By Allison Cohen Ferraro, Publisher, The Los Feliz Ledger | http://bit.ly/HgYPqT
Thursday, October 24th, 2013 at 10:12 pm :: iPads are the future, in fact, they are here now.
If you’ve witnessed your middle or high school son or daughter lugging around 20 lbs. of textbooks—or more—to school each day, you will surely agree. Lockers don’t exist anymore in Los Angeles School Unified District (LAUSD) schools because of drug and weapon security.
But the response to these issues in the form of an LAUSD roll out of iPads to a select 40+ selected schools was a disaster.
There are so many questions to ask: like this one:
Was the payment for the high-end tablets, using voter approved bond money—three bond measures in total—designated for the repair of decaying school structures, used properly?
A month or so ago, a former LAUSD boardmember told me emphatically “No.”
Those bonds, he said, (and a local political consultant who often assists with school bond measures, agreed) that the bonds were designated for the repair and rehabilitation of schools not for items totable like books, supplies, computers and iPads.
Of concern, was this former LAUSD boardmember who demonstrated his point with a visual aid at the restaurant where we were dining.
He took a small tabletop ceramic container holding sugar packets—familiar to everyone I am sure— and dumped its contents.
“Those things that just fell out,” he said,” are not covered by these bond measures. Only the container that held them is.”
Those items that fell out of the ceramic container can be likened to the extras a school might desire—dry erase boards (seriously, some LAUSD schools still have chalkboards), books, pens, pencils, calculators, art supplies, computers and. . . iPads.
A bond oversight committee has reportedly stated the bonds used for the iPads might be a problem and thus must be kept at school as school property. What we have read, instead, is that students cannot take the iPads home, due to security breeches.
(Seriously, do we care if teenagers access their Facebook page on these iPads? My son—who attends a private high school—routinely uses Facebook to collaborate with students on homework. Kids, in 2013, do not use email (too old school). They text, Spotify, Instagram or Facebook messages to one another.
Also, there is the problem that the soon to be resigned John Deasy held stock—as has been reported—in Apple and ignored other competing tablets’ bids for the very lucrative LAUSD contract.
I have heard, from a very good source, that LAUSD’s awarding of its contract to Apple was a fait accompli months before other contracts were even considered.
And then there is also a possible conflict of interest between the LAUSD board and Pearson, hired to develop (the still incomplete) software for the district’s rollout.
Supt. Deasy: I have heard you many times on the radio and you sound like a smart guy. I have never met you in person. But how could other U.S. school districts accomplish this technological move (including some private schools in Los Angeles) and you cannot even accomplish this upgrade for a handful of the schools, so far, you once represented? Perhaps it’s a generational thing?
Let’s reimagine this whole thing and “think different.”
“Here’s to the Crazy Ones.”