Monday, February 19, 2007

Steve Jobs- tech won't help until bad teachers are fired

For the record, I am a MAC fan, but I mean, Ouch! I can actually hear the Apple sales falling in the educational world after this article. (I wonder if Apple sales fall if they hit someone like Newton on the head and lead to universal gravitation theories? Ok...I am officially over-caffeinated today.)

The AP quotes Jobs as saying, "I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way." He also states, "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

After warming up the educational world with his astutue comments..cough...cough.... he then elaborated on his vision for textbook-free schools in the future.

Perhaps the Wiki-like books would save education from the evil tenured teachers?

Come on y'all... let me hear from you on this one.

Jim :-)


Jim Forde said...

Chuckler responded here...

click me.

His posting is where I found the, all too brief, AP article.

For the record, I don't agree with his general thoughts on the profession but find his reaction to ed tech, and white boards in particular, interesting.

Jim :-)

Jim Forde said...

Another reaction to this article posted here...

Clck Me!

Jim :-)

Patrick Higgins said...

I am going to feel like I pogo-sticked through a minefield after this one, but, here goes:

When your livelihood depends on the whims of municipal taxpayers, school boards, and shrinking state funds, any protection you can latch on to is essential. Our system of tenure, enacted long ago to protect teaching positions from shifts in political power, affords us a job security that few other professions enjoy, but makes it difficult to free a district of a failing, or even criminal teacher.

What Jobs said is not something we haven't heard in some form from other business leaders. What I take from it is that the public perception of teachers needs to be changed. To do this, I love the idea of total transparency, of taking the work that our teachers and students are doing and holding it up before the public. I have confidence in my fellow teachers, and the work they do would stand up to any public scrutiny, making those comments by Jobs or by the "Tough Choices or Tough Times" signees seem off-base.

Jim Forde said...

Hi Patrick,

I like your idea for using transparency as an antidote sweeping negative generalizations.

I agree with you in that my experience in schools is that the VAST VAST majority of tenured teachers are hard working people who care about kids. Without them, the system, as agrarian as it is, would come to a screetching halt.

A colleague of mine once said that when parents are asked about "the" public schools they generally commented negatively but when asked about "their kid's" schools they generally commented positively. I think this speaks to the fact that the more people understand what is actually happening in schools, the more they will be awed by the amazing commitment that an average educator shows for the kids in their learning community.

jim :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed by Steve. I'm always amazed that education seems to be the only profession that apparently does not have a certain percentage of demotivated, sub-par, or badly educated professionals.

What's so terribly wrong with saying that bad apples should be fired? I work in industry and it happens every day. Removing a bad employee can have as positive an impact on an organization as removing a good employee has a negative impact.

I understand that every professional wants job security. I therefore don't blame teachers and their unions for fighting to maintain the institution of tenure. Just don't insult me by trying to tell me that teacher tenure benefits the children. At most, there's a weak correlation between tenure and educational quality.