After bungled iPad rollout, Los Angeles school district offers students choice of 6 non-Apple laptops, hybrids

“Los Angeles school district officials have allowed a group of high schools to choose from among six different laptop computers for their students — a marked contrast to last year’s decision to give every pupil an iPad,” Howard Blume reports for The Los Angeles Times. “Contracts that will come under final review by the Board of Education on Tuesday would authorize the purchase of one of six devices for each of the 27 high schools at a cost not to exceed $40 million.”

“In the fall, administrators, teachers and students at those schools will test the laptops to determine whether they should be used going forward,” Blume reports. “What they learn will affect the future of an ongoing effort to provide computers for all students in the nation’s second-largest school system.”

“A year ago… the school board, with little discussion, authorized a $30-million contract with Apple that was expected to expand to at least $500 million. An additional $500 million was earmarked for upgrading Internet connections,” Blume reports. “The rollout of the iPads last fall at 47 schools, however, was beset by challenges, controversy and some mistakes. Students immediately deleted security filters so they could freely browse the Internet. The district recalled the devices at several schools and some students never saw them again. Distribution of the devices quickly fell behind schedule… Districtwide distribution of the iPads is on hold, although some schools still are scheduled to receive them in the fall.”

“The laptop options impressed Carolyn McKnight, the principal at East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet, one of five schools at the Torres complex. Two chose the Lenovo Yoga Touch, two the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and the last, a Dell Latitude E7240,” Blume reports. “A few other campuses chose Chromebooks.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Idiots. God only knows what other idiocy is going on in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

And, why aren’t MacBook Air notebooks among the choices? What a hideous list of crap! Surface Pro 2? Seriously?

In the hands of competent educators and IT staff, Apple’s iPad is unmatched in terms of portability and effectiveness. By the way, those Apple employees who were responsible for failing to properly guide these schools through this major, very public iPad rollout should be pink-slipped with gusto over this clusterfsck. Adios, you blew it, big time. Healthcare.gov had a smoother rollout. That said, if there is a signed contract with Apple, The company should sue the everliving shit out of take appropriate legal action against the Los Angeles Unified School District for every single penny they are owed.

Is your kid in the obviously incompetent LA School District? If so, move.

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
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67 Comments

    1. Then there is the OPPOSITE method of seeing what works!

      If you want to see what the most successful students pick for a “computer” as an indication of what works best, then go to the schools with the top ratings. Look and see what the students are using.

      Just one example from Orange County is Corona del Mar High School, in the top 1% of high schools in the nation.

      Which computers will you RARELY see on campus?

  1. This is sad, although it does highlight an issue that Apple has in the educational and enterprise markets. IT unfamiliarity with proper deployment techniques is hindering adoption of their devices. I believe these crappy laptops are stifling innovative thinking by our youngsters. This failure by Apple to step in and resolve deployment issues will affect other districts looking to do the same thing, and not in Apple’s favor.

    1. I think there are two main factors at work: the first was the inability of whoever was in charge of the deployment of iPads to get it right the first time out. The second is called “being paid under the table.” Someone, probably IT, who believes in PC’s and despises Apple, got this new deal rammed through the system. Smells to guilty to me. Just my two cents.

      1. It could simply be a problem with the costs involved supporting one system over the other vs the security and maintenance (HW and SW) concerns they have. California as a State still has fiscal problems and has to be careful in how they spend their funds. Who knows it could have been someone that was Apple crazed ramming the iPad deal through.

    2. I know it’s sort of in vogue to dump on the Apple people involved, so I’m going to stick up for them even though I wasn’t involved in this effort. First off, look at the budget: $30M for Apple, $500M for upgrading Internet infrastructure. Anyone who doesn’t see the problem right there is clearly not going to understand how Apple was a victim here along with the educational side of LAUSD. Bringing 1 wireless device per student onto a network that needed that much infrastructure upgrade is not only a project management nightmare, given the time constraints, but a surefire success-killer if it wasn’t set up to anticipate what all those kids were going to do with those iPads. Second, and this really does matter, you can’t go into a deployment of that scale with “experience” — LAUSD is the second largest district in the country, so to have had “experience” they would have had to have successfully done a similar project in New York City.
      So, please, take a chill pill, think about how many people (read “agendas”) were involved and keep an eye out for how things progress from here, both with the iPads and with the other attempts. And factor in that those infrastructure upgrades are getting done (benefitting all platforms).

  2. Do you know that Apple was at fault here? It may have been the school board and the staff. Do we know how hard Apple worked to try to resolve these issues?

    1. Obviously, the Apple employees didn’t work hard enough. It’s not that difficult. The pooch was screwed here. Steve Jobs abhorred incompetency. He only wanted “A” players. Cook seems like he will settle for “B” and “C” players.

    2. The IT staff clearly didn’t lock down the iPads properly. All the required web filtering and app locks built in to iOS and cannot be simply turned off or deleted by students. The IT staff either used sub-standard third party filters, gave them all the same passwords, or made some other incompetent mistake.

        1. Apple can’t “insist” on anything. Ultimately, the customer can do whatever they want. They often do. It’s not uncommon for big customers to think they know best, ignore input from consultants and vendors, and do things their own way. When they fail, sometimes they lay the blame back on the vendors and consultants anyway.

          1. Why do you “insist” on being such an idiot.

            Next time somebody “insists” on paying the dinner bill are you going to tell them “you can’t insist”.

  3. Yes my granddaughter was promised a new iPad last fall but it never happened. I was supposing the whole process was usurped by the entitled class of IT doofuses. Unimaginatively choosing from PC’s (booor-ing!) just upped the support cost 10X. Educators aren’t exactly known for their tech smarts.

    1. Being a former educator, I unfortunately agree with you. I am an exception, but there are very few of us.

      The worse part is the administration, who give educators a bad name. Almost universally. Certainly in LA. (While there are exceptions there, too, I still generally agree with the concept of: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, become administrators.) Then lets not even talk about the board, who doesn’t even have to have an education of any sort. Boy, do they ever let that show sometimes!

        1. The educators did *not* make the choice. IT droids, administrators, and either elected or appointed — i.e., politically chosen — board members made the choice.

            1. I know many teachers also prefer Google Chromebooks. There are some advantages that were pointed out to me once. The principle being if any chromebook is ‘infected’ all that is required is a simple power on/off and it’s gone. If a lot more serious a simple <10min restore will work. Another was the complete integration with Google's Cloud office suite for Education making it simplicity itself to manage each class' work the educator has responsibility over.

  4. So the schools f’ed up the rollout of ONE product, so now they are going to roll our SIX products?

    IT is now going to work on 6 laptops instead of 1 iPad?

    LA is far, far too stupid for this to end well.

    1. I think the problem is that there just aren’t enough people around who understand how Apples OS works. Most of the IT guys in schools are Windows guys! Also enterprise wise, I feel Apple should do much more in the way of what’s available in education. If I were a teacher, I don’t think I would know how to use an ipad as an effective teaching tool.

    2. Giving the benefit of the doubt, the choice of 6 laptops seems to be only for a group of high schools. I take that to mean the people making the decisions have opted to do a pilot project with various devices to see which may be a better overall fit for the costs involved before going ahead and rolling out to all the other schools. For all we know it may have been the case where other options were not examined before the decision to use iPads was made and tax revenue was not where the city/State was expecting. The ‘glitch’ in the rollout of iPads may just have been simply one of the reasons for this outcome.

  5. It’s all about job security for the IT department(s), folks. Can you imagine the work load increase from having to support SIX Windows-based platforms? Hours/union dues will increase, additional staff will have to be added, additional training seminars (in Las Vegas, of course) will have to be funded, sophisticated repair equipment will have to be purchased, etc., etc., etc.

    It’s all good, folks (except for the students and the taxpayers)!

  6. LA School district. They used to put auto grease on top of the fences to keep us from jumping the fences when I was in HS. Then we started cutting holes in the fences with bolt cutters. They are a bunch of pathetic losers.

  7. I’ve done over 10 of these deployments. They aren’t easy. There is a learning curve. And Apple’s documentation doesn’t include “this is how you should do it.”
    The tools work. But the procedures for deploying and securing are not intuitive. In addition, kids are brilliant. While I would say a pilot program would have been smart… Anyone who hasn’t done an iPad one-to-one deployment should not be bashing on the LAUSD IT staff.

    1. They’re not getting bashed for the first try. They failed to see they needed to learn from their experience and went in a direction ( or six ) that guarantees another failure. That’s very good justification for bashing.

    2. MY son’s school does iPads. They sent out instructions on how to set up Apple ID. Had students come to a one hour meeting to pick up the ID and boom it was done. Locked down with school approved apps with some flexibility for older
      Great and easy experience.

  8. As we speak, Microsoft is excavating the billion dollars worth of Surface 1 tablets they wrote off and dumped in that landfill in New Mexico . . . MS: “Hey, we found some suckers to buy these !” . . . LAUSD IT Guys: “Ya, with all the dirt and water damage, we’ll have lifetime employment!”

  9. Also… Most IT Staff know how to manage windows already. And chromebooks are stupid simple to manage since you order them tied to an education management account or they aren’t enrolled at all. That’s why they can deploy 6 different computers.

    Also, to MDN: your cursing in news items and comments seems unprofessional. I’ve been using your site and app for years now and it’s the one thing I wish your editors would hold back on. Say what you mean without the vulgarity.

  10. One thing you can sure of. The press and Apple Haters will have a field day with this. It will be headline and talking point arguments for IT/CIO people pressured to bring Apple products in. LA School District just provided ammo for them to use.

  11. Actually, I am in favour of choice within education, in this case. Let them choose the device they want to use, but at least INCLUDE Apple devices!

    This move is just going to recreate the same message that existed back in the Windows IT-mindset days.

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