Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Leander Kahney is an idiot

Not that it's news, I suppose, but his latest bit of Jobs-hate is just laughable. In an article entitled "Steve Jobs, Proud to be Non-Union", which sounds like something to be proud of in my books anyway, he's in full swing, displaying a masterly lack of sense.

The teachers' unions, Jobs believes, are ruining America's schools because they prevent bad teachers from being fired.

Well? Isn't that what any sane person believes? Apparently not:

I know for a fact that Jobs' ideas about unions are absurd, he's-on-a-different-planet bullshit.

Hmmm, tough talk. Let's see some facts:

But don't you love it when a billionaire who sends his own kids to private school applies half-baked business platitudes to complex problems like schools?

Would those be the same half-baked platitudes which have seen Apple's stock price go up like a rocket? But of course, building and selling simple little things like iPods and MacBooks are nothing compared with the complex problem of, um, teaching kids to read and write. (How long have we as a civilisation been doing that? Three thousand years? More?) In fact, it's such a complex problem, more and more Americans are doing it themselves, at home. Just like those Americans building their own MP3 players and laptops at home.

And don't you love it when some smug journo slips in the "sends his own kids to a private school" bit. Hello, moron: that's the whole point. Private schools are run to give a good education, by hiring the best teachers. That's why people who can afford to, send their kids to them. By restoring choice to parents who cannot afford to do so, you could get some of the same benefits in the public school system.

Jobs has also been a long-time advocate of a school voucher system, another ridiculous idea based on the misplaced faith that the mythical free market will fix schools by giving parents choice.

Ah, isn't it wonderful to dismiss realities you don't like by labelling them "mythical"? And why isn't Steve grateful to the State which created his company and anointed him CEO? That's what happened, right? Because there's no free market? And who are these stupid parents to want choice, anyway? Choice is fine for choosing a Big Mac or a QuarterPounder, but education is too important to be left to their simple little minds; only the State in its infinite wisdom can decide for them.

Well, Leander, here's a suggestion: why don't you emigrate to the socialist holy land, Sweden? Whoops, scratch that: Sweden has a school voucher system! The horrors!

Kahney then goes wittering on about the real crisis in education being caused by the awful disparities in income in the US, as evidenced by a crackpot UNICEF report which was comprehensively demolished by The Times. The UN, lying. I know. Who'd have thought?

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