After iPad fiasco, LAUSD will provide computers as-needed

District plans to provide computers to students as needed for instruction or testing
By: | Issue: April, 2015
March 16, 2015

Los Angeles USD students will not receive iPads, after all.

In February, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines told reporters that he does not believe the district has the funds to pay for technology for every student.

This represents a major shift from his predecessor John Deasy, who stepped down in October after coming under fire from the school board and United Teachers Los Angeles in part for his failed billion-dollar iPad program.

Deasy’s plan to spend $1.3 billion to distribute devices to every student, teacher and administrator went awry after the initial rollout of iPads at 47 schools in fall 2013. Hundreds of students hacked into the security system and freely browsed blocked websites such as Facebook and Twitter. And questions arose regarding Deasy’s professional relationship with Apple and Pearson executives, who provided the iPads and curriculum, respectively.

In December, the FBI seized documents related to the purchase as part of a criminal investigation into the bidding process.

Now, instead of iPads for all, Cortines says he plans to provide computers to students as needed for instruction or testing.

“We are committed to providing technology to our childrenÑwhether it be desktop computer labs, laptops or tabletsÑto help prepare them for the 21st century,” Cortines said in a statement to the press. “However, as we are reviewing our lessons learned, there must be a balanced approach to spending bond dollars to buy technology when there are so many brick-and-mortar and other critical facility needs that must be met.”

A 1-to-1 model requires purchasing not only devices but online curriculum and maintenance, which the district cannot afford, Cortines said. “We must also consider the issue of replacing the devices, along with offering professional development to help teachers infuse technology into their class lessons,” he added. “We must think and act for the long term.”

LAUSD will have to find resources to fund the curriculum and maintenance for the 120,000 iPads and 18,000 laptops already purchased, he said.

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