Google CEO Eric Schmidt and cofounder Larry Page sat down with reporters for over an hour during an impromptu press conference while playing Bilderbergers at Allen & Co.'s exclusive Sun Valley getaway yesterday. There was talk of Google's Android cell-phone operating system; of China; of the search-ads deal with Yahoo. But it was fitness enthusiast Sergey Brin, rushing in late after a reported flat bicycle tire, who stole the show with feel-good blather:
"Another important factor that nobody talks about is teachers' salaries," Brin said. "Teachers are among the lowest-paid professionals. At Google, we've been paying our teachers 25 per cent more, but even with that, they're among the lowest-paid employees. I think it's really important to have a living wage for teachers."
Schools, of course, cost money. Google doesn't actually run a school, so Brin must be talking about the workers at his company's wildly overpriced childcare centers. On the Google model, even with teachers at the bottom rung on the payroll ladder, Brin's answer was to demand more money from parents.
Yet I haven't exactly seen Brin standing in solidarity with the teacher unions in California when they've lobbied for salary increases and smaller class sizes. Nor has Brin come out against Prop 13, the bill which froze property taxes in California, permanently hobbling education spending. But then it's been typical of Google to think they can have their gourmet, organic, locally-sourced cake and eat it, too.(Photo by AP/Douglas C. Pizac)