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Los Angeles Unified Sticking With Plan to Provide iPads to Students

Some parents, teachers and students planned an afternoon rally to protest the school board's decision last month to continue using construction bond funds to buy up to 67,500 iPads for phase two of the program.

LAUSD has a plan -- criticized by some -- to put iPads in the hands of all students. Patch file photo.
LAUSD has a plan -- criticized by some -- to put iPads in the hands of all students. Patch file photo.

By ELIZABETH HSING-HUEI CHOU
City News Service

The superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District said today district officials are holding fast to a $1 billion plan to provide students with iPads, despite objections that money from a construction bond should not be used to fund the effort.

Since a rocky rollout at 47 schools last fall, the plan to equip every LAUSD student with iPads has come under fire from critics over its cost and effectiveness.

Some parents, teachers and students planned an afternoon rally to protest the school board's decision last month to continue using construction bond funds to buy up to 67,500 iPads for phase two of the program.

Each iPad in the first phase cost about $768.

Superintendent John Deasy told the Los Angeles City Council during a “State of the Schools” presentation that the construction bond's oversight committee “is very clear,” as is the school board, in continuing to support the iPad program.

Deasy said the district is “completely not confused about our mission, and that is to provide all 800,000 the same opportunity that some have without our support.”

“I think it's a good thing to give youth in poverty technology,” he said. “I never understood the controversy about the moral obligation that youth should have access to technology and curriculum regardless of where they live.”

“Please note there is no paper and pencil test anymore at the state,” he added. “You must have a device, or you can't take your state test any longer.”

Schools nationwide are required to switch to educational standards called Common Core, which calls for testing to be done on computer.

The 15-member LAUSD School Construction Bond Citizens' Oversight Committee, which includes appointees of the Los Angeles mayor and city controller, “does not see a problem with using construction bond funds for computing devices,” Tom Rubin, the panel's consultant and spokesman.

The committee made a recommendation to the school board  “that bond funds be used for ... the Common Core Technology Project, which includes buying iPads, laptops, installing WiFi in all the classrooms, et cetera,” Rubin said.

A Facebook page with 3,675 likes called “Repairs Not IPads,” started by two adult education teachers, has been collecting pictures of deteriorating school facilities since December, contending that funds should be used to fix aging schools, not buying iPads.

“People are upset,” said Matthew Kogan, a co-creator of the Facebook page. “Voters voted clearly for a construction repair bond, and we're shocked Superintendent Deasy is even able to loot that fund.

“Everything is being cut to the bone for iPads ... for this vanity project, this headline-grabbing project for the superintendent,” he said.

Don February 20, 2014 at 09:43 AM
Why shouldn't they continue to go forward? They're spending your and my money I need to check the Board for drunken sailors out of Bangkok
Don February 20, 2014 at 09:45 AM
By the way, in that "looting the fund"! Where is the Citizens Oversight committee that by charter is to oversee and stop these abuses? And if that doesn't work, The Inspector General within LAUSD, where are they? And if that doesn't work, where is the Attorney General within the State of California who is our overall watchdog
William Kazupski February 20, 2014 at 11:26 AM
$52,000,000 - $52 MILLION DOLLARS? 67,500 X $768 for IPads? No wonder this country, many of the states and cities are broke. The commies want to buy everything for everybody!
Ronald Glymph February 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM
The IPads that the district is buying are not to improve learning. They are being purchased to make testing easier. Our tax dollars should be used to help students improve their academic proficiency.
GarfieldNeighborhoodWatch February 21, 2014 at 10:13 AM
what happens when a student "loses" his ipad? maybe sell it on ebay to make some money?
michelle February 21, 2014 at 11:08 AM
I have 3 children at LAUSD and I don't want them to be on an iPad at school. I understand that the iPad is an excellent learning took for many schools; however, the schools where the iPads are being used provide a comprehensive training program for the teachers so they can best utilize this great resource in the classroom. The teachers at our elementary school barely know how to upload a PDF to the teacher section of the school website! Buying iPads for each student is a complete waste of money and whoever was involved in making this reckless decision should be forced out of their position. They clearly have not thought about the many trials and tribulations that will come along with iPad ownership. Why not just provide each school with 2 iPad carts and have them rotate in the classrooms? Start there! What a bunch of dummies we are paying for.
michelle February 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Oh and my children have to eat lunch outside in the 109 degree heat from the asphalt. Ridiculous.

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