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Mix: Teacher unions, Apple TV video, EMI, Sirius-XM

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, February 19, 2007
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Speaking at an education reform conference last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs criticized teacher unions, saying public schools would not improve until principals could fire bad teachers.

Graphic design firm Logan has posted screenshots of the startup movie for the Apple TV, which is scheduled to ship before the end of the month.

Jon Healey of the Los Angeles Times reports that EMI may have been planning to offer its catalog of music in DRM-free MP3 format before Apple CEO Steve Jobs penned his recent open letter on copy protection.

Satellite radio giants Sirius and XM announced today that the two companies will be combined in an all-stock merger with a combined enterprise value of approximately $13 billion. A company press release listed the iPod as one of the combined company’s many existing competitors, rather than potential partners, with new wireless and radio technologies expected to follow suit.

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Comments

1

amen steve! he’s so right!

Posted by christine on February 19, 2007 at 3:30 PM (PDT)

2

all private schools FTW!

Posted by OnlyShawn on February 19, 2007 at 3:31 PM (PDT)

3

Neither the second link nor the hompage of the site works.

Posted by LukeA on February 19, 2007 at 4:21 PM (PDT)

4

Apple Helped How?
... and how did Steve Jobs represent Apple as a solution to the issues confronting education?
On Apple’s time Steve Jobs should propose methods and procedures Apple is capable of bringing to the challenges faced by members of EDUCAUSE.
What ever his personal philosophies may be that influence how he prefers to spend his own money I wish he’d check them at the door.
Steve was invited to showcase Apple’s vision for the education market. He was not invited to quarrel with or slander attendees.
On this day he was part of the problem, not part of Apple’s solution. He needs to keep these Bad days to a minimum.

Posted by Benton on February 19, 2007 at 5:56 PM (PDT)

5

benton, do you have a link to the proceedings at the conference?  the link provided above only provided a couple of quotes from what was presented by steve and michael.  i am also curious as to what contributions he and michael proposed to advance education reform.  however, what little was quoted of him do seem to suggest ways the education system could be reformed…

Posted by gho_vpod on February 19, 2007 at 6:01 PM (PDT)

6

I whole-heartedly agree with Steve on the education issue.  My parents are, or were, both teachers before they retired.  From what I understand, the only way to get rid of a bad teacher is to have them get a transfer or promote them to administration.  According to my parents, one of the main reasons Kenny Guinn, former governor of Nevada became an administrator was because he was a bad teacher.  I’m not sure they liked him much as governor either.

Anyway, the US public education system is broken in many ways, but I think the inability to fire bad teachers is one of the main cancers in the system.

Posted by Jeremy on February 19, 2007 at 7:11 PM (PDT)

7

i agree 100% with the teacher thing, but why would he need to say that in the first place? and how is it relevant to anything?

Posted by Papa Hobo on February 19, 2007 at 7:53 PM (PDT)

8

Because, as the first line of the artcle states, Jobs was speaking at an education reform conference last week, which makes his comments highly relevant.

Posted by jarof chris on February 19, 2007 at 8:35 PM (PDT)

9

As a young male educator in a non-union state I wish I had a union backing me.  First, for better wages and benefits, but also due to the fact that I am a young male teacher.  All I need is one students to start a rumor and my school district could see me as a liability and fire me.  I know I made the choice to teach where I am teaching, and I am not complaining because I love my job regardless of the money I make (or don’t make) but until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes it’s a bit difficult to fully judge.  Just because you went to school from age 5 until 18 (or 22 or whenever) does not make you an expert on education as a profession.  Yes, I agree that bad teachers need to be fired, but good teachers also need someone to protect them.  There certainly are many problems with public education in the US.  We are professionals, many of us with advanced degress, but are often not regarded as professionals.  Until educators are treated as professionals I don’t think we can expect to attract the best and the brightest like other professions do.

Posted by mc123 on February 20, 2007 at 12:13 PM (PDT)

10

As a product of public schools, and witness to more than my share of bad teachers, I do not see why Steve requires some background in education to state the obvious. 

Unions do not help, they just organize the lobby efforts—and cut fat checks to politicians.  If they served any real purpose, teachers would be paid as well as auto workers.

If it’s broke, FIX IT!

Posted by Gordy. in Atlanta, GA on February 20, 2007 at 1:43 PM (PDT)

11

may I edit the last post to read: and cut fat checks to politicians, of a certain political party..  smile

Posted by TLo on February 20, 2007 at 1:47 PM (PDT)

12

mc123…if, by “treated as professionals” you mean “paid more than pee”, then yes, you won’t attract the best and brightest until that happens.

And that’s not going to begin to happen until you have a real, honest, healthy industry that rewards success and weeds out failure.  Free market.  Non-Union. Privatized.

Posted by OnlyShawn on February 20, 2007 at 6:01 PM (PDT)

13

Wow!  So it was the teachers fault all of this time.  Here I thought it was the funding.  Thanks, Steve-o!  I can’t wait until he clears up health care for me.

Posted by superape on February 20, 2007 at 6:24 PM (PDT)

14

Did you ever notice most people who bad mouth unions are those who are jealous of the protections and benefits unions afford?

Jobs better worry that the slave labor building his Macs and iPods in third world countries don’t become unionized. Maybe his and his shareholders’ pockets would not be bulging as much as they are now.

And, by the way - who says “bad” teachers can’t be fired? That’s a real crock of BS. If school adminstrators were doing their job, “bad” teachers could be removed.

Posted by Bill on February 20, 2007 at 9:44 PM (PDT)

15

Apple TV looks great! Can’t wait to get mine!!
http://www.applehdtv.net

Posted by Shane on February 21, 2007 at 7:55 AM (PDT)

16

Bill, you’re right.  If administrators were doing their jobs bad teachers WOULD be fired.  In my building, the bad teachers ARE fired.  It’s not a surprise when a teacher’s contract is not renewed.

OnlyShawn, when I say “treated like professionals” I am speaking more toward the credit and respect that is given to us.  For example, teachers have hundreds of people scrutinizing their every move on a daily basis as if they don’t know what they’re doing.  It goes back to my idea that since every parent has gone through at least some schooling, they are experts on what should be taking place in the classroom.  It’s simply because we all have experience with education that we can be so critical of the teachers.  The teachers that I know and work with are all incredibly dedicated and hard working professionals.  But of course it’s our fault that the education system is broken in America.  It’s not the awful parenting that puts absolutely no responsibility on the part of the student.  It’s not the fact that some students do absolutely NO practice outside of the 47 minutes each day that I see them.  Because when a student doesn’t succeed it is automatically the teacher’s fault.  Our society is always looking for a scapegoat, and the teacher is the obvious answer in this equation.  Not the lack of resources, lack of support outside of school, or apathy of the student.  It’s definitely the percentage (whatever that may be) of “bad” teachers that are ruining the American education system.

Gordy, I never said Jobs couldn’t “state the obvious.”  I simply said in order to “fully judge” I believe you need to be in the position in question, like I am.  I was merely stating my opinion just as Jobs was stating his.  I love open debate and discussion as long as it is intelligent (not that I am saying the discussion in this forum is unintelligent).

Posted by mc123 on February 21, 2007 at 11:59 AM (PDT)

17

for some discussion of unionized “benefits”, I offer Thomas Sowell:

http://tinyurl.com/398lq5

Posted by OnlyShawn on February 21, 2007 at 12:58 PM (PDT)

18

I’m not, incidentally, saying it’s the teacher’s fault.  It’s the fault of the non-efficient public school system.  Despite spending more than twice as much (wikipedia fact alert) per student than private schools, there is no measurable gain, and a TON of measurable red tape. 

As a teacher, you’ve got no clear direction, no clear assessment of whether your teaching is working or not.  The private market would give you this assessment, because underperforming teachers and schools would cease to function, or be forced to reform.

The ‘bad’ teachers that you’re talking about would be weeded out or forced to change under a private system.  The public school system is effectively a monopoly, and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how monopolies stifle innovation and harm consumers (in this case, the children).

Posted by OnlyShawn on February 21, 2007 at 1:09 PM (PDT)

19

The notion that subjecting our schools to the sort of “healthy” ecosystem that plauges our private sector would result in anything but worse schools is a crock. Without the job security, guaranteed salary raises, and benefits does anyone here think that there would be people flocking to teach? It is not the unions that are the problem, they’re pretty much the only reason why there are as many good teachers as there are.

If anything is a problem in our education, it’s that we’ve made it nearly impossible for good people who want to teach to do so. Using myself as an example: I tried to teach high school biology and AP biology last year. I have my M.S. in the biological sciences, more than seven years of professional experience in biological research, I passed all of the qualifying exams to become a teacher (including earning honors on the biology subject matter as well as placing in the top 3% for communications skills). However, because of applying these private sector type assessments, I couldn’t find work as a teacher. Seems our President with his no-child left behind standards that “guarantee” good teachers has made it so that you can only become a teacher by having an education degree and that if you don’t there are only a handful of alternate routes, all understaffed and underfunded. I had numerous school administrators at an educational job fair say they would love to hire me on the spot but couldn’t because NCLB would fine them and the school district for letting someone like me into the system without jumping through all the red tape.

So I jumped and jumped and by the time the school year had started, I was still jumping, but the only thing I ever got offered was a long term sub position which I couldn’t take because I was forced to find other employment.

So, if you want to point fingers, point at the politicians and business wizzes that already have too much input on how the system should work.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on February 22, 2007 at 8:32 AM (PDT)

20

I’m still puzzled by this notion that we should give more power to *managers* (that’s what a school administrator is)... Every workforce survey I have been able to find has shown a lack of trust in management, high levels of perceived incompetence, and a general dissatisfaction with managers. So the solution to education is to give more power to managers?

That makes little sense to me…


In regards to 2x spending at Public Schools vs Private Schools, there’s a lot of truth to that statistic… however, it fails to account for one *major* difference.

That figure includes disabled, special education, special needs, and other students who are outside the mainstream. Public schools are required to service these students at any cost. Often times, public schools are sued to increase the level of service they provide these students.

Private schools, in general, have fewer of the special needs students and have fewer legal requirements to service these students.

Of the 3 or 4 private schools that I know of who service special-needs students, all of them receive signfiicant government subsidies to keep that per-student cost down.


Why do private schools appear to do it cheaper? Well, they spend their $$ on mainstream students only… They don’t have to pay for interpretors, special education aides, handlers, etc.

If you subtract that from public school spending, the per student spending gets very competative…

Posted by Cellulose on February 22, 2007 at 3:05 PM (PDT)

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