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Location: California, United States

I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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A Feast For Crows
This latest installment of Gearge R. R. Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice" series isn't quite as gripping as the previous books but is still a pretty good read.

Book 10 in the Sword of Truth series continues to keep the reader riveted while repeatedly emphasizing the duty and importance of self defense.

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A follow up to Guns, Germs, and Steel that explains the geographic, environmental and socio-economic reasons that can cause civilizations and communities to collapse.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Teachers Threaten Jobs With "Rotten Apple" Award

Last week Apple CEO Steve Jobs was invited to speak at a conference put on by the Texas Public Education Reform Foundation in Austin. Apparently, teachers didn't like what they heard, as they are now threating to create a "Rotten Apple" award and issue it to him if he doesn't either make a public apology or come discuss the issue further at another conference. Here's a quote from the story in the title link:
Should Jobs fail to apologize or neglect to attend the conference, where he is encouraged to speak with the people who educate California's children and hear from them what the situation is like, the CFT will create a new award specifically for Apple's chief. "We'll call it the Rotten Apple, for the individual who best personifies the need to think differently about public education and teacher unions," California Federation of Teachers president Mary Bergan wrote in a letter to the executive.
For those not familiar with the story, here are some of the remarks that triggered this reaction (taken from
"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," he charged. "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."
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.' "
I think Jobs made an excellent point and has nothing to apologize for. Enraged teachers should take a moment and give these harsh remarks their due consideration. Teachers often argue that the problem is lack of funding, meager salaries and excessive interference from State and Federal regulations. While these are all probably true, much of the blame for these issues can be laid at the feet of the unions. Here's why:

First of all, the unions represent the teachers. If most educators feel that they are underpaid and that their union is not making a good enough collective bargain, they should find a way to either improve or get rid of the union. The entire purpose of the union is to give the teachers greater bargaining power and political clout, and if it's not getting the job done they should stop supporting the union and seek a different approach.

Secondly, the teachers unions are a tremendously power political force. CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger learned the truth of this when a union sponsored advertising campaign caused him to lose on all of his ballot initiatives in last year's special election. These unions are well organized, well funded and are able to greatly influence who is elected to office. Many of the people who are making decisions about education on a state and federal level are people who partially owe their positions to union supporters. If the unions aren't using their power to get the right people elected, they are not serving the interests of the educators and are proving themselves to be useless. If teachers hate the admittedly horrible "No Child Left Behind" policy, they should get their unions to hammer on politicians until it is repealed rather than defend the unions against criticism.

Nobody likes to receive a slap in the face from a guest speaker, but if the teachers felt that Jobs was worth inviting to this conference before he made these remarks, they should give his words due consideration before responding with an off the cuff and retaliatory reaction. Don't forget that the entire purpose of the conference was to discuss the reform of public education, and reforming any policy or institution often requires people to face painful truths. It's a shame that Jobs' candor will probably be punished by further attacks and a decline in the purchasing of Apple products by public schools.



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