Friday, June 29, 2007

The Rotten Apple, Inc.

"I believe that what's 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, Founder and CEO of Apple, Inc. From:

Steve Jobs seems to have had an epiphany regarding what ails education. It's the slacker teachers who enjoy tenure and seniority through union contracts. They stifle innovation and creativity; the kind we would see in the great Man of the Century, Albert Einstein, whose image Apple has exploited in its "Think Different" campaign.

However, there are a few things Mr. Jobs doesn't know. 1. Albert Einstein was a founding member of the Princeton, New Jersey chapter of MY UNION: The American Federation of Teachers. He believed strongly in unions and thought intellectual workers especially needed to belong to them.

"I consider it important, indeed urgently necessary, for intellectual workers to get together, both to protect their own economic status and, also generally speaking, to secure their influence in the political field." Albert Einstein

The second point of Mr. Job's ignorance is that he presumes teachers are so coddled that they remain in the profession for a lifetime. The truth is that the job is so stressful teacher turnover is rampant. As this story shows the teacher supply problem is a myth. The challenge is keeping them in the classroom. 

Add to this the poor environmental record of Apple. While its laptops are as toxic as the next guy's or worse, their labor record also leaves a lot to be desired. Apple scored lowest on Greenpeace's rating system for environmental record.

If that's not enough, with the release of the new Apple i-Phone you have to subscribe to AT&T for your service. The same AT&T that turned over your telephone records to the NSA without a court warrant. The same AT&T that helps the U.S. government spy on us by providing the technical infrastructure to do so.

As an educator who was using the Internet in the classroom years before the WWW, one who has published in the area of new media in the classroom and works as an adjunct professor helping new and in-service teachers develop their practice along these lines, I take personal exception to Mr. Job's remarks. My teaching tenure allowed me and others in NYC early on to blaze a trail on using the Internet as an instructional tool; all at a time when bureaucrats were discouraging us to do so. Today we have corporate bureaucrats (like Jobs) with a plantation mentality running the NYC educational system. As a result, there's even less freedom of experimentation than there was in the early days (early 1990s) of our use of the Interent in the classroom.
Don't buy the hype. Apple projects a hip liberal-friendly image. In reality, they're just another corporation out to maximize profit, throwing principle to the wind. Educators and other freedom-loving people should think twice before doing business with Apple.


ed notes online said...

Way to go, though I'm still going to use Macs. I'm sure our small school guru Bill Gates and Jobs are in perfect accord in their attitudes. Linux anyone?

NYC Educator said...

Yuk. I signed up with Cingular, now ATT, largely on the basis of their unionized work force.

Lexi Dunay said...

Are you going to get rid of your iPod?

John Elfrank-Dana said...


I think it's redeeming that they use unionied workers. That is a good thing; albiet probably not Job's preference.

John Elfrank-Dana said...


I will still use it until it breaks and then my SOMETHING ELSE!