R.I.P. Steve Jobs, Sensible and Courageous Voice for Education Reform, Too

A couple days ago we lost a great American entrepreneur: Steve Jobs. A million words have been offered up to commemorate his untimely passing, and the tremendous impact his genius and innovation have had on our society and our daily lives. There’s not much more I can say. I’m too young to remember life before the iPod and iPhone, and certainly before the personal computer.

But here’s a perspective you may not have seen yet. Writing at Education Next, Dr. Jay Greene brings our attention to some of the things Jobs had to say about education reform. Here’s just a snippet, from a 1995 interview:

…But it pains me because we do know how to provide a great education. We really do. We could make sure that every young child in this country got a great education. We fallfar short of that…. The problem there of course is the unions. The unions are the worst thing that ever happened to education because it’s not a meritocracy. It turns into a bureaucracy, which is exactly what has happened. The teachers can’t teach and administrators run the place and nobody can be fired. It’s terrible.

Dr. Greene goes on to remind readers how Jobs was rather exceptional among successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in that he abandoned neither keen sense nor courage in making pronouncements about the problems and prescriptions for schools. He took on a controversy that could have cost business for his company, yet he persevered and succeeded anyway. Just one more reason why this exceptional man will be missed.