Our friend Pete the Finance Guy forwarded us the following information. A similar article can also be found on the Star-Telegram website.
The "Issues and Insights" page of Investors Business Daily, February 26 edition carried an excellent piece, which opened with:
"Steve Jobs recently addressed a forum on education reform in Austin TX. Jobs could contain his tough diagnosis no longer", according to the editorial:
" 'I believe what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way,' Jobs charged. "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the charts crazy."
The editorial continues:
"It was what you'd call a throat-clearing moment. Absorbing Job's comment, the room erupted into applause, even as another panelist, competitor Michael Dell, sat politely nearby. Assessing his impolitic outburst, Jobs grinned: "Apple just lost some business in this state, I'm sure."
"Maybe more than that. The Associated Press carried the story across the fruited plain. In teachers' lounges throughout the 50 states, iPod earplugs popped onto slumped shoulders as tenured pedagogues pondered life without their precious Macs.
"Jobs said a little more on the subject, comparing school principals to corporate 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 answered himself to uproarious applause: "Not really great ones because if you're really smart, you go, 'I can't win.'"
"It took the estimable Dell seconds to seize some good will:
"Unions were created," Dell argued, "because the employer was treating his employees unfairly and that was not good. So now you have these enterprises where they take good care of their people. The employees won, they do really well and succeed."
"Dell vaguely prescribed a shot of competitive spirit to be imbibed by the school principals' employment market. So the longtime Jobs-Dell rivalry now rises from the respective merits of their products to the historic debate over organized labor's contributions-or lack thereof-to our economic health.
"It's a debate worth reviving, as has been discovered by the academic blogosphere, where one commentator even accused Jobs of abandoning corporate responsibility to Apple's shareholders by alienating such a large market for his computers.
"It's hard to know if Jobs intended such bluntness beforehand, but that kind of impromptu bravery should be saluted. Apple's chief has struggled lately with his own set of compensation issues, enough to have interested regulators, so he could be charged with diversionary bravado.
"But he adds his vision to other critics -- futurist Alvin Toffler and Microsoft's Bill Gates come to mind -- who've called for replacing government schools as we know them with a system friendlier to market principles.
"Jobs may be overenthusiastic about the prospect of scrapping textbooks for online, Wikipedia-like educational content. But he does grasp, tatter than most unionized and tenured end majors, the mental cybernetices of learning.
"His ideas are at least dynamic, theirs static. He's now advanced the revolution, deserving cheers far beyond that Texas auditorium."
Quote of the Day
" 'I believe what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way. "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the charts crazy." Steve Jobs