On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, a group of parents with children in Los Angeles Unified announced that they had filed a request for the Los Angeles Superior Court Civil Grand Jury to investigate and audit the botched iPad rollout and the ongoing MiSiS software meltdown.
Saying “Angelenos don’t have an extra $200 million of public money lying around to pay for shoddy software and high tech toys mostly used for testing,” Kahllid Al-Alim called for the Civil Grand Jury to embark on the investigation immediately. (In the City and County of Los Angeles, citizen-initiated requests for investigations into city and county of Los Angeles agencies are one of the main functions of the Civll Grand Jury. For more on the process and results of an investigation/audit, see here.)
The same day as the parents made their request for an investigation, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in Los Angeles and made a brief statement. Duncan had unqualified praise for the discredited Deasy, who resigned under a cloud of incompetence and the appearance of bid-rigging:
“In a short amont of time, John Deasy did a fantastic job of accelerating the rate of student learning,” said Duncan, who noted that others, including teachers, share the credit.
“The travesty would be somehow if those improvements slow down and stall,” he added.
It’s hard to imagine why a national education secretary would feel positive about Deasy’s autocratic decision to rush iPads purchases from vendors he was clearly too friendly with except to indicate how clueless and out of touch with the concerns of real parents Duncan is.
As Scott Folsom, longtime LAUSD parent activist and education blogger notes:
There is an online petition to sign if you support this effort. There are at least three issues in play:
- The iPads piece, which has the potential for criminal, not just civil grand jury investigation. And federal, not just superior court action. Contract fixing is a felony.
- The MiSiS piece, which is currently being adjudicated in the Alameda County Superior Court,
- The letter writer is a member of the Local Control Funding Formula/Local Control Accountability Plan LAUSD Parent Advisory Committee and has every cause to be concerned that that committee was intentionally ignored in opposition to the legislative intent of the LCFF legislation.>