A plan by the LA Unified School District to provide an iPad for each of its 640,000 students by the end of this year has now been suspended, and appears likely to be abandoned altogether.
Apple proudly announced the plan in June of last year, but it wasn’t too long before the arrangement came into question. Rollout was temporarily halted last September, when it was found that students were able to bypass restrictions designed to ensure they were only used for school work when taken home. A month later, it was suggested that the school district might have gotten its sums wrong, with the true cost significantly higher than budgeted. It was then suggested in June of this year that iPads might not be the right devices …
The LA Times is now reporting that the contract was suspended yesterday after new information and an internal report that questioned the program.
The suspension comes days after disclosures that the superintendent and his top deputy had especially close ties to executives of Apple, maker of the iPad, and Pearson, the company that is providing the curriculum on the devices. And an internal report that examined the technology effort showed major problems with the process and the implementation.
The Superintendent in question said in a memo yesterday that “we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc.”
The report which criticized the way decisions had been made stopped short of alleging impropriety, but said that “past comments or associations with vendors, including Deasy, created an appearance of conflict even if no ethics rules were violated.”
iPads already ordered will continue to be deployed at 52 schools, but the District is now focusing more on laptops. An order for 18,000 laptops is expected to see Apple among the bidders.