Ok, so Steve Jobs, the guy who invented the friggin’ iPod (have you heard of it?), took a stand at the School Reform Conference and said that teacher’s unions are the big problem. Nothing crazy there, really, but truly, the morons are coming out of the woodwork to say that Jobs isn’t connected with reality on this.
As evidence, the first asshat of the day, Leander Kahney, of Wired News complains about the fact that Jobs, who sends his kids to private schools, doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and posits that Jobs must want us to send education to the “non-union Chinese factories that build his iPods” because, well, there was that sweat-shop scandal a while back. And then, immediately next in his article, he has this gem:
The issues are many and complex, and yes, there is a problem with firing incompetent or indifferent teachers, but it is not the number one reason schools are failing. It’s not even in the top 10.
In California, the most pressing problems are schools that are the too big, too bureaucratic and chronically under funded. Teachers are criminally low paid and under trained. Education — and school funding — has become solely about test scores.
Look at Number 2 in that list. Well, gee, Mr. Kahney, do you think, perhaps, that since the bureaucrats are also part of that same organization called the NEA, also known as a Teacher’s Union, that you might be an asshat? I certainly think so.
As an aside, I’ve been working with some high school drama classes lately, teaching them about how theater is different than film, and showing all the various things they have to take into account when telling a story via motion picture. I was stunned to find out that my drama teacher, who I’m working with, has been told that she can’t fail kids, and must consider them “the customer”. She was told this by the principal, who was informed of this broad change by the superintendant. But they don’t mean “the customer, who is shopping for the best value” which would have been fine. They meant “the customer, who is always right” which, when you’re trying to teach, is an impossible situation to deal with. Of all the ways they could emulate a corporation, they chose the pedantic, unrealistic and completely dysfunctional one. Great.