2/25/2007

Apple's Steve Jobs goes sour on teachers' unions

During a joint appearance with Michael Dell that was 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 that "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."

Jobs' criticisms took at least one analyst aback. David Daoud, IDC's research manager for its quarterly computer sales tracker, said the comments were "very surprising. Teachers have been a loyal [customer] base for Apple, as opposed to enterprise IT. If Apple starts losing teachers, you may see an erosion in its market share."

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13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any teacher that would disagree with Steve Jobs' comments are only protecting themselves. Jobs didn't slam teachers. We all know there are bad teachers out there. There aren't near as many as OTBL would like to think, however they are out there and it is damn near impossible for principals to do away with them.

Taxpaying Customer said...

Unions protect their workers rights. But a worker doesn't have a right to be a "bad worker." My guess is bad teachers can be removed from the system, but the process might be rather cumbersome.

ATF spokespreson John See said in this article that Jobs was an outsider talking about how to fix things. He said, "We see this a lot -- people from outside the world of education talking about how to fix things."

Gee, I guess insiders can only figure out how to fix things...I don't work in the auto industry, but I can figure out there's a problem when the American automarkers concentrate their design and marketing efforts on big pickups and SUV that are gas hogs and don't have any alternatives for the consumer to shift to when the price of gas skyrockets.

The AFT spokesperson seems to be saying the customers don't know what they are talking about. Or the internal machanics of the education system become so Rub-Goldberg-complicated that they can't figure out how to teach kids to read, write and do basic arthimatic?

Save our tax dollars said...

If you want to save MILLIONS of dollars on education just mandate that school districts don't buy Apple
Computers. Their price is twice as much for the same value of a PC costing 50% less, yet teachers escpecially seemed to be conviced they are better. Simply put, they're not. They're not worth the extra money or the arrogant attitude Apple has toward providing any discount for
bulk educational purchases. They can be upgraded because they each new model is incompatible with the last. It took Apple 5 years to get their latest operating system ironed out during which users and software creators were in limbo between 2 OSs. Steve Jobs can shove on this one. Education has been far too generous to Apple.

Taxpaying Customer said...

I seem to recall a friend who is a teacher receiving an Apple computer for dirt cheap a number of years ago. I believe the program was called "A Apple for the teacher."

Once again, we have an outsider telling the schools how to run their business. In the corner of corporate America where I work, 99 percent of the computer are not Macs. You only see Macs in a few areas where good graphics are needed. Actually, it's been a few years since of seen a Mac anywhere.

My guess is, like the functions available in Excel, most teachers use only a limited amount of the functionality available in their computer. Of course, if they've been used on Apple products throughout K-12 and college and go back into K-12 systems that use that system, they will run into bureaucratic biases, folk lore and ignorance surrounding the other computing options available on the market.

Anonymous said...

The basic crux of the problem is the system. A unionized government monopoly which is accountable to no one. Until there is true economic choice in education, then we should expect the outcome to be no different than the Pinto, Vega, or Chevy II.

taxpaying customer said...

Anon...
Why would we expect to have "true economic choice in euducation?" Don't we already have a choice? There's the education paid for our of tax dollars and there's private options that the individual pays for out of their own pocket. There seems to be economic options.

I drove to town today and the roads were not completely cleaned from the big dump of snow this weekend. Does that mean we won't have streets clean of snow until we have true economic choice of how our roads are cleared? Of course, it would be kind of hard to build my own road to the local Wal-mart.

Would I be wrong to say that my home and family won't be safe until I have true economic choice in how my home gets protected? Is my home any safer with billions of current and future tax dollars going to killing Iraqis in a civil war started by the Bush Administration? I'm thinking I could probably defend my home with guns and a decent security system for an up from cost of $1,000 and an annual cost of less than $100. A few thousand dollars of my federal tax bill will be swallow up to cover the annual defense cost of Bush's war.

So Anon, does your true economic choice come down to what you choose to apply your tax dollars to? I don't expect that a public school system to be run as efficiently as a private school system. By it's charter, the public school has to accept everybody who enters the system. Conversely, private schools can be selective in who are accepted.

Are you suggesting that we totally eliminate public funded education? Or are you suggesting the we funnel tax dollars in the private education options of the parents of school children? I'm very interested in understanding the options here.

Save our tax dollars said...

Taxpaying Customer,

It's been years since Apple's have had any better graphics than PC's. The one advantage Apples have over PC's is the ability to easily produce enhanced podcasts. That is, small file size audio slide shows that can be viewed on portable media devices. Other than that, I can't think of any reason to actually need a Mac. I have no idea why teachers are so enamored over them other than the fact that Macs are the computer of choice for simpletons, and they get fewer viruses. There's less software (including high end graphic software) available for Macs. If people personally perfer them, fine, but I still contend that tons of money could be saved by giving Macs the boot in the classroom.

You other guys: Don't you ever get tired of repeating your same tired argument about "true economic choice"? Wake up and smell the chalkboard: It aint never going to happen, nor should it. You idiots who've supported Bush and his no child left behind nonsense have cause untold and perhaps irreversable damage on this country by creating an evironment the stratifies society into the super wealthy and the rest of us, who struggle to even get our kids into college. Then you want to add the personal cost of educating every kid privately and eliminating public education, at the very time when you send your kids to public schools. YOU need to have a psychiatric examination Pronto!

666 said...

SOTD:

From what I've heard about Macs is that they don't get viruses as easy as Windows system. I would agree there's a bias towards Mac products that I don't understand and maybe isn't questioned enough in the education debate. I'd be interested in knowing of anyone who uses Macs in the school system and Windows at home. I did a presentation a year ago in a public school and used a Mac. I hadn't used a Mac in years and had no problem transitioning for a day to the Mac.
---
On the psychiatric examination, can we get the government to pay for that?

Dr. Walter Reed said...

666

"On the psychiatric examination, can we get the government to pay for that?"

Probably, unless it's for a disabled
Iraq War Vet. Then it costs an arm and a leg.

EJB said...

I work in a large publishing/printing company. The whole front office and all production is PC, probably 100 Pc's. The whole graphics area is Mac, around 20 Macs. This is the rule, not the exception. To those that think that the PC is as good as a Mac in graphics, it is not even close. 99% of all creative graphics in agency / publishing / printing work is done on a Mac because they are better and easier for that application, not because of missinformation or bias. To those that think that PC's are as dependable as a Mac, not even close. Yet PC's dominate the business because they are affordable and most people use them for basic software aplications. If I was running an average business where graphics work was not needed it would be filled with Pc's not because they are better or even because they are as good. Cost and application would drive my decision. If I am not mistaken, all the computer labs in our elem schools are filled with PC's so I don't see a vast conspiracy by schools to support expensive Macs. Is this further proof that our school districts are watching the bottom line??

666 said...

ejb:

I did a seminar a year ago at a high school in northwestern Wisconsin -- in one of the poorer districts. I found the computer lab to be very interesting. All the computers were Macs. However, they were the bottom of the line Macs and varied in age from new to 10 years old. Of the 30 computers there, probably 5 were out of commission. I lot of those computers would have been trashed where I work.

But then again, businesses get tax breaks for to write off old equipment and it makes sense to take advance of the improved operating systems with better memory. Schools don't have that luxury. They are at the mercy of the taxpaying public. I'm not too worried about how advanced and powerful computers should be in a high school computer lab. I didn't get the impression that quantum physics were taking place there. However, from my chats with the lab technician, the lab is a fragile operation that includes a lot of shoestrings in the budget.

I would guess that many of us who pontificate on how to run our local school districts have spent little time recently inside of school and base a lot of their debate on hearsay, guessing and divine channeling.

666 said...

ejb:

I did a seminar a year ago at a high school in northwestern Wisconsin -- in one of the poorer districts. I found the computer lab to be very interesting. All the computers were Macs. However, they were the bottom of the line Macs and varied in age from new to 10 years old. Of the 30 computers there, probably 5 were out of commission. I lot of those computers would have been trashed where I work.

But then again, businesses get tax breaks for to write off old equipment and it makes sense to take advance of the improved operating systems with better memory. Schools don't have that luxury. They are at the mercy of the taxpaying public. I'm not too worried about how advanced and powerful computers should be in a high school computer lab. I didn't get the impression that quantum physics were taking place there. However, from my chats with the lab technician, the lab is a fragile operation that includes a lot of shoestrings in the budget.

I would guess that many of us who pontificate on how to run our local school districts have spent little time recently inside of school and base a lot of their debate on hearsay, guessing and divine channeling.

Save our tax dollars said...

EJB,

I create graphics and video for a living! Macs are not any better at this than PCs.
For the same price you can double the amount of RAM (memory) on a PC which will allow Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects to run much faster on a computer that is cheaper.
There may not be any conspiricy in schools that Macs are needed for the classroom but certainly a misguided belief that they are better.
It comes down more to chicken and egg.
Macs got a foothold in education and graphics production early on.
The argument goes that Macs are the
graphics industry standard, which is true, but the reason is more of tradition than ability. So graphics education department argue they need Mac to train for that industry. And the circle is complete.
Apple has also established itself with a army of promoters to education.
Since you believe Macs are so much better for graphics, tell me why?
I've get to discover this "fact".
As a friend of mine is fond of saying.
Buying a Mac is like buying a car with the hood welded shut. I still think schools could save a lot of money buy not being so Mac crazy, and I'm a public school supporter.