The Politically Incorrect Steve Jobs on Public Education

 American has a two-tier public education system. It works likes this.

Those who live in the “right”areas get the best teachers, clean schools with great facilities and all the resources they need to succeed. Every child has a textbook, there are many engaging extra curricular activities. Their parents have enough time after work to be involved in their children’s education.

These kids are on the “track” that leads to the best colleges and the good life.

Those who live in the “wrong” areas get the worst teachers, dirty schools with peeling paint and ugly mobile classrooms that look like World War II barracks taking up their playgrounds. They can’t take textbooks home for study because there are not enough for each child to have one. Their exhausted parents work two or three jobs just to keep a roof over the family’s head. They don’t have the energy to be involved in their child’s school, and even if they did, the school ignores the parents and refuses to listen to them.

These kids are “throwaway” kids. They are on a “track” that leads to gangs, drugs, teen pregnancy, fast food jobs, and for many of them, prison. 

Education in this country, which should be a way of offering opportunity for every child, has become a means of creating and perpetuating a new upper class. Education isolates people into separate spheres with separate futures. Some are fed royal jelly. Others are shunted to the bottom before they even start in life.

In this old video from the days after he left Apple and before he came back to Apple, Steve Jobs sat down for a free-ranging interview. He talked a lot about education, and as usual, his comments reflected his own brand of independent thinking. I think he raised points that we all need to consider.

Have a look and decide for yourself what you think of his ideas.

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  • Theodore Seeber

    We really need to think about Catholic education in this country as well. In my city, the tuition rates are so high and special needs instructors so few, that Catholic schools have become very much college track schools for the rich, under-serving the poor and lower middle class and not serving special needs students at all.

    Luckily for me our local public schools have an excellent special needs program. Unluckily, that means I need to step up the Catholic education at home- which is a challenge with a kid who has dyslexia and cerebral palsy.