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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Tech News > LA school superintendent kills off computer-per-student program

LA school superintendent kills off computer-per-student program
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NewsPoster
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Feb 21, 2015, 12:03 PM
 
Signaling a complete end to the Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) plan of a computing device per student which began with a large and poorly-managed iPad program, Superintendent Ramon Cortines has declared that the district no longer has the funding to continue the effort. Confusingly saying that "education shouldn't become the gimmick of the year" when asked about the program, the school leader said that the district would attempt to provide computers when required for instruction and testing.

LAUSD entered into a contract with Apple in 2013 for the iPads and Pearson for the curriculum, as part a $1.3 billion initiation to supply devices to its staff, administrators and approximately 650,000 enrolled students. The schools covered included all grades from Kindergarten through high school, and targeted students who otherwise would not have access to the technology. The bulk of the total cost was a fixed $678 per iPad, which came pre-loaded with Pearson e-textbooks and other educational apps. Each iPad came with a three-year warranty.

The program ran into its first issue in October 2013 when students at trial schools were forced to return the devices after the school discovered students had circumvented blocking measures to visit unauthorized websites. During the same month, reports surfaced that LAUSD went vastly over budget on the first installment of devices, as pricing was estimated based on a price break that wouldn't kick in until $400 million was spent with Apple itself. More than half the money was spent on educational materials from Pearson.

In June 2014, the district said it was shelving the iPad plan to consider laptops, tablets and Chromebooks from other manufacturers instead of opting to negotiate new terms with Apple. School board members criticized the iPad-focused approach, even though the same board unanimously approved the project in 2013. The program came under fire after it was discovered ex- Superintendent John Deasy met with Apple and educational material supplier Pearson a year before the technology program went out for bid. Deasy made an effort to wind down the project in September, only to tender his resignation under pressure in October.

In December, 2014, the FBI commenced an investigation into the program, seizing 20 boxes of documents relating to the program. The school district is conducting its own review of the program, through Los Angeles Schools Inspector General Ken Bramlett. Cortines decided to put an end to the iPad program outright in order to re-bid the technology initiative for the 2015-2016 school year, with support from the bond oversight committee and Board of Education.

"We're not going to use the original iPad contract anymore," said Cortines. "I think there have been too many innuendos, rumors, et cetera, and based on my reading of a great deal of material over Thanksgiving, I came to this conclusion. As CEO and steward of a billion-dollar operation, I have to make sure things are done properly so they are not questioned."
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Feb 21, 2015 at 09:20 PM. )
     
prl99
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Feb 21, 2015, 01:12 PM
 
iPads included textbooks, which means they'll need to rebuy paper versions or just use whatever they have. The action by the superintendent shows how little control and understanding of computerized educational tools he has. Giving up because he didn't properly oversee the project shows that he should be tossed out as well.
     
climacs
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Feb 21, 2015, 06:07 PM
 
those iPads that they did order, I'd love to know what they are doing with them... hope they are not just sitting in storage.
     
aviamquepasa
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Feb 21, 2015, 06:14 PM
 
California is totally bankrupt, so it does not have to behave like a rich state...
     
davesmall
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Feb 21, 2015, 11:10 PM
 
Another example of California mismanagement. Those iPads were a great idea.
     
unicast reversepath
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Feb 21, 2015, 11:36 PM
 
As CEO and steward of a billion-dollar operation, I have to admit i had my head up my butt, resulting in things being done improperly. I feel my intelligence as well as my fitness to even keep my job should be questioned."

Fixed
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Charles Martin
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Feb 22, 2015, 01:27 AM
 
It should be noted that this superintendent isn't the guy who started this deal (or ended it originally), that was John Deasy -- and indeed, it appears that he and another employee (both now gone) courted Pearson and Apple improperly on the deal. This is just an overreaction to several bad events associated with, but not the responsibility of, the original iPad deal. It's a pity that when the grownups screw up, the students (and taxpayers) are the ones who suffer.

As for California's debt, this chart would suggest that it is certainly far from the least-indebted state, but also pretty far from the most-indepted as well: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/state_debt_rank
Charles Martin
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