Steve Jobs: On Education

President Obama was fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Steve Jobs in October of 2010. In that meeting, Jobs shared his opinions about the current US education system. As written by Walter Isaacson in his biography, Steve Jobs:

Jobs also attacked America’s education system, saying that it was hopelessly antiquated and crippled by union work rules. Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform. Teachers should be treated as professionals, he said, not as industrial assembly-line workers. Principals should be able to hire and fire them based on how good they were. Schools should be staying open until at least 6 p.m. and be in session eleven months of the year. It was absurd, he added, that American classrooms were still based on teachers standing at a board and using textbooks. All books, learning materials, and assessments should be digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time. (Isaacson, p. 544)

Education was something Jobs thought about often. Even in his final encounter with Bill Gates, Steve asked him about this subject:

Jobs asked some questions about education, and Gates sketched out his vision of what schools in the future would be like, with students watching lectures and video lessons on their own while using the classroom for discussion and problem solving. They agreed that computers had, so far, made surprisingly little impact on schools–far less than on other realms of society such as media, and medicine and law. For that to change, Gates said, computers and mobile devices would have to focus on delivering more personalized lessons and providing motivational feedback. (Isaacson, p. 553)

Isaacson, Walter. Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.
Image Credit: L.A. Times Technology Blog

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