apple millions in Mac sales to school systems and harm students. What should he do? Hold that thought while I back up.
Unless you were out of the country, and haven’t checked the news recently, Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, insulted, lambasted, poked, prodded, and bullied teacher unions.
How? How about this? Jobs said, “I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way.” That’s for starters.
On stage last week before the statewide education forum sponsored by the Texas Public Education Reform Foundation in Austin, TX, a stage shared with Dell CEO Michael Dell, Jobs also said, “No amount of technology is going to fix it until we address the underlying problem.”
Wait. There’s more. “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?”
Still more and more and more. “This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy.” It wasn’t pretty.
Hours afterwards, American Federation of Teachers President Edward J. McElroy called for Jobs head on a platter, saying, “Steve Jobs was dead wrong to disparage the hard work of educators and their union. I encourage him to join me in talking to both our members and administrators of these schools. I know he will see and learn a great deal about the positive things we are doing for our students.”
Was Jobs wrong? Many teachers and nearly everyone else agreed with Jobs’ poke at the unions in schools.
Fine. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Some have pointed out that Jobs, on the other hand, is entitled only to increase Apple shareholder value in the form of the stock price. He does that through managing Apple, selling more product, making more profit.
How does blasting teachers and their union help the Apple cause? True, a little truth hurts.
What Jobs spoke, by many measures was truth, and I’m married to a teacher. Carol agreed with Steve and echoed similar frustrations as she deals with incompetent teachers every day.
Whoops. I should have kept that to myself. After all, she has to work with those bozo teachers, not me. Oh well… Hey, at least Rush Limbaugh agrees with Steve. And Carol. And I agree that Steve identified an obvious problem in the school systems. But to what end?
Teachers and their union management are calling for an apology, an “iPology” if you will. Unfortunately for Apple, I don’t see an apology coming, and don’t see it making a positive difference even if it did.
It isn’t that I don’t agree with Steve’s sentiments regarding teacher unions, but I have to ask, “is it necessary to voice such an opinion?” Who wins?
Teachers and educators are upset at Apple and that could cause more than a few to revolt and purchase fewer Macs. In turn, fewer Macs in the classroom mean more students would be required to learn and use Windows PCs.
That alone could be disastrous for our education system. If it’s this bad when Apple is the leading supplier of computers to most US schools, what will it be like when all students are forced to use Dells.
Jobs probably wanted to open a dialog, get people to think different. All he succeeded in doing is making life miserable for our soon-to-be-less-educated youth, forced to numb their brains learning Windows.
Who do we have to thank for the coming wave of American underachievers? Steve Jobs and the teacher’s unions.