Earlier this year the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that it would be suspending its “iPad for All” program after it ran into an array of problems. Things started off optimistically in July 2013 when the district announced that it would give 640,000 students iPads for school.
A few crafty students figured out a way to bypass the built-in restrictions on the devices, then the district realized that it may have miscalculated the cost of the entire program. Eventually officials started to question if iPads really were the right tablets to hand out after all.
Now the LAUSD has decided to scrap the entire plan for good just as the Federal Bureau of Investigation has started taking a closer look at the deal.
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The LA Times reports that yesterday federal investigators seized about twenty boxes of documents from the school district. The investigators are probing connections between Apple executives, former LAUSD superintendent John Deasy, and Pearson, the company that created the customized curriculum for the iPads. Deasy oversaw the creation of the iPad program until he resigned in October.
Today, superintendent Ramon Cortines announced that the program was being shut down completely.
“We’re not going to use the original iPad contract anymore,” Cortines said Tuesday. “I think there have been too many innuendos, rumors, etc., and based on my reading of a great deal of material over Thanksgiving, I came to this conclusion.
“As CEO and steward of a billion-dollar operation, I have to make sure things are done properly so they are not questioned.”
Cortines claims the decision to shut down the program today is not related to yesterday’s visit from the FBI. Instead, he says it was simply an extension of the suspension that was put in place in August. It seems that even as recently as yesterday, the school district still planned to buy iPads it had no intention of using.
Interestingly, despite Apple’s recent focus on education and proclamations from Tim Cook on equal access to technology in education, rival Google’s Chromebook laptops have managed to take the top spot in that market in recent months, pushing the iPad down on the list. This most recent decision by the LAUSD certainly won’t help with that.