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LA Unified School District suspends iPad deal, faces accusations that officials had close ties...

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
Though it was much-touted when Apple signed the contract last year, the company's massive deal to sell iPads to the Los Angeles Unified School District has now officially been suspended, amid accusations that top employees at the district had improperly close ties with the Cupertino, Calif., company.

Education


With a report accusing the bidding process for the project of being tailor made to benefit the eventual winners, Apple and Pearson, the district has chosen to halt its deal with Apple, the Los Angeles Times reported this week. Superintendent John Deasy and Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino were found to have had regular contact with executives at both Apple and Pearson, giving the appearance of a potential conflict of interest.

Deasy issued a memo to the L.A. Board of Education on Monday stating that the district will "no longer utilize" its contract with Apple moving forward. The superintendent said the move will allow the district to "take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances," but also give it "time to take into account concerns raised" about the project.

It was just over a year ago that the Los Angeles public schools revealed they planned to exclusively use Apple's iPad for a new digital textbook program. Apple touted the $30 million deal, saying it was "thrilled" to have been selected and to work with L.A. Unified.

At the time, Aquino said Apple was selected because the iPad "rated the best in quality, was the least expensive option and received the highest scoring by the review panel that included students and teachers."

And earlier this year, the board earmarked another $115 million for additional iPads, but that move followed accusations that the project was running grossly over budget. After that, the project began to fall apart, and by June the district revealed it would instead allow certain high schools to choose from six different Windows and Chromebook laptops instead of Apple's iPad.

In addition to diversifying the platform base, some teachers said the iPad does not fit the needs of students taking standardized tests, citing insufficient screen size and the lack of a built-in keyboard as major deficiencies.

The board failed to address the additional costs likely associated with making a major platform switch halfway through the tech rollout, nor did it offer details on how schools plan to merge three distinct operating systems into a cohesive learning experience. Curriculum from Pearson, McGraw-Hill/StudySync and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are currently under review for deployment on the Windows and Chromebook machines.
post #2 of 86

OMG, how many officials were close to Microsoft when they were forcing Windows in schools.

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post #3 of 86

Poor students

post #4 of 86
Of course if it's true it's to be condemned.
post #5 of 86

There's nothing inherently wrong with keeping the technology base diversified, except that it greatly increases maintenance and training costs, especially if a single teacher has to deal with multiple platforms.   It always costs more to support multiple platforms.

 

The way that Apple (or any manufacturer) could have kept themselves locked in was by also providing high-value applications software that could not easily be replicated by another supplier, such as a computer managed instruction module to track all students' learning. 

 

But there's also nothing inherently wrong with being "close" to the company that you're going to do the deal with.   Shouldn't one be close, in order to evaluate and monitor whether you're making the correct purchasing decision?

post #6 of 86

Why wouldn't they have had close contact with Apple and Pearson. You don't investigate, design, and contract a complex and large contract in a vacuum. I would have been really upset if they hadn't contacted Apple. This whole mess stinks of a gross lack of understanding and back-room fighting over what technology to deploy. I can't wait until the Windows and Chromebook junk gets deployed and nothing works. Who's going to be responsible for this catastrophe? Of course, the same people who wanted to save face on the Apple deal will blame someone else for their inability to properly understand what's needed and how to deploy it.

 

Just read the LA Times story, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-utla-lausd-deasy-20140825-story.html, and they have more specific information than listed by AI:

 

"The Times reported Monday that Deasy and his chief deputy at the time, Jaime Aquino, appear to have been discussing the school system’s effort to supply students computers equipped with online curriculum with executives from tech giant Apple Inc. and education publisher Pearson at least two years before a bidding process was concluded and the contracts were approved, records show.

 

The collaboration between the officials and the executives support findings from an internal school district report, which found that officials' actions could have created an impression of unfairness in the bidding process.

 

Educators -- including United Teachers Los Angeles -- are troubled that Deasy is putting more power into the hands of private entities and less into the hands of parents and the public."

 

After reading this I challenge the teacher's union response to this. It shows they don't know how to procure a large system. I'm happy the superintendent and deputy spent two years researching this project with Apple and Pearson. This is good not bad as the union portrays. The union should be slapped silly for complaining about the historical investigation. As for putting more power into the hands of the parents and public, I'm sorry but how much do they know and anyone who's tried putting together a massive system understands what happens when you involve way too many people--nothing ever gets completed.


Edited by rob53 - 8/26/14 at 7:27am
post #7 of 86

I wonder if Apple could have done more to assist the teachers and the school district. The standardized tests should have been reworked to be compatible with the iPad. Apple should have also known that the keyboard issue would come up. That should have been included in the contract. They also could have helped with the curriculum in matching up the schools with the best apps. I have not read what apps they are using, but if all of this was left up to the teachers without the appropriate training then it was bound to fail.

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post #8 of 86

I always thought that this deal was 5 years too soon.

 

... and the conflict of interest angle... hogwash.

 

Over zealous, maybe, but conflicted... bs.

Hmmmmmm...
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Hmmmmmm...
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post #9 of 86
"But but but keyboards."

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #10 of 86
No good deed goes unpunished.

Sorry LA students, time to halt your accelerated education on excellent hardware at a great value.
post #11 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

Why wouldn't they have had close contact with Apple and Pearson. You don't investigate, design, and contract a complex and large contract in a vacuum. I would have been really upset if they hadn't contacted Apple. This whole mess stinks of a gross lack of understanding and back-room fighting over what technology to deploy. I can't wait until the Windows and Chromebook junk gets deployed and nothing works. Who's going to be responsible for this catastrophe? Of course, the same people who wanted to save face on the Apple deal will blame someone else for their inability to properly understand what's needed and how to deploy it.
Are there instances of Chromebooks being deployed and not working? I must admit I'm a bit nervous about Chromebooks (and the upcoming Windows competitors) taking share from iPad in education, mostly because of the built in keyboard. I hope Apple doesn't let their lead in education slip away.
post #12 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I wonder if Apple could have done more to assist the teachers and the school district. The standardized tests should have been reworked to be compatible with the iPad. Apple should have also known that the keyboard issue would come up. That should have been included in the contract. They also could have helped with the curriculum in matching up the schools with the best apps. I have not read what apps they are using, but if all of this was left up to the teachers without the appropriate training then it was bound to fail.
Yeah seems like there needed to be a lot of hand holding. Do we know if Apple had dedicated staff supporting this contract?
post #13 of 86
If you really want laptops but get tablets because they're cheaper, you're going to be unhappy because you have the wrong tool for the job you wanted to do. I think that's the real story here.
post #14 of 86
(deleted an incorrect and stupid joke)
Edited by PhilBoogie - 8/26/14 at 8:07am
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #15 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

"But but but keyboards."

To be honest, I can understand their concern. The one thing I did like about Microsoft, personally, was the optional integrated keyboard cover for the Surface. That is something I believe the iPad should of had.

Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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post #16 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Are there instances of Chromebooks being deployed and not working? I must admit I'm a bit nervous about Chromebooks (and the upcoming Windows competitors) taking share from iPad in education, mostly because of the built in keyboard. I hope Apple doesn't let their lead in education slip away.


Chromebooks are cheaper and seem more appropriate for knowledge and learning. iPads are okay, or maybe have a mix and also see what students prefer.

post #17 of 86
There's a good principle: "Never ascribe to a conspiracy what can be explained equally well by stupidity."

The fact that this ill-prepared and too-fast move to iPads was formulated by school district officials strongly suggests that stupidity rather than "close ties with Apple" was the cause. Replacing their iPad scheme with allowing "high schools to choose from six different Windows and Chromebook laptops instead" is merely continuing that stupidity.

And if a conspiracy is involved, I'd suspect digital textbook provider Pearson, with all the dubious ethics of most textbook publishers and skilled at manipulating school officials, rather than Apple, whose ties to schools have been weakening for over two decades.
post #18 of 86
Students and their families should be paying for their own computers. In LA, the problem is simply that most students cannot read or write, never mind the technology aspect. Public schools are a mismanaged disaster. Shut them all down and get private companies in there to compete for students instead. What a bloody politicized mess.

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post #19 of 86

There's always multiple reasons for people to do certain things. In this case, it might be because there has been tension between the district superintendent, John Deasy, and the UTLA president, Alex Caputo-Pearl. Seems John is from the rich side and Alex is an East Coast native who had come to L.A. to enact his dreams of grass-roots education reform.

 

I'm not taking sides on who is better for the LA school district, I'm just finding enough published information that shows there's history between these two, which has probably lead to infighting. Alex now has the perfect event to push for John's ouster whether it's justifiable or not. I really don't see Alex's attack as having anything to do with the choice of computers for the students.

 

"Deasy is a leading figure in the corporate-funded effort to restructure and privatize public education. As the former head of the schools in Santa Monica-Malibu--small cities that sit between LA and the Pacific Ocean--Deasy caught the attention of education reformers."

 

"...Alex Caputo-Pearl--a veteran teacher who has spent years working to build the union and strengthen its ties to community organizations--and his Union Power slate."

 

http://socialistworker.org/2014/02/25/new-direction-for-la-teachers

http://articles.latimes.com/2006/sep/06/opinion/oe-kaplan06

post #20 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post
 

OMG, how many officials were close to Microsoft when they were forcing Windows in schools.

 

Windows was the chosen OS to put into schools because of it being cheaper than Apple computers. Especially 20 years ago.

post #21 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Students and their families should be paying for their own computers. In LA, the problem is simply that most students cannot read or write, never mind the technology aspect. Public schools are a mismanaged disaster. Shut them all down and get private companies in there to compete for students instead. What a bloody politicized mess.

Do you really think private schools would be better managed or that students would get a better education? Of course some students would but those are already in private schools financed by the 1%'ers. Free public schools in the US are guaranteed by our constitution but as usual are not supported with the kind of assistance they need. It starts with parents who need to do the majority of parenting instead of expecting public schools to do the parenting. Remember, private schools can expel students for any reason and at any time. They aren't held to the same rules and regulations public schools are. As with any public institution, there will be problems, corruption, and things just won't work. This happens in private institutions and corporations as well but we don't always hear about them. As for LA students not being able to read or write, here's the 2013 STAR CST test results. This district has over 400K students. Please compare them to a school district near you.

 

http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2013/ViewReport.aspx?ps=true&lstTestYear=2013&lstTestType=C&lstCounty=19&lstDistrict=64733-000&lstSchool=&lstGroup=1&lstSubGroup=1

post #22 of 86
We are in Illinois, our kids will be getting their own iPads from the school (K-12) next week.
post #23 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post
 

Do you really think private schools would be better managed or that students would get a better education? Of course some students would but those are already in private schools financed by the 1%'ers. Free public schools in the US are guaranteed by our constitution but as usual are not supported with the kind of assistance they need. It starts with parents who need to do the majority of parenting instead of expecting public schools to do the parenting. Remember, private schools can expel students for any reason and at any time. They aren't held to the same rules and regulations public schools are. As with any public institution, there will be problems, corruption, and things just won't work. This happens in private institutions and corporations as well but we don't always hear about them. As for LA students not being able to read or write, here's the 2013 STAR CST test results. This district has over 400K students. Please compare them to a school district near you.

 

http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2013/ViewReport.aspx?ps=true&lstTestYear=2013&lstTestType=C&lstCounty=19&lstDistrict=64733-000&lstSchool=&lstGroup=1&lstSubGroup=1

Apple can choose not to sell iPads to anyone "for any reason and at any time", but they have an economic incentive to sell to everyone. Public schools, on the other hand, profits via taxation (you can't choose not to give them money), thus have no such incentive.

Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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post #24 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post

We are in Illinois, our kids will be getting their own iPads from the school (K-12) next week.

Since the article is about potential corruption in the LA schools, I'll assume that you meant that Illinois handing out iPads to your goats is equally corrupt.  Not that Illinois is known for corruption or anything.

Rod Blagojevich

George Ryan

Dan Walker

Otto Kerner

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/illinois-governors-in-pri_n_2581182.html

post #25 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

Do you really think private schools would be better managed or that students would get a better education? Of course some students would but those are already in private schools financed by the 1%'ers. Free public schools in the US are guaranteed by our constitution but as usual are not supported with the kind of assistance they need. It starts with parents who need to do the majority of parenting instead of expecting public schools to do the parenting. Remember, private schools can expel students for any reason and at any time. They aren't held to the same rules and regulations public schools are. As with any public institution, there will be problems, corruption, and things just won't work. This happens in private institutions and corporations as well but we don't always hear about them. As for LA students not being able to read or write, here's the 2013 STAR CST test results. This district has over 400K students. Please compare them to a school district near you.

http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2013/ViewReport.aspx?ps=true&lstTestYear=2013&lstTestType=C&lstCounty=19&lstDistrict=64733-000&lstSchool=&lstGroup=1&lstSubGroup=1

There is no right to an education in the US Constitution.

http://www.cato.org/blog/education-constitution

You may be thinking of your own state's constitution.

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post #26 of 86

Many kids today are a bunch of illiterate, little monkeys. Obnoxious, ignorant creatures who lack basic fundamental skills in many areas. The US educational system is pretty pathetic, compared to many other countries in the world. American students are dumb, and they are just getting dumber. An idiocracy type of society is what these kids will end up producing.

 

I agree with SpamSandwich. Students and their families should be paying for their own computers.

 

When I was a kid, a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away, there was one Apple ][ machine in the classroom, that was shared by 35 students!

 

If every student wants their own computer, then don't those kids have something called parents? Let the damn parents provide for their children. And then they are free to buy whatever they please.

post #27 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by AWilliams87 View Post
 

To be honest, I can understand their concern. The one thing I did like about Microsoft, personally, was the optional integrated keyboard cover for the Surface. That is something I believe the iPad should of had.

You're aware that hundreds of models of fully functional, very reasonably priced keyboards are available for the iPad, right? /roll-eyes

 

(And, sorry to nitpick, but "...should of had"?)

post #28 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

Many kids today are a bunch of illiterate, little monkeys. Obnoxious, ignorant creatures who lack basic fundamental skills in many areas. The US educational system is pretty pathetic, compared to many other countries in the world. American students are dumb, and they are just getting dumber. An idiocracy type of society is what these kids will end up producing.

 

I agree with SpamSandwich. Students and their families should be paying for their own computers.

 

When I was a kid, a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away, there was one Apple ][ machine in the classroom, that was shared by 35 students!

 

If every student wants their own computer, then don't those kids have something called parents? Let the damn parents provide for their children. And then they are free to buy whatever they please.

What I find interesting is that the primary technology used to educate people around 1870 (when compulsory education was just being ratified across the U.S.) was the chalk and blackboard. Fast forward 150 years later, and it's still a chalk and blackboard. That's pathetic.

Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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post #29 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

You're aware that hundreds of models of fully functional, very reasonably priced keyboards are available for the iPad, right? /roll-eyes

 

(And, sorry to nitpick, but "...should of had"?)

 

I was recently on a trip and decided to leave the big iPads at home, so I brought along this, and it worked out pretty well. The keyboard also serves as protection for the iPad mini as it completely covers it.

 

post #30 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

You're aware that hundreds of models of fully functional, very reasonably priced keyboards are available for the iPad, right? /roll-eyes

 

(And, sorry to nitpick, but "...should of had"?)

Yes, I do think they should've had an option of an integrated keyboard cover. I know they are 3rd-party options, but people don't usually pay as much attention to them, especially when purchasing in volume. We know this because the school officials and teachers expressed concern about the iPad lacking a keyboard.

Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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post #31 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

You're aware that hundreds of models of fully functional, very reasonably priced keyboards are available for the iPad, right? /roll-eyes

 

 

Take your "reasonably priced keyboards" and multiply that by the number of students involved and you'll see that adds up quickly. A couple of million dollars here, a couple of million there - pretty soon you're talking about real money! Makes sense, in this case, to buy something that includes a keyboard at no extra cost. /unroll eyes

post #32 of 86
Yes, heaven forbid that people in charge of educating our children, closely communicate with companies responsible for the best and brightest technology advancements in the last decade. We much rather have them wasting time with companies that repeatedly deliver technology flops %u2013 because our children only deserve the best.
post #33 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by AWilliams87 View Post
 

What I find interesting is that the primary technology used to educate people around 1870 (when compulsory education was just being ratified across the U.S.) was the chalk and blackboard. Fast forward 150 years later, and it's still a chalk and blackboard. That's pathetic.

 

While I am a big fan of technology, I don't feel that technology is always a good thing. It depends.

 

Chalk and a blackboard was good enough for kids in 1870 and it's good enough for kids in 2014.

 

Too many kids today use technology as a crutch, to make up for their complete ignorance in other areas. Let the kids work out a math problem on a blackboard, not using any electronic aids. Let the damn kids learn how to write using a pen and paper. Let the damn kids learn how to spell without using autocorrect.

post #34 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post

Take your "reasonably priced keyboards" and multiply that by the number of students involved and you'll see that adds up quickly. A couple of million dollars here, a couple of million there - pretty soon you're talking about real money! Makes sense, in this case, to buy something that includes a keyboard at no extra cost. /unroll eyes
Why couldn't Apple work something out where a 3rd party option could be included at no extra cost?
post #35 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by AWilliams87 View Post
 

Yes, I do think they should've had an option of an integrated keyboard cover. I know they are 3rd-party options, but people don't usually pay as much attention to them, especially when purchasing in volume. We know this because the school officials and teachers expressed concern about the iPad lacking a keyboard.

 

'Don't pay much attention'?! They're idiots, then.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post

 

Take your "reasonably priced keyboards" and multiply that by the number of students involved and you'll see that adds up quickly. A couple of million dollars here, a couple of million there - pretty soon you're talking about real money! Makes sense, in this case, to buy something that includes a keyboard at no extra cost. /unroll eyes

LOL. Have you checked to see if the Microsoft Surface keyboards are free? And if not, what they cost? /groan

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

 

I was recently on a trip and decided to leave the big iPads at home, so I brought along this, and it worked out pretty well. The keyboard also serves as protection for the iPad mini as it completely covers it.

 

I have a similar superbly designed one for my iPad Mini, from Logitech. $80.

post #36 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Why couldn't Apple work something out where a 3rd party option could be included at no extra cost?

 

Don't know why, but it looks like they didn't. I'm sure it came down to money.

post #37 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

 

While I am a big fan of technology, I don't feel that technology is always a good thing. It depends.

 

Chalk and a blackboard was good enough for kids in 1870 and it's good enough for kids in 2014.

 

Too many kids today use technology as a crutch, to make up for their complete ignorance in other areas. Let the kids work out a math problem on a blackboard, not using any electronic aids. Let the damn kids learn how to write using a pen and paper. Let the damn kids learn how to spell without using autocorrect.

Well then you could use that same argument everywhere. A pitchfork was good enough for 1870s farmers, and it's good enough now. The only difference is my example is clearly absurd because we see the advances modern farming like the combined harvester and genetic engineering of crops. There isn't an alternative scenario with schooling; all we see is chalk and blackboard so it's easy to dismiss potential advances in education because they don't exist and we can't examine the benefits.

Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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post #38 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

LOL. Have you checked to see if the Microsoft Surface keyboards are free? And if not, what they cost? /groan

 

Let me repeat for those who missed it the first time -

 

"Makes sense, in this case, to buy something that includes a keyboard at no extra cost."

 

/Louder groan

post #39 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-ipads-schools-20140101-story.html#page=1
The Perris Union High School District is paying $344 apiece for a Chromebook for every student. Nearby, Riverside Unified purchased a variety of devices, including the Kindle Fire and iPad Mini, for as low as $150 each. In San Diego Unified, some students are using a $200 tablet.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, however, is paying $768 per device for its students, teachers and administrators, making it one of the nation's most expensive technology programs. The reason: L.A. Unified selected a relatively costly product — a higher-end Apple iPad — and also paid for a new math and English curriculum installed on the tablets.
melior diabolus quem scies
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post #40 of 86
Communication doesn't equate to "ties".
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