Steve Jobs Has Guts

This makes me even happier to be a Mac owner/user.

In a speech on Friday, the chief executive officer of Apple and Disney honcho declared: "I believe that what's wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way."

The problem with unionization, Mr. Jobs argued, is that it has constrained schools from attracting and retaining the best teachers and from dismissing the less effective ones. This, in turn, deters quality people from seeking to become principals and superintendents. "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,'" Mr. Jobs said. He concluded by saying, "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

1 comment:

Paul Hue said...

Six: I agree that this is a problem, and that Jobs has guts for stating it. However, I don't place it near the top of the list (though this perhaps renders impossible the other changes that I see as more important).

The worst problems are:

1. Teachers lack degrees in authentic intellectual subjects. Fix: require all teachers to have "real" university degrees.
2. The curricula reflects the intellectual poverty of the teachers: lots of "electives" and fluff time. Fix: Basics-only curricula, with "trade schools" available for teen students who lack interest in obtaining a "high school" eduction.
3. Compulsory attendance, even for refractory students. Fix: day care holding pens for refractory students to goof-off all day, with option to attend classes at those sites to earn their way back into schools.
4. High schools used as sports entertainment franchises. Fix: move all competitive sports to nearby rec centers.
5. School sizes increase as the grades increase. For example, elementary schools are small, and correctly sized. Middle schools are larger, and high schools have become unmanageably gargantuan. This serves only two goals, neither of which is optimal academic progress: Fielding better sports teams (the bigger the student body, the better quality athletes you get in the fraction who qualify for varsity squads) and enabling more fluffy electives to accommodate uneducated teachers. Fix: after eliminating electives and interscholastic sports, this enables us to restrict the sizes of all schools to those of elementary schools.

If government schools implemented these changes, we could obtain excellence even with unionized workers and without school vouchers I believe. The problem is: without vouchers and with govt teachers all unionized, are any of the above changes possible? Perhaps only vouchers can facilitate any of the above changes.