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Apple CEO Jobs attacks teacher unions

Old 02-17-07, 02:33 PM
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Apple CEO Jobs attacks teacher unions

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...s/4560691.html

Feb. 16, 2007, 9:15PM
Apple CEO Jobs attacks teacher unions


By APRIL CASTRO
Associated Press


AUSTIN Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs lambasted teacher unions today, claiming no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers.

Jobs compared schools to businesses with principals serving as CEOs.

"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?" he asked to loud applause during an education reform conference.


"Not really great ones because if you're really smart you go, 'I can't win.'"

In a rare joint appearance, Jobs shared the stage with competitor Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc. Both spoke to the gathering about the potential for bringing technological advances to classrooms.

"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," Jobs said.

"This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

At various pauses, the audience applauded enthusiastically. Dell sat quietly with his hands folded in his lap.

"Apple just lost some business in this state, I'm sure," Jobs said.

Dell responded that unions were created because "the employer was treating his employees unfairly and that was not good."

"So now you have these enterprises where they take good care of their people. The employees won, they do really well and succeed."

Dell also blamed problems in public schools on the lack of a competitive job market for principals.

Earlier in the panel discussion, Jobs told the crowd about his vision for textbook-free schools in the future. Textbooks would be replaced with a free, online information source that was constantly updated by experts, much like the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

"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," Jobs said. "And I also think we'd get some of the best minds in the country contributing."
Keep talking Steve, I might buy an iPod to reward you.
And Dell, get your hands out of your lap and don't be so afraid.
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Old 02-17-07, 02:47 PM
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Dell responded that unions were created because "the employer was treating his employees unfairly and that was not good."
PErhaps, but that is no longer the case. Props to jobs. Principals can get rid of teachers, but it takes a few years, and generally most won't becuase the process is stupid. But it is a contract negotiated and agreed upon by the school board, so you can't just blame it all on the unions.

While I am no supporter of the unions, the biggest problems in public schools come from an ever changing plate handed down from the states and fed. Most of these are unfunded, so when I hear my state whine about the Feds unfunded mandate, I calmly tell them that until they quit doing the same, they'll get no sympathy from me.
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Old 02-17-07, 02:58 PM
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if MD likes unions so much, why doesn't he let his workers unionize?
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Old 02-17-07, 03:34 PM
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Comparing a principal to a CEO is his fundamental problem. The two jobs aren't even remotely analogous. Principals can't get rid of teachers. They have never had this power in any public school. The role of the principal in the public school is to be the primary administrative contact between the central administration/board of education and the faculty of his school. He delegates administrative tasks to other building-level administrators. In nearly all cases, he has no formal power over the jobs of his faculty, whether or not they have tenure or the backing of the union.

There is a reason for all of this, of course, and it's kind of surprising that someone as intelligent as Jobs doesn't grasp it. Whereas CEO's and their ilk are nearly always stakeholders in their respective companies, and are compensated appropriately based on performance, school principals very rarely hold a position for more than a few years, and have no serious incentive to affect change in their buildings. That incentive rests with the Board of Education, which unfortunately has a distinct lack of formal educational expertise. As a result, the principal is nothing more than a liaison.

Jobs' other fundamental misunderstanding is the confusion between the teacher's union and tenure protection. They are not even close to the same thing. The public at large, including Jobs and people in this thread (and most other educational threads) speaks so irresponsibly about every aspect of the profession by conflating the most basic of issues and speaking in absurdly broad generalities.
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Old 02-17-07, 04:52 PM
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Schools have been unionized. Yeah, that's the problem. What a dumbass.
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Old 02-17-07, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Comparing a principal to a CEO is his fundamental problem. The two jobs aren't even remotely analogous. Principals can't get rid of teachers. They have never had this power in any public school.
Every three years my contract renewal pretty much solely depends on passing a evaluation by my principal.
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Old 02-17-07, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by SunMonkey
Every three years my contract renewal pretty much solely depends on passing a evaluation by my principal.
How many "failing" evaluations does your principal give out per year?
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Old 02-18-07, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Comparing a principal to a CEO is his fundamental problem. The two jobs aren't even remotely analogous. Principals can't get rid of teachers. They have never had this power in any public school. The role of the principal in the public school is to be the primary administrative contact between the central administration/board of education and the faculty of his school. He delegates administrative tasks to other building-level administrators. In nearly all cases, he has no formal power over the jobs of his faculty, whether or not they have tenure or the backing of the union.

There is a reason for all of this, of course, and it's kind of surprising that someone as intelligent as Jobs doesn't grasp it. Whereas CEO's and their ilk are nearly always stakeholders in their respective companies, and are compensated appropriately based on performance, school principals very rarely hold a position for more than a few years, and have no serious incentive to affect change in their buildings. That incentive rests with the Board of Education, which unfortunately has a distinct lack of formal educational expertise. As a result, the principal is nothing more than a liaison.

Jobs' other fundamental misunderstanding is the confusion between the teacher's union and tenure protection. They are not even close to the same thing. The public at large, including Jobs and people in this thread (and most other educational threads) speaks so irresponsibly about every aspect of the profession by conflating the most basic of issues and speaking in absurdly broad generalities.
Not sure I quite agree. The school board has the ultimate power to hire and fire, but they cannot fire without cause (without risking a lawsuit). In order to have cause, there must be fair evaluations of the teachers, and that is the role of the principal. I would agree that they don't give many poor evaluations, but that is the crux of the problem. But they do have the power to get rid of teachers if they actually take the time and follow the steps.
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Old 02-18-07, 09:54 AM
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I'm still not seeing where the teacher's union plays a role in the principal's evaluation.
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Old 02-18-07, 01:26 PM
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Why exactly do K-12 teachers need tenure?
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Old 02-18-07, 01:36 PM
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How much money do schools give to Apple each year?
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Old 02-18-07, 01:44 PM
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Apparently, not enough.

Steve J. tried to convince teachers around the country that iPods and iPhones are necessary teaching instruments.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 02-18-07 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 02-18-07, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Duran
Why exactly do K-12 teachers need tenure?
That's the subject of a different debate. The article at hand mentions teacher unions, which are totally separate from tenure protection.
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Old 02-18-07, 02:04 PM
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Principals do evaluate teachers, sometimes based on very subjective and ill-defined metrics, sometimes not... but it takes an absolutely horrendous evaluation to actually get a pre-continuing contract teacher fired. And to get a continuing contract teacher fired, the teacher basically has to be found guilty of some sort of gross negligence or crime. This is primarily because there is such a dearth of qualified applicants that if the school system let all of the ineffective teachers go you'd have class sizes of 50 or 60 students or more.
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Old 02-18-07, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
How much money do schools give to Apple each year?
One of the teachers in the department I student taught in last spring is the head of the union in that district, he's also one of those people who swear by Apple and when they redid his room the year before he was able to get money to put 12 new G4s in his classroom. I should email him and see what he has to say
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Old 02-18-07, 02:29 PM
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You do that.
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Old 02-18-07, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
I'm still not seeing where the teacher's union plays a role in the principal's evaluation.
They play a role in what the evaluation form looks like, what the steps are for a teacher who is unsatisfactory, etc.
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Old 02-18-07, 03:18 PM
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While I don't truely agree with the wording he uses, I do agree in the higher level thought process that teachers should be paid based on performance like every other worker in the US. Some teachers are, and that is good. Others are not and should be.

There are many, many issues with public schools. Unions are just one issue.
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Old 02-18-07, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
They play a role in what the evaluation form looks like, what the steps are for a teacher who is unsatisfactory, etc.
Yes, these points are negotiated with the Board of Education. My original point was that the BOE deliberately gives the principal no power. One look at an eval form or requirements should make this obvious.
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Old 02-18-07, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
How many "failing" evaluations does your principal give out per year?
As best as I could tell, she gave out one last year.
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Old 02-18-07, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
That's the subject of a different debate. The article at hand mentions teacher unions, which are totally separate from tenure protection.
The article at hand also discusses the difficulty of firing K-12 teachers. That would make a debate on tenure rather relevant.
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Old 02-19-07, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Yes, these points are negotiated with the Board of Education. My original point was that the BOE deliberately gives the principal no power. One look at an eval form or requirements should make this obvious.
Deliberately?

Maybe your area has different forms than mine. If you have a competant principal, you can get rid of a teacher that sucks in about 2 years.
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Old 02-19-07, 12:11 PM
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They should have the students fill out evaluation forms for their teachers, and fire the ones that are highly rated -- since these are the ones who are obviously diddling the little buggers.
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Old 02-19-07, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Deliberately?

Maybe your area has different forms than mine. If you have a competant principal, you can get rid of a teacher that sucks in about 2 years.
2 years?!
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Old 02-19-07, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Duran
2 years?!
Yeah. Basically you get a poor review. Then you give the teacher a "plan of assistance" so that they can learn to do their job. You continue to evaluate with the plan of assistance in place. If they continue to do poorly, you can fire them for cause. If they ever show improvement, or get a satisfactory review, you have to start over.
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