Los Angeles' school system ends plan to give all of its students iPads


The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest public school system in the United States, has decided not to move forward with its plans to offer an iPad to every student in the system, due to concerns about the iPad itself as well as how the contract with Apple was handled by school system administrators.

The school board of LA United approved a contract with Apple, along with a subcontractor Pearson, just over a year ago to begin the project for $30 million, with plans to expand that contract to $500 million over the next year. LA Unified also planned to spend another $500 million to help expand Internet access in the schools. However, on Monday, the superintentent of the school system, John Deasy, wrote in a memo to the system's school board, "Moving forward, we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc."

Some of the issues were related to the iPad itself. A number of schools said that students had problems reading state tests due to the size of the tablet's screen. There were also issues with the optional keyboards that were bought for the iPad, with schools claiming they did not integrate well with the device.

However, there were other non-technology concerns with the LA Unified plans. The Los Angeles Times raised concerns about the bidding process for the iPad contract, which critics of the deal believed were tailored to match Apple and Pearson.

What do you think of the Los Angeles school system deciding to end their big contract with Apple?

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Reader comments

Los Angeles' school system ends plan to give all of its students iPads


Were they iPad Mini's 1/2? I have the iPad Mini 1 which is understandable because it is non-Retina. But what were the versions of iPad used and how was the state test viewed?

Tablet tech is still in its infancy and its too early for a full blown adoption across a whole school system. Being locked to a single vendor is never good, buying expensive tech that will probably be obsolete by the time it reaches schools is also a downside. Tablets are also still too fragile for everyday school use/abuse. Besides, for an initiative like this to work batteries have to run for at least a couple of weeks, not "up to 10 hours" like now, and be at least Letter sized.
A school tablet should be light, have a Mirasol-like display, a large battery, whispernet-like connectivity and a very restricted ecosystem, being suited only for school and not for general use, making it less desirable, less toy and more tool.

Good. The LAUSD has many, many much more fundamental issues to contend with before they even think about giving students iPads. It was an abject waste of money for them in the first place.

I'm an Apple iOS developer, dedicated 20-year Apple fan and owner of at least a dozen Apple products. However, I think blanketing an entire district with "iPads for All" is a stupid idea. No matter how many policies or restrictions you put in place, damage, theft, abuse and misuse will PLAGUE the system -- far, FAR beyond LAUSD's ability to manage it.

A better use of the funds would be to revamp LAUSD's curriculum to place an emphasis on TEACHING: reading, math, science -- and most importantly, consumer economics and personal finance. Teach kids actual job skills so they're employable. Teach them how to be self-reliant -- to work hard, save money, avoid debt and invest for their own future. Teach them how they can ALL buy their OWN iPads.

That would probably cost more than the iPads.... By the time you finish fighting all the bureaucracy that protects sub-standard teachers and admin and replaced them with competent people I sudden to think what the final bill would be.

The problem is that if they don't use apple at home then they and their parents won't "understand" it properly. In my home my wife and 5 of my 6 kids have Apple. As such we are all familiar with each other's device. However my oldest has Android and we have a hard time getting things to cross over. Finally the schools are still hard wired for paper until that changes no district can fully integrate tablets if any brand.

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Is it really that hard for someone to understand iOS? I see 3 year olds at the Apple Store navigating iPads with ease.

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My two children attend the Zeeland Public School district (West Michigan about 3 hours from Chicago) and both have iPads provided by the district. They rolled the iPad 3 out to every one from 1st grade through High School. It has been a very successful program (understandably nowhere in the same realm as a district such as L.A.), my kids do just about everything on them. It has been a Godsend for my High Schooler as he is the most unorganized person I know. With everything on the device and using a combo of drop box and Google Drive it keeps him on task. The replacement insurance is reasonable and the graduating seniors are given their iPad as a gift. The devices were paid for by a grant rather than taxpayer money which in my mind makes a big difference.

I'm gonna take a guess and say that your school district is a lot more civilized than the LA Unified School District. Which is a very good thing.

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It's both party's fault IMO and you could certainly blame that school system all day along. But if I'm Apple, I do what it takes to fix this. It's just bad PR and a problem.

This was an simplistically misguided plan from the beginning. I'm very much in favor of doing what it takes to bridge the education gap and but this whole thing was the product of simplistic thinking. It reminds me of when I lived in Chicago and the Illinois Governor found out that kids with books in the home did better in school. so they thought simply buy every kid random books would make them smarter. You know as if simply having a book physically in the house alone would solve systemic problems like decades of failing to invest, not to mention social problems like poverty & lack of jobs, etc etc etc.

These school board people just wanted to buy a new toy, a silver bullet to solve every problem. It's nothing to do with ipads being good or bad. The problem is the education problems in LA aren't solved by giving kids a tablet. Let alone a really expensive one that drains a financially strapped school district. There's schools with no air conditioning, let alone some old books, some mediocre teachers, outdated curriculum, and neighborhoods that have been so neglected for decades in various ways.

Because Apple is a corporation and they had a customer come to them with a fat check. What the school district does with the iPads is not really Apple's responsibility at all.

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This story has nothing to do with how the iPads were to be used but how Apple and Pearson won the contract. When you have to ask the district attorney if criminal happenings took place over a business deal, that is a bad sign.

My high school is supposed to do this next year. I hope they do!! I would love to only have to carry an iPad instead of books!! Were on block schedule (4 one and a half hour classes a day and we have a different schedule after Christmas break) My locker at school right now has 3 text books, & 4 binders! It's a small locker & it barely closes!! I have 3 out of my 4 requires book classes for the whole year in the first semester!! I honestly need 2 lockers!! Teachers complain about how the books clutter but don't give a shit about the students struggles!! Anyways, I feel the iPad in the school system could elemenate this problem & I think I would see a higher grade rate among students because I believe they would do their work on a iPad before a book! And especially the assignment/social media program My Big Campus, the teacher can post the work for each day, & even if your out of school, you can still turn it in, or ask your teacher a question about it. And if all the schools in America (just saying this) switched to iPads (or any technology for that matter) the book companies would save money by only having to create the app. & the school would create a better experience for the students, while helping the earth! Lol! Anyways, I believe this is a excellent idea that many school systems should adopt!!

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And I think schools should use the iPad mini because of the cheaper price and the more easier form factor! Just my opinion though! And I HAVE A QUESTION!! --> When a school system gets iPads to give to the students, are all of them the same color, do they let the students pick, ? I just want to know !

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"Teachers complain about how the books clutter but don't give a shit about the students struggles!!"

Struggles? seriously? wishing you had two lockers cause your 4 books dont fit is a struggle? I must have missed a f*cking vocabulary lesson back in the day cause I though that word meant smth else. Sounds like you wouldnt know what struggle is if it hit you in the head. Anyhow, may you get what you wish for. Hopefully with iOS8, too.

The vast majority of public school systems in the US have a bucket load of things to get straight before not having iPads becomes a problem. Yeah they could walk and chew gum at the same time, but for that LA school distrit (as an example) that gum is worth a billion dollars that, oddly enough, they never seem to have to fix what needs fixing. But hey, wouldnt want kids to get a lousy education AND scoliosis...

This whole idea was so flawed. Seriously, what percentage of these devices do you think would be (a) lost, (b) stolen, or (c) completely thrashed within the first 3-months?

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The purpose and intent is the rising cost of textbooks and how quickly information in the book are updated. Have any of you seen the huge backpacks the students are carrying?
How about a move towards e-textbooks that students can get (perhaps on a thumb drive) and they can access it on their own home computers or in a library?