Guest post by Los Angeles resident and edublogger Understanding Equity.
Contrast between LAUSD and Lewisville ISD, Lewisville, TX: One to One Technology Plan as featured in Ed Week
Recently, issues surrounding the rollout of iPads to students in LAUSD have lead to media reports of breaches in security, missing iPads and indecisiveness as to the iPads take-home policy. Rollouts of iPads in other school districts may bring clarity to a developing set of best practices for implementing initial phases of pilot programs. Pre-planning includes school and community collaboration and a careful analysis of expected outcomes, both educationally and financially.
Clearly there are missing elements of the LAUSD iPad program that Superintendent Deasy should have shared, discussed and had approved by LAUSD board members well before any field test or pilot program was initiated. Lewisville ISD did it, certainly LAUSD could’ve too. Unfortunately, members of both the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and board members apparently were not supplied with any of this information, nor were they directed to materials or examples of iPad rollouts in other districts. As a result, questions, concerns and documented blunders that have recently come to the surface could have been addressed well in advance of any recommendation or vote.
The serious lack of planning on the part of LAUSD is finally coming to light. There is an urgent need for members of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and all LAUSD board members to educate themselves as to the dangers of entering too hastily into this billion dollar program. Shouldn’t LAUSD provide information as to any efforts made to reach out to the education community, consultants or other districts during the planning stages? In addition, without a clear financial plan that takes into consideration future costs of maintaining the program, LAUSD is potentially putting the fiscal health of the district in even greater jeopardy.
LAUSD must also take into consideration the loss of the public’s trust in school bond issues. Future bonds will meet a much greater resistance if the public feels that LAUSD has used present bonds inappropriately. Finally, conflict of interest issues involving Superintendent Deasy with Apple and Jaime Aquino with Pearson also need to be resolved.
For clarification and to provide corroborating documentation, see links below to information and sample use agreements from other schools utilizing similar programs.
Each of the following below should be considered deal-breakers if Los Angeles Unified School District cannot clearly demonstrate how it will maintain the iPad program beyond the first three years and remain financially viable. Any reduction of educational services to cover continued costs is putting at risk the exact same students LAUSD claims need the most help.
- Cost – present and future (updating hardware and software, support personnel and professional development).
- High student poverty and transiency – creates barriers to replacement and tracking of lost, damaged and stolen iPads with NO plan for funding if LAUSD exceeds the agreed 5% replacement limit.
- Security issues – personal safety of children carrying iPads to and from school
- Unknown law enforcement costs – LAUSD already engaging multiple agencies to ensure safe passage, retrieval of stolen iPads and prosecution of perpetrators.
- Incomplete software – choice of Pearson to supply curriculum that is still in development.