New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Federal Review Blames Lack of Resources and Planning for L.A. Schools' Failed iPad Initiative

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Education has found the Los Angeles Unified School District's $1.3 billion "iPad-for-all" education initiative, announced in the summer of 2013, had been "plagued by lack of resources and inadequate planning for how the devices would be used in classrooms," reports the Los Angeles Times.

The iPad initiative was officially canceled last month amidst an investigation by the FBI focusing on the relationship between Apple executives and former LAUSD superintendent John Deasy. The investigation was sparked by claims the bidding for the deal had been altered to favor Apple and Pearson, the higher-education company providing content for the iPads.

The troubled project led to the resignation, under threat of dismissal, of former head of technology for LAUSD, Ronald Chandler. Deasy also resigned under similar circumstances last October.

students-ipad
The new report deems the project too heavily focused on Apple's iPad as the centerpiece for the initiative, with no willingness to focus on a less-expensive alternative. It also found that the teachers who were supposed to incorporate the iPads into their classroom on a daily basis weren't provided nearly enough training in ways to successfully integrate the technology into an effective lesson plan.

The report further mentions that senior managers were "unable or unwilling" to voice concerns over these issues before they snowballed into bigger problems, with the Department of Education mainly looking at a lack of an immediate replacement for Chandler, as well as general mismanagement of the project, as main points of blame.

Attempts to fix the program before its eventual end were tried, but faced stonewalling at the hands of a few Deasy supporters, all believing the former superintendint did nothing unethical at any time before or during the intiative's lifespan.
"The Department of Education had a number of common-sense suggestions ... such as better planning, better testing and evaluation of technology, and better training," said school board member Monica Ratliff, who chaired a panel that reviewed the technology project last year. She produced a report that raised issues similar to those of the Education Department, but it was discounted by some Deasy allies as unfair to the superintendent.
The initial rollout of the program - in 47 schools and with $30 million spent on Apple products - in the fall of 2013 met immediate criticism amid ill-prepared teachers, spotty Internet connections, and crafty students bypassing security filters.

Following a suspension of the contract between the LAUSD and Apple back in August, the program initially begun over a year and a half earlier was officially canceled last December. The iPad-for-all program and its components currently remain under review by the FBI.



Top Rated Comments

(View all)

60 months ago


However, people should buy their own god damned gear. Most tax-payers cannot afford an iPad of their own ... why should they buy them for the less motivated? :apple: :cool:


I know man, why do we, taxpayers, even pay for education at all? I have never seen a group less motivated to learn like kids... My God! If it's up to them, they'll be playing all day, but our government FORCES them to go to school!
Rating: 31 Votes
60 months ago
Sounds like education

I've been an educator for well over 20 years and one thing I've observed is that we have always been easily distracted by shiny new toys and ideas. Many times we get enamored with the stuff without any real thought as to how it will be used. I remember when "SmartBoards" were supposed to be the big thing in the classroom. We got several, then they never got used. Palm Pilots were another so-called innovation than fizzled. Even now the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative has just turned into a way for kids to watch Pewdie Pie on YouTube during class and keep up on FaceBook.

In the end, it's not the stuff, it's the people.
Rating: 27 Votes
60 months ago
The problem with the iPad as an "educational tool" is that iOS lacks any sort of group policy-esque control of the individual devices. Give em to the kids, but there is no way to control what they do with them.
Rating: 21 Votes
60 months ago
I know someone who works in school IT. iPads are a nightmare to manage. Chromebooks on the other hand are super easy to administer and deploy.
Rating: 15 Votes
60 months ago
Tablets ...

If you are going to have a tablet, you should have an iPad .... they are more expensive, but they are best quality .... no one ever regretted buying quality.

However, people should buy their own god damned gear. Most tax-payers cannot afford an iPad of their own ... why should they buy them for the less motivated? :apple: :cool:
Rating: 11 Votes
60 months ago

The problem with the iPad as an "educational tool" is that iOS lacks any sort of group policy-esque control of the individual devices. Give em to the kids, but there is no way to control what they do with them.


THIS. Yes, iOS completely fails in this regard. You want to have control over iOS and limit functionality? Too bad... 5yr olds can hack it.

Apple just wants to provide a personal entertainment device, they care nothing about security. User accounts? Nah. Security? Who needs it.
Rating: 11 Votes
60 months ago

If you are going to have a tablet, you should have an iPad .... they are more expensive, but they are best quality .... no one ever regretted buying quality.

However, people should buy their own god damned gear. Most tax-payers cannot afford an iPad of their own ... why should they buy them for the less motivated? :apple: :cool:


Totally and utterly disagree 100% with this point.

You should not used a lock down and tied down echo system, basically getting young children used to one closed wall garden within a general education system.

If you have to use ANY computers, then you should use PC's Running Perhaps either Windows (if you wish children to be ready for the real world) Of Linux if you wish a totally open environment.

Not because I think PC's are great, but because it's tantamount to brainwashing at a young age, Getting children hooked within Apples way of doing things.

Totally and utterly wrong to use Apple and iOS / iTunes / App Stores in Education.

If Apple was to become more open and not tie people in, then I would of course change my viewpoint.
Rating: 10 Votes
60 months ago

If that was sarcasm, poor attempt, because if you ask most kids that's exactly the story you hear.


It was sarcasm and I think you missed it totally
Rating: 9 Votes
60 months ago

Seriously, why are you on MacRumors?


Because I am and always have been very interested in technology.

Does not mean I like any, and I mean ANY company that locks you down or deliberately makes things difficult to use.

I would feel the same way towards Microsoft, Sony (who have been known for it) and/or anyone else.

However, my point is Valid.

We all know, Apple makes it's money from hardware and the software ecosystem. We know it's, "locked down" and you can argue the reasons why.

We all know, when you get used to something and start investing into a closed ecosystem on any restricted platform as time goes by it gets harder and harder to leave that system, leave your apps behind and move on.

Hence why I'd say this, has no place in Education, which should be as open and un-locked down as realistically possible,

Teaching kids how to get used to iPad's is NOT a moral thing to do.

And if they were getting say locked down to say Windows RT tablets, and those tablets had no ports, and insisted you used Msoft software to sync aps and only use msoft formats etc etc.

Then I would be equally anti that for pushing onto young children with growing minds.
Rating: 9 Votes
60 months ago
It looks like Apple had a golden opportunity to make this work, and once again blew it. I manage several college labs where we use Macs. And Apple has barely lifted a finger to help out when things get bolloxed up (usually because of software update issues). Their education reps seem to be in a revolving door; there's always a new contact we have to make and they're never there long enough to establish a relationship.

So I'm not surprised that the teachers were left high and dry. That seems to be the way Apple works in the business and education markets: sell them lots of stuff and then walk away. Maybe Apple's partnership with IBM could finally fix that problem. But I'm not holding my breath.
Rating: 8 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]