iFad Meltdown in the LA School District

The LA School District bought iPads equipped for Common Core for their students. Now they want a refund.

The slow-motion train wreck is reaching its destiny. I wrote about the doomed decision on the part of the LA School District to purchase school iPads back in the summer of 2013: “LA Connection: iFad and Common Core Are ‘For The Children’

An excerpt:

“Board members Steve Zimmer and Richard Vladovic expressed the most concerns. Zimmer questioned whether devices other than tablets were more fitting for high school students. Vladovic worried that the board lacked detailed information on costs. ‘This is one of the most high-profile contracts this board will ever approve,’ Zimmer said. This contract is ‘as big as they come.’ ‘I can sleep tonight with my conscience clear,’ Aquino responded, ‘that you did the right thing for kids.’”

It is so bizarre to see this story and realize that America had a far better hold of basic literacy back when the country used McGuffey Readers. Tech toys are just a way to spend money and they don’t create educated adults. In fact, at most all they do is educate children on technology that may be gone by the time they are adults. I remember getting my hands on first-class video-editing equipment in college. But it was all analog. Now, people probably do all that work on a much more compact computer. There is no reason to believe that the ability to use an iPad prepares anyone for life or teaches them what they need to know to be a truly educated man or woman.

In the meantime, the L. A. school district is about to get an expensive lesson in the difference between private and public property. Think about whether you would prefer to use your own private bathroom or a public one and apply that preference to what is likely to happen to most of these iPads over the next year. How many will make it?

What I didn’t know then was that Steve Jobs and many other Silicon Valley executives, while happy to take money from tax-fattened public schools, don’t want their own children to have access to them in their education.

By October 2013, mere months later, the LA school district was recalling the iPads. As Dave Jolly wrote for Godfather Politics,

In wake of a $2.8 billion deficit and the need to lay off more than 12,000 employees, one has to wonder at the logic and intelligence that led to the decision to supply $700 iPads to thousands of students.  The program supposedly cost the LAUSD a whopping $1 billion.

Classes began on August 13.  After only a month and half of school, the LAUSD has realized the huge blunder they made in supplying thousands of iPads to students.  Before giving the students their iPads, the district placed certain security settings on them to prevent them from accessing undesirable websites. However, many of the students were able to bypass the school’s security settings with a few simple clicks.

In addition to the students hacking through the security settings, many iPads have been conveniently lost or misplaced.  This has caused some of the district’s schools to start recalling the iPads.  Two high schools, Westchester and Roosevelt have already recalled the devices, but school officials say that almost a third of them are still unaccounted for.

A mere billion dollars may be inaccurate. According to Reason.com’s Robby Soave, the cost was actually $1.3 billion. Soave reports on the next stage of this debacle. You can probably guess what it is.

That’s right. The LA school district is getting ready to sue Apple and Pearson (the software company that loaded the Common Core applications on the devices).

Honestly, I don’t care that much about Apple and I hate Pearson as a thoroughly corrupt crony business that makes huge money off government education racket (as Soave notes). But the people who should be sued are the members of the board of the LA school district who made this egregiously stupid decision. In any case, even if there is some slight cause against Pearson there is none with Apple. They delivered the iPads to the school district. End of story.

Notice the method here. Make insanely stupid economic decisions and then, when the inevitable implosion takes place, save face by blaming the private sector.

The government only has one script.

But they also have a couple of supporting narratives they use. The story in the Los Angeles Times reminds us that then-Superintendent John Deasy played the race card and invoked income inequality to manipulate people into signing off on this disaster:

Deasy had said the technology effort was a civil rights imperative designed to provide low-income students with devices available to their wealthier peers.

And look how it all ended: like it always does when politicians play on race grievances and economic class warfare. The irony is, now the students of the LA school district are more like the children of wealthy Silicon Valley executives.