Steve Jobs: Computers won’t fix schools

Technology can’t fix education, Steve Jobs said. He also strongly supported school choice, notes Jay Greene on Ed Next.

“I used to think when I was in my twenties that technology was the solution to most of the world’s problems, but unfortunately it just ain’t so,” Jobs said in a 1995 Smithsonian interview.

We need to attack these things at the root, which is people and how much freedom we give people, the competition that will attract the best people. Unfortunately, there are side effects, like pushing out a lot of 46 year old teachers who lost their spirit fifteen years ago and shouldn’t be teaching anymore. I feel very strongly about this. I wish it was as simple as giving it over to the computer….

As you’ve pointed out I’ve helped with more computers in more schools than anybody else in the world and I absolutely convinced that is by no means the most important thing. The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can. The elements of discovery are all around you. You don’t need a computer.

As an entrepreneur, Jobs fired people who didn’t come up to his very high standards. He thought schools should not tolerate mediocre teachers.

Jobs attended public schools in Cupertino, California — now a very high-performing district — but dropped out of Reed College in his first year.

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  1. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Steve Jobs was a very smart fellow. Not an education expert, but a very smart fellow.

    He’s almost certainly right, too.

  2. Considering the state of the public education system versus the state of the computer industry it’s not hard to determine who has what to teach who.

  3. The late,great Steve Jobs was absolutely correct. Technology can’t fix education.