Sunday, September 08, 2013

Los Angeles Teacher to Diane Ravitch’s Blog: “WE DON’T NEED iPADS, WE NEED HELP”, smf responds

By dianerav |

September 8, 2013   ::  A letter from a teacher in Los Angeles about the decision to spend $1 billion to buy iPads.

“How could the bond oversight committee actually approve this deal when we (a specific school in LAUSD) still have classrooms with chalkboards, desks from the 1950s, an internet infrastructure that constantly lets us down – we can NEVER play video because there is never enough bandwidth, a library with a book collection that has an average copyright date of 1989, only 4 library books per pupil, 10 computers in the library with an average age of 2006, 48 students in a 10th grade English class, 45 students in a biology class, no art classes, no vocal music classes.

“What we could use instead of ipads is every classroom is a smart classroom, new desks that kids can actually fit into, multiple computer labs, a new, larger, tech friendly library with at least 14 books per pupil, art classes, wood shop, computer labs, the list goes on.

“What is going to happen is before the entire roll out of ipads, LAUSD is going to realize either by their own admission or a lawsuit that this experiment is not going to work. Also, voters within the boundaries of LAUSD are never going to vote for another bond measure. Therefore, this specific school will not be getting ipads nor new construction, new books, new desktop computers anytime soon.”

●●smf responds: I am a member of that selfsame bond oversight committee and I voted to approve this iPad for Everyone deal as a pilot at some 30 plus schools. Only that and nothing more.

Notwithstanding  grandstanding from he superintendent’s office nothing further has been approved by anyone. The Apple contract purchases  iPads for every student ONLY IF AND WHEN the Bond Oversight Committee and Board of Education approves Phases Two and Three. There is is no autopilot.

Your concerns for your students at your school are our concerns. We on the bond committee cannot by law buy your school new library books or arts or choral music programs.  Deputy Superintendent Aquino may wax poetic about how the iPads will give your school  art and music programs; like all good salespeople he believes it what he’s selling.  But I don’t buy that balderdash than any more than you do.

Our kids don’t  need arts applications, they need Arts Teachers.

We don’t need music apps or dance apps or drama apps – we need Dance Teachers and Music Teachers and Drama Teachers. We need Teacher Librarians in secondary and Elementary Librarians in in the early grades.

And Health Teachers and Nurses and Counselors.

Digital technology is part of the future but I don’t see the LAUSD All City Marching Band marching in the Rose Parade playing 76 Trombones on their iPads. I don’t envision a team of LAUSD iPads beating all the other teams in the nation at the Academic Decathlon.  The law says that construction and modernization bond funds cannot be used to invest in Human Capital – salaries and people. A commitment to that– and humanity itself – is what’s missing from the current thinking at LAUSD HQ.

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