Why Los Angeles is giving away 651,000 Apple iPads

It’s called the Common Core Technology Project, a publicly funded plan to give every public school student in Los Angeles — more than 651,000 students in 900 schools — an iPad loaded with new digital curriculum.

Bloomberg’s Willow Bay takes a look at the ambitious, costly, and controversial move to take L.A. high tech.


Direct link to video here.

Related articles:
The details about the huge 640,000 iPad rollout in Los Angeles schools – July 26, 2013
Los Angeles schools $30 million iPad deal; LAUSD board voted unanimously for Apple because iPad rated the best – June 21, 2013
Apple stands to make ‘hundreds of millions’ in Los Angeles school deal – June 19, 2013
LA Unified School District awards Apple $30-million contract for iPads as Microsoft whines – June 19, 2013
Apple to offer 10-pack education pricing for ‘iPad mini’ – October 22, 2012
Apple sees schools increasing tablet dominance with iPad in class as ‘iPad mini’ looms – October 22, 2012
Some Aussie schools require all students to own Apple iPads – October 12, 2012
Analyst expects September launch of Apple’s ‘iPad mini’ to boost education sales – June 5, 2012
Illinois elementary school buys 650 iPads for students, 70 MacBook Airs for teachers – June 26, 2012
San Diego Unified School District buys 26,000 Apple iPads; one of the largest K-12 iPad deployments in U.S. – June 26, 2012
Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California to get 1,800 Apple iPads (with video) – March 4, 2012
Apple offering discounted iPad 10-packs for education – March 22, 2010
Madison, Wisconsin schools buy 1,400 Apple iPads – using Microsoft’s money – January 28, 2012
Colorado school goes all-Apple; iPads in classrooms spur student engagement to new heights – January 24, 2012
Student math scores jump 20% with Apple iPad; transforms classroom education – January 20, 2012
Apple reinvents textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad – January 19, 2012
Schools expect iPads to outnumber personal computers in next five years – October 31, 2011
OSU study finds Apple’s powerful iPad decreases expenses, increases productivity – May 3, 2011
Top 50 Apple iPad rollouts in enterprise and education – June 14, 2011
Growing number of U.S. schools embrace Apple’s revolutionary iPad as learning tool – January 4, 2011
Rising generation of iKids slipping Apple iPads instead of books into school backpacks – December 14, 2010
Steve Jobs met Obama to talk education, energy, job creation – October 22, 2010
Apple’s revolutionary iPad dramatically helps Illinois autistic students – October 15, 2010
University of Leeds gives medical students textbooks on Apple iPhones – September 29, 2010
N.J. schools explore using Apple iPads as teaching devices – September 22, 2010
Students in four California school districts trade textbooks for Apple iPads – September 09, 2010
Scottish school becomes first ‘iSchool’ where Apple’s revolutionary iPad replaces pencil and paper – August 31, 2010
Back to school personal computer sales slow except for Apple’s Mac – August 11, 2010
Incoming UC Irvine medical students to receive Apple iPads – August 06, 2010
New Hampshire school giving Apple iPads to incoming freshmen – June 15, 2010
iPad takes off as flight school teaching tool – May 12, 2010
California’s Monte Vista Christian School first to use Apple iPads in classroom – April 21, 2010
Seton Hill University to give new Apple MacBooks and iPads to every full-time student in fall 2010 – March 30, 2010
Kodiak Alaska school district to bid on upgrading to Apple MacBooks, iPads – March 24, 2010
Apple offering discounted iPad 10-packs for education – March 22, 2010
KeyBookshop has over 18,000 educational e-books ready and waiting for Apple’s iPad – March 16, 2010
Tupelo, Mississippi schools get 5,000 Apple MacBooks – October 29, 2009
Greater Atlanta Christian Schools to equip 1,200 students with new Apple MacBooks – October 29, 2009
Maine expands Apple MacBook program to high schools; 71,000 MacBook order is largest of its kind – June 30, 2009


    1. “Fundamental Civil Right for every student to have what the wealthiest have.” Wow. Just wow. When someone says something like that you realize just how inconceivably wide the philosophical divide in this country is.

      1. I don’t think he has a problem “with black kids enjoying iTunes.” The problem is with gov’t STEALING from everyone to give it to someone else.

        1. I think you missed my point.
          The Super claims kids have a right to the same things as rich kids, then denies them a right to the same thing as rich kids.

        2. No that is not the problem, the problem is with the wealthy, employing the poor and keeping the vast majority of the money the poor are generating for the companies for themselves. Maybe if there was some way to make companies share the earning profits of a company equitably amongst all stake holders the poor could afford to get the iPads for themselves. But unfortunately Greed rules and the game is to see who can grab them most buy keeping it from the rest.

          1. So obviously you created a company that employs many people who you pay generously to move them beyond the “poor” status, right?!? Where do I sign up for a job within your company?

            1. God no that company does not exist. I also don’t have so much a problem with the guy who works hard comes up with something people want and pays himself well. But most public companies aren’t that they are run buy some guy(s) that have an MBA that didn’t invent anything just lucked out in getting the rite gig and begrudge anyone else in the company that feels they should be able to eat and feed their families, because it could take away from the millions they think they are worth.

          2. Nope. That’s actually not how the real world works at all. You can go the “life’s unfair, woe is me” route or you can decide to get to work and make something of yourself. Of course that takes actual effort and we’re hardly in the midst of the greatest generation, so it’s much easier for the lachrymose to invent impediments to their success rather than to work for success. This is also why incompetent community organizers can get elected by promising everything for nothing bundled up in a pack of lies capped off with a smile.

            Democrat politicians promise to be nanny for you and your family by taking from others, never from them. Republicans promise to create the right conditions for you to take very good care of yourself and your family, if you work for it. No wonder Generation Lazy lines up to vote for handouts.

            1. Look at the pay difference between top management and workers during the “greatest generation” and compare it to todays. I know, don’t say anything about it or you’ll be labeled a commie socialist loser. Also keep in mind that during the “greatest generation” employees made enough to raise, clothe and feed 3 kids and send them to college while one parent stayed at home, then retired with a livable pension. Try that today.

            2. Did you factor in the Great Depression to check inflation and then WWII to spur growth and the destruction of Europe to give the US a market edge around the world?

              After that, you factor in Europe’s recovery, wage increases in America, tax incentives for US corporations to expand outside our borders to help under-developed countries (then used as a hedge against high wages here), the rise in energy cost related to environmentalism (not related to safety or sanity) and maybe you will start to understand why things were different mid-20th century. There is no correlation.

              Again, History and Economics. Who needs them?

            1. No in the last 20 years or so the wealthy most with no great skill other than getting the rite job, have made it clear that the skilled people that work for them should be able to get by on 1% or 2% a year increases, while the guy on top who already makes more in a year that the people doing the work make in a life time think they need to get 10% or 20% plus a bonus equal to or greater than his salary. I am not talking the vast majority of workers who may be making more that the poor you people seem to think are not deserving of food and clothing. We still have an economy were 80% do the work to make the 20% fabulously wealthy. I used to make what I thought was a decent wage as an IT worker, but over the last 10 years with an average .5% wage increase and cost of living going up 5%-6% per year, I and the majority of non executive workers have lost 50-60% of our buying power wile the executive level have seen their buying power sky rocket, it isn’t because they are contributing that much more to the company but because they have control of the purse.

    2. F2T2, Are you mad about equality or just about the way he said what he said???

      PS, I am sure the school will be saving money over the next 3-5 years by saving on text books (2 of each as one is left at school and one kept home).

      1. I do not like lies. Especially lies that go unchallenged by eye-candy news babes married to Disney CEOs.

        I do not like what is supposed to be a free, independent news media, intended as a major part of checks and balances against government abuses subverted and perverted by Dem/Lib/Progs as a mouthpiece for the Democrat Party and failed “progressive” ideology.

        50 years after trillions of dollars have been wasted by Democrats from LBJ onward on the “war on poverty,” we have the same percentage of “poverty.”

        Dem/Lib/Progs ideas do not work. They harm the family, they harm the country, they destroy freedom, they hurt the economy, and they are wasteful, unnecessary burdens predicated on dispersing a mythical “equality” that simply does not and will not exist.

        There are far better ways to help the less fortunate than via centralized government control. Case in point: OBAMACARE. The bill’s cost of over $2 trillion covers 5 million (and that’s being very generous) or $400,000 per person. Obama has given us a $2 trillion fiasco that brought coverage to 5 million while canceling coverage and raising costs dramatically for about the same number, a number that will grow obscenely over the coming years until collapse or repeal.

        Any more questions?

            1. Thats what your post seems to imply. As is does not address effective methods to educate the populace – it addresses other issues.

            2. I’ll play along: Where in any of my posts did I say that I “consider educating the populace the equivalent of redistribution of wealth?”

              If you want to effectively educate the populace via public education, you’re going to have to break the backs of the teachers unions first.

            3. Not a fan of unions as they exist today either.

              You did not say that i your post, you posted about that under an article about using iPads in education, thus implying some correlation between wealth redistribution and public education.

              There will be lots of debate about the economics and effectiveness of iPads in education, but your post was not about the article so is either entirely off topic OR trying to tie the two together.

            4. His post was concerning a quote of the Superintendent.
              What part did you miss?

              My first post was concerning TWO things the super said that, ironically, didn’t jive with each other, based off F14T16’s post.

        1. “I do not like lies. Especially lies that go unchallenged by eye-candy news babes married to Disney CEOs.”

          Then you’re not a viewer of Fox News then.


            1. There isn’t a single liberal here that can counter your logic and reasoning.
              Liberals are in charge of the education system, and it’s a mess. They have control if the media, and little of what we read is accurate.
              The government teeters on bankruptcy and is snooping on us on a massive scale.
              The courts in America are a sad farce to boot, with liberal judges presiding over what amounts to a ‘you can get all the justice you can afford’ deal.
              The leftist-infested scientific community keeps their ideological monopoly with a flawed peer-review system, ensuring that dissenting views and their authors are discredited and dismissed.
              The culture at large has suffered too. In more rational days my brothers and I could play in our local park all day. 30 years of liberal infection has led to a situation where parents can’t leave their children unattended for a second. And yet there are 2 million in jail and 4 million on parole!!
              The left has had the country by the balls for decades. The result? This generation is the most miserable, most medicated, most ignorant, most spied-on, most self-centered and least trustworthy yet.
              This isn’t the future I grew up hoping for.

    3. Every student does have the ‘fundamental civil right’ to have access to the same learning materials, as the wealthiest. If the rich want something above and beyond that, then let them pay extra for private schools

    4. Everybody is missing it !!!
      Words like: COMMON CORE, SUSTAINABLE-BILITY, global GOVERNANCE, are “agenda 21” words to bit by bit turn this country into a third world United Nations-loving socialist country

    5. Re First 2010… ad nauseam

      I remember a MDN posted promise to be less strident and partisan. Maybe it was a throwaway New year’s resolution or just your usual BS. Either way “you simpering Dem/Lib/Prog liar” is way over the top and inaccurate.

      Not all Democrats are Liberals- far from it.
      Not all Liberals are Progressives and the inverse, as well.
      Not all Progressives are Democrats.

  1. I wonder exactly how they plan to protect the children from iPad thieves, as well as deal with those who offer the kids money for the iPads? I’m sure the infrastructure for processing stolen iPads is already in place.

    1. Apple has already provided the tools.

      In Feburary they announced new features and services that allow the district to enroll the devices and add mandatory profiles which CAN NOT be removed. You can even preorder them, preconfigured with your profile now.

      That was the issue initially in LA, students were removing the profile and they could no longer track the device. So yeah, it will be easier than you think to track them down. Once the school enrolls the devices and secures them with their management profile, the thieves are stuck with a locked unusable device. Furthermore

  2. Anything to lighten the load of school backpacks is a good thing.

    Besides, the educational curriculum that is created for the iPads with dynamic content and frequent updates makes textbooks a relic of a long ago past.

    1. Yeah. The kids are getting too much exercise as it is. Wouldn’t want them to actually carry stuff and have to keep track of more than one thing at a time.

  3. Poor choice of words by the super but the intent of ensuring future generations have access to continuously evolving learning technology is good for the society as a whole.

    Surely, no one can argue that using paper and pen is good enough now days or that anyone dares to argue that it is OK for book publishers to skim the education budget.

    If you want to take a stab at anything argue why the schools have not been educating children like this sooner or why are there so many schools that are still stuck in the method of teaching from the early 19th century (blackboard, paper, and pen).

    1. I don’t think paper and pen should ever be deleted from education. Obviously tablets can help generate interest in younger kids and cut down on books for older students, but leave some of the fundamentals that are still needed alone.

  4. Great teachers and very involved parents combine to create motivated, learned, and inquisitive students. EVERYTHING ELSE is fluff.

    If you don’t actively and diligently work to optimize the teacher and parent aspects of the system anything else you do is a waste of time and money. It really does not matter if the students have a supercomputer in their pocket with the combined information of the whole internet on it or if you give them a piece of chalk and a rock to write upon if you don’t attend to the two core elements of the learning process.

    1. Problem with this line of thought is that everything is real life falls on a statistical distribution. Just like everywhere else the majority are average and there is only a portion that are great. There is no way to change that – a distribution will always exist even if one implements policies to move the mean and std deviation. Technology has the possibility of getting more students access to the exceptional educators. Not saying it will, but the alternative is that there is no possibility of that.

      Also, how do schools get parents involved? Sure it does the trick, how do you make it happen?

      1. Improving the two core elements I mentioned will have a greater effect on the distribution (mean and std dev) than all other aspects combined.

        Sure, technology has the **possibility** of allowing students to have access to other educators, but a disaffected student not motivated by teachers or parents very likely won’t even try.

        Pay teachers a lot more and require a lot more out of them. (Today a starting engineer in many fields can make double (or more) what a starting teacher of math/science can make.) Fire bad teachers. Don’t promote or give raises to mediocre teachers. Don’t enact stupid legislation like “No Child Left Behind” which in most cases has either 1) created a system of “teach to the test” and the hell with anything else, or 2) simple grade inflation so no one fails.

        As far as getting parents involved: Schools need to have a very active parent outreach program. Teachers and school officials need to go *way* out of their way to directly interact with patents. Teachers and school officials need to get out of the schools on a regular basis and go meet with parents on the parents’ and students’ home turf. Having a “parent-teacher conference” once a year at the school where few parents actually show up just is not getting the job done. If a teacher has not met face-to-face with every student’s parent s/he is just not doing his/her job.

        1. Having meetings will not get parents involved. It’s the involved parents that want to attend meetings for there kids 🙂

          And the distribution applies to engineers as well. There are probably 10% of the engineers I work with that I would hire if I was to go forma my own company. Since it is a free market, I am sure they are paid more than the average ones as well. There is just no getting over the fact that people perform on a distribution, unless you only need a very small pool of people and can be very-very selective.

  5. I think a better solution would have been to start smaller and learned (along with the kids) how to use this system.

    First, the iPads would never leave school. They would be designated for each class and stay there.

    Start with fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Add the next grade every year as the class gets older. Add third, second and first as kids become more accustomed to seeing older students with iPads, possibly every other year.

    Have a separate iPad at home that the kids use for homework. It will be signed to the parent and should never need to leave the house.

    Gut Common Core…..

  6. In the long run it saves money (books are expensive), allows faster curriculum updates, saves trees and warehouse space, and brings some excitement and 21st century relevance to K-12 education.

    As for “taking” public money — we support public education. And it sure is a better use of public money than all those new Abrams tanks they’re just storing in the desert.

    1. Most of what you wrote makes sense. The iPad CAN save tax dollars over using the Big Publisher scam that is even MORE prevalent in colleges.

      But this-
      “And it sure is a better use of public money than all those new Abrams tanks they’re just storing in the desert.
      -has absolutely nothing to do with education and is a completely different function of the Federal government.

  7. iPads can be great tools for students. They can save a school money over buying textbooks, assuming all textbooks a school wants to have are available in electronic format.

    However, my kids go to a fantastic charter school (all honors program) which refuses to permit iPads in the classroom. There are many reasons for this rule, which I don’t necessarily agree with, but one of their big points of emphasis in the school is to leave pop culture behind to focus on education. Thus, students wear uniforms, and are not permitted to use phones, iPads, etc. during school (so no games, social media, etc.).

    My son is a junior and is being recruited by Ivy League and other high quality colleges. So some educator in L.A. saying we can’t have students being disadvantaged by not having iPads is simply moronic. The iPad does not make the student succeed, the teacher, the learning environment, the parents, and most of all the motivation of the student make a student succeed.

  8. Ignoring the political clap-trap above:

    How’d you like to be in charge of this plan? What do you do with the kids who *SMASH* or SELL their iPads just to be gangsta? What do you decide to do? Get them a new one? Tell them to read off the iPad of a kid who isn’t self-destructive? My brain would overheat and explode.

    A kind thought, but…

  9. Annectodal evidence over 60 years has shown me that kids who succeed in school, and usually in life, had parents who taught kids early how to be enthusiastic in learning to speak, meanings of word, how to count, how to write and how to think …

    And ALMOST ALL of that occurred before they got to kindergarten.

    1. Don’t leave out that critically important aspect of human thought when raising kids: The incentive to be CREATIVE.

      Since we’re here to chatter about Apple, we can never leave out the all important wonder of human creativity. If a kid’s environment, etc., places no importance on creativity, or in fact suppresses it, you get… China.

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