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Fervor and fury over L.A. schools’ iPads

By Howard Blume and James Rainey
September 16th, 2014

LAUSD’s iPad program met with criticism over its implementation

iPad-LAUSD

Pedro II / Shutterstock.com

The pitch came from a smiling man in a jacket and tie, sitting at his desk and rhapsodizing about the wonders one product could bring to the Los Angeles Unified School District. The new item would lead to “huge leaps in what’s possible for students” and would “phenomenally … change the landscape of education.”

The speaker was Los Angeles schools Superintendent John Deasy. The object of his admiration was the iPad. And the venue was a promotional video for Apple, later posted online by the company.

Deasy made the video more than a year before the district opened bidding that was supposed to give not Apple and other computer and software companies an equal opportunity at a significant technology expansion in the nation’s second-largest school district.

Critics now look back on Deasy’s 2011 video testimonial as early evidence of what they believe was a myopic and headlong rush toward the iPad, one that ended in early September with the superintendent suspending the troubled $1.3-billion program. The district originally had intended to supply an iPad, at a cost of $768 apiece, to every student, teacher and campus administrator in Los Angeles’ public schools.

(Next page: An in-depth look at the LAUSD iPad initiative)