Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Apple takes a bite out of teachers.

Usually it's the other way around. Teachers are taking bites out of apples. However, Steve Jobs recently spoke alongside Michael Dell at an education reform conference last week and Jobs decided it was time to take a bite out of education.

Jobs' problem with education? Teacher unions who help keep teachers who are not effective in the classroom. Principals who can't get rid of teachers who are too lazy to do their job. He compared schools to businesses when he asked, "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 blamed the unions.

I agree to a point that the unions are part of the problem. The second problem? There's a teacher shortage, so we have to keep all teachers we have to make sure there is a body in every classroom. Plus, while there are laws for businesses to follow, they don't have outsiders sticking their nose in their business. How would Jobs feel if educators told HIM how to run Apple? I think Jobs is the right man for running Apple. A teacher is the right person for running the classroom and the principal the right person for the school. If only the politicians could find something more interesting to change every 4 -8 years.

Jobs went on to give his vision for education. He said more technology is not going to make a difference until principals can fire bad teachers, but he did have some interesting ideas about the curriculum. For one, instead of spending so much money on textbooks, adopt free, online information source that is constantly updated by experts. Pearson, are you reading this? Get on the ball! Why don't you create a subscription based site with the textbook uploaded electronically and is constantly updated, an area to ask an expert, links to current articles, podcasts, and blogs, along with research/learning activities to encourage the use of effective technology in the classroom? I bet a subscription to NetTrekker would still be less expensive, but it would require teachers to think and plan still.

On another note, a good friend and colleague has entered the blog-o'sphere. I'd like to give a shout out to Rachel Amstutz of the new blog: Excursions in Education.

1 comment:

Teryl said...

Okay, I'll be the first to comment on this one. I will hvae to agree with the Apple side of this issue. I know we are short on teachers, but I think there are many in the profession who get complacent. Tenure is something that is used as a shield for some. Principals are not given the option to fire those who have become ineffective. In our district they just shift the problems around calling it an "administrative transfer." I don't even think I believe in tenure. Teachers have the bad reputation of being a whiney bunch of people, and I think a recent example of it comes from the restructuring of the DEN. If we want to be treated as professionals, then maybe we (as a group) need to act more like professionals. Luckily enough for us, for all of the bad apples out there, there are at least two more good apples that outweigh the bad one. I'm sure I'm not making any teacher friends with this post, but isn't that what blogging is all about...expressing opinions and having people respond to them?