Rupert Murdoch (The Educator?) Invokes Steve Jobs

Controversial media tycoon Rupert Murdoch was in San Francisco on Friday, October 14, but he wasn’t talking about Fox News or News Corporation or the phone-hacking scandal that erupted last summer. As the latest non-educator who thinks he can tell teachers how to teach, Murdoch was addressing the National Summit on Education Reform at the invitation of a nonprofit run by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

The organization is the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which champions reforms such as charter schools, performance pay for teachers, more standardized tests, and vouchers; many educators believe that the group’s chief goal is to privatize education by turning it into a business and thus doing away with public education entirely.

Teachers Protest Murdoch’s Presence

Understandably, there were protests by teachers throughout the conference outside the Palace Hotel, site of the gathering. And inside.

From The Associated Press:

Protesters associated with the Occupy SF and Occupy Wall Street movement heckled News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch during a speech at an education forum in San Francisco.

Murdoch was repeatedly interrupted Friday as he talked at a downtown hotel about technology’s role in improving the country’s public education system.

Protesters accused Murdoch of trying to profit from the public education system. About half a dozen people were escorted out of the hotel, but they said they were not arrested.

Rupert Murdoch trying to make a profit? Surely not! Although, wait, hasn’t he said that he sees the American education sector as a $500 billion market that’s largely been untapped by companies like his?

Murdoch Invokes Steve Jobs, Bay Area Icon

In his speech, Murdoch had the nerve (or the brilliance?) to invoke Steve Jobs. Here’s what he had to say about Jobs, as first reported in Mother Jones:

He was a Silicon Valley liberal who believed that monopolies like our public school system do not work – and therefore that parents deserved school vouchers for their children. He was a man who spent his life on technology, yet knew that the teacher was more important than the computer. He once explained our public school system this way:

“I remember seeing a bumper sticker when the telephone company was all one. I remember seeing a bumper sticker with the Bell Logo on it and it said ‘We don’t care. We don’t have to.’ And that’s what a monopoly is. That’s what IBM was in their day. And that’s certainly what the public school system is. They don’t have to care.”

Well, we have to care. In this new century, good is not good enough. Our children are our destiny. We have wasted enough time. At stake now is the defining promise of the American Dream: the promise of upward mobility for each new generation.
Put simply we must approach education the way Steve Jobs approached every industry he touched. To be willing to blow up what doesn’t work or gets in the way. And to make our bet that if we can engage a child’s imagination, there’s no limit to what he or she can learn.


But The Protest Continued

Maybe it was a smart move to invoke the image of Steve Jobs. As a teacher, I have certainly taken advantage of Apple’s discounts for educators, and enjoyed using my MacBook and my iPad as teaching tools. Apple and Jobs don’t carry any of the baggage that News Corp and Murdoch do.  But Rupert Murdoch is no Steve Jobs. And it didn’t work. Invoking a Bay Area icon did not stop the protests, which continued throughout his speech.

Yet Another Non-Educator Telling Teachers How To Teach

What qualifications does Rupert Murdoch have for telling teachers how to teach? Has he ever taught a classroom full of 36 students? Has he gone from classroom to classroom, day in, day out, experiencing the intellectual and emotional highs and lows as we teachers do? He speaks about the plight of poor American school children in substandard schools, but how many of these children has he spent time with? What does Mr. Fox News actually know about education?

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Photo Credit: World Economic Forum


Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran7 years ago


Jez wildmoon
jayne Turner7 years ago

Murdoch is not interested in education - he's just looking for ways to make even more money and exploit people. The fact that he is there at Jeb Bush's behest speaks volumes - since when did any of the Bush clan care about the future of our children?

Joslynne Davidson

I don't think Steve Jobs will be remembered for any negative viewpoints on education. He did wonderful things to make the classroom a better place for kids-He didn't talk about it-he did it!

Sue H.
Sue H7 years ago

Wash his mouth out with soap.
Jeeze, Jeb Bush Invited him? This evil sob has No right to be anywhere near the educational
system. He is a criminal.
Good on the teachers for giving him whatfor.

greg rzesniowiecki

Numerology can be applied to the letters of the alphabet just as the Kabbalah system does to the Hebrew alphabet in the Sephirot or 'Tree of Life'.

Alphabet - Numerological Correspondences

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
a b c d e f g h i
j k l m n o p q r
s t u v w x y z

now go down the column marked '6' the letters 'f, o, and x' appear there..

so fox = 666..... go figure...

I'm sure that Rupert's got the kids best interests at heart.. 'Heart' by the way is an anagram for 'Earth'

Education is a broadly based practice designed to instill thinking in the student.. master = 22 and so does student...


Karen F.
karen Friedman7 years ago

Murdoch like steve Jobs, give me a break, more like the devil.

Nancy Black
Nancy Black7 years ago

We certainly need his advise on how to teach our children values. Joke, joke!

patricia m lasek
patricia lasek7 years ago

I can't believe 3% voted YES.

If Murdock had his way FAUX news would be your children's teachers. A tv in every classroom.

Hugh W.
.7 years ago

Education can also be liberation. Education is only indoctrination if you don't question.

Murdoch is just trying to do a little diversion by mentioning Jobs. Technology costs money. If the polititicans are cutting funds from education, where does the money for technology for education come from? Corporations can move right in as their politician puppets are clearing the way. Murdoch is just a loathsome individual. I am sure if he was poor, his wife would have never even looked his way.

Frank Mugford
Frank Mugford7 years ago

Please, why won't he just go away somewhere and quietly die? Somewhere that won't cause anybody any nuisance, like an unused (or even used) sewer or the bottom of a disused mineshaft.
The World might just be a tad better when he shuffles off.