LAUSD seeks multimillion-dollar refund from Apple for scrapped iPad in education program

in General Discussion edited April 2015
After officially scrapping a $1.3 billion educational technology initiative based on Apple's iPad, the Los Angeles Unified School District is reportedly demanding the company either return millions of dollars or face a lawsuit.

According to local radio station KPCC, LAUSD informed Apple that it will no longer put money toward course material provided by content partner Pearson, saying the district was "extremely dissatisfied" with the software implementation. Educators complained that Pearson's software was half-baked, contained errors and lacked lessons and promised interactive material.

"While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solution for ITI implementation, they have yet to deliver it," LAUSD attorney David Holmquist wrote in a letter to Apple's general counsel. "As we approach the end of the school year, the vast majority of students are still unable to access the Pearson curriculum on iPads."

LAUSD rolled out the first phase of its now defunct Instructional Technology Initiative, also known as "iPad-for-all," in 2013 with a $30 million agreement to supply iPads to 47 seed campuses. ITI would become an ambitious $1.3 billion project hoping to provide similar technology to more than 640,000 students.

The district officially killed the initiative in December after a tumultuous start involving mismanagement and shady funding plans by former schools Superintendent John Deasy. Critics took issue with the bidding process, saying Apple and Pearson had an unfair advantage in winning the lucrative contract, claims currently at the center of an ongoing FBI investigation. Deasy ultimately resigned in October of 2014.

Teachers also faced problems implementing iPads into their curriculum, including a security breach in which students discovered they could bypass school-imposed content filters. Administrators last year opened the program up to other platforms, including Google's Chromebook and Microsoft's Surface.


  • Reply 1 of 45

    Look, Pearson Education is a garbage company, with garbage products. This is widely known.


    Why is this Apple's fault?

  • Reply 2 of 45
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member

    What a freaking mess. And now they want Apple to foot the bill caused by their incompetence...

  • Reply 3 of 45

    Weren't they the ones that screwed this deal up in the first place? Why is Apple to blame?

  • Reply 4 of 45
    Maybe Apple should partner with an education company, educators and other influencers, provide technical support for content makers, and really make sure a compelling solution is found for education. Like what they did for the Medical Research community.
  • Reply 5 of 45
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    This project smells rotten, and likely some level of influence/corruption.

    I can understand why a project may choose iPad or Surface at the start (although iPad was really the only viable choice back then.) I can't fathom a reason to switch half way through an implementation *after* the seeding program's successful result; And if it wasn't so successful, why the enhanced roll out? Why is it that other schools(and universities) iPad programs work fine and this one doesn't?

    I definitely don't see a legitimate reason why a large scale roll out of chromebooks would take place with persons under the age of legal consent. The device's relatively high cost of ownership, heavy reliance on data, keeping personal data and documents away from the user, the small number of apps/difficulty in development and platform immaturity (not to mention regular, slowly patched, security issues.)
  • Reply 6 of 45
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,346member

    SOMEHOW, I doubt this is Apple's fault. Are the iPads functioning properly? Did Apple deliver the correct product? Yes and yes. How the hell is whatever educational package the school decided to go with, Apple's fault? The incompetence of LAUSD and/or Pearson has no bearing on Apple. Apple fulfilled its end of the deal, and they should not give out a refund. 

  • Reply 7 of 45
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I expect Apple to will choose to work with them, even though Apple wasn't the problem.

    I do not expect Apple to foot the entire bill.

    And I do not expect Apple to work with Pearsons again....
  • Reply 8 of 45
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,585member
    Take back all the iPads, pay them for their current market value (see Gazelle), then refurbish them and donate them to poor school districts who will appreciate them. Write off the loss/donation.
  • Reply 9 of 45
    yojimbo007yojimbo007 Posts: 1,161member
    The F up and apple has to pay?
  • Reply 10 of 45
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    What a mess. I wonder if anyone at Apple got fired for this debacle.
  • Reply 11 of 45
    gtbuzzgtbuzz Posts: 129member
    Those who awarded the contract are mostly to blame. It rarely pays to make a long term bet on a solution that has not yet arrived. Industry does not like to do it - they prefer to play it safe. Wonder why those in the school system took a long shot. If the system is working or very close to working and the company is a really reputable one with a history of always delivering, it might be another thing to make a reasonable bet - but not on something like educational software.
  • Reply 12 of 45
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member

    This is exactly why only government contractors, like Lockheed Martin and Halliburton, will do business with governments, and why they charge significant amounts for it. Media and especially liberal politicians will make claims, but the smart businessperson knows that's a fair rate to deal with government crap.


    I bet in the future, Apple will tell school districts to deal with a channel partner and pay their markup.

  • Reply 13 of 45
    If there's anything worth reading on this topic it will be in the la times, which has been hounding the hapless School system until -- and this is true -- readers have actually perished and been buried at Forest Lawn Cemetary due to boredom. So sad. Meanwhile, the charter schools are all adopting iPads and kicking butt. Dudes, I am not making this up, or my name is not DogCowabunga!

    Ok that last part I made up.
  • Reply 14 of 45
    justbobfjustbobf Posts: 261member
    Pearson probably just digitized their print books. No interactive, and all that.

    Apple has a gazillion dollars — the schools need the money — they had better do the right thing and refund the money. Really bad publicity if they do not. Why had it even come to a lawsuit?
  • Reply 15 of 45
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,943member

    This is just another example of school management putting the blame on someone else to cover up their own incompetency.  Of course, it's NEVER their fault, so surely, lets point the finger at someone else so we don't look stupid.

    I hope Apple doesn't give in.  If anyone needs to be fired, it's those clowns that made the deal in the first place.  How many stories have there been about iPads being given to teachers, without them, or sysAdmins having a clue how to administer/operate them in a classroom environment?  Is that Apple's fault?  no.

  • Reply 16 of 45
    ecats wrote: »
    I can understand why a project may choose iPad or Surface at the start (although iPad was really the only viable choice back then.) I can't fathom a reason to switch half way through an implementation *after* the seeding program's successful result; And if it wasn't so successful, why the enhanced roll out? Why is it that other schools(and universities) iPad programs work fine and this one doesn't?

    Because Surface and Windows have unhackable content controls. /s
  • Reply 17 of 45
    there are too many tech turds in the school districts not enough people who really understand what they're using and how to use it
  • Reply 18 of 45
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Apple, tell LAUSD to GTFO or FOAD.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    I can't remember the last time I commented on these forums. I mostly sit back, read and sometimes scoff or laugh. This subject, however, really makes me angry. I work for a different Southern California school district. We implemented an amazingly successful iPad program about three years ago. We are also a very very low income district that, fortunately, has the funds and apparently the know how.. My school in particular also tried chromebooks. They did ok but the iPad's were a lot more flexible. I can garuentee the LAUSD issues reside with the district and not with Apple.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 811member
    This is terrible, it's so bad when at a certain point things have to get handed of to someone else to do the "Work" and then they just can't do it. Geez
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