Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

February 18, 2007

So who would work for Apple?

Filed under: Education reform, Teacher issues — texased @ 1:29 pm

What kind of person could you get to make broad, sweeping statements on topics about which he’s obviously seriously uninformed? Steve Jobs.

Apple CEO Jobs attacks teacher unions | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle:

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.

Regardless of the situation in other states, public schools have more than enough authority to get rid of bad teachers in Texas. I would love for Jobs to give one example where a Texas public school could not fire a teacher even though they have documentation to prove the person is incompetent.

Notice, I used the word “documentation.” I think Michael Dell is much closer to the truth.

Apple CEO Jobs attacks teacher unions | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle:

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

If a principal does her job appropriately, she can get rid of an ineffective teacher. We’re not talking about mounds of documentation here. Does Steve Jobs just walk up to an employee and fire him without first notifying him of performance problems? Surely he expects his managers to notify employees there is a problem and give them the opportunity to improve before being fired?

Or is Apple so successful that it can afford to train and invest in new employees to replace those fired without trying to improve performance and protect the investment already made in that employee? After all, what kind of person is going to be willing to work for a company that fires employees with giving them a chance to address their short-comings? I thinkI would go apply for a job at Dell.



  1. I’m happy to hear that principals can really fire bad teachers in Texas. Unfortunately, in California where Steve Jobs is from, that just isn’t the case. We have districts paying off teachers in 6 figures in order to get them to leave because it is less expensive that trying to fight with them. While perhaps Steve’s comments are appropriate for Texas, they certain are for California.

    Comment by Dave Johnston — February 21, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  2. That’s the point. I can’t speak for California because I know that their system is different from ours. Furthermore, being able to fire the teachers isn’t going to solve the problems as evidenced by the situation in Texas–we are still trying to reform the system. So what are you going to do when you can finally get rid of the teachers and find that you still have problems?

    Comment by texased — February 25, 2007 @ 10:56 am

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