U.S. FBI seizes L.A. Unified School District iPad documents; 20 boxes carted away in surprise visit

“FBI agents on Monday removed 20 boxes of documents from the Los Angeles Unified School District related to the awarding of contracts for the ill-fated $1.3 billion iPad project, officials confirmed,” Howard Blume reports for The Los Angeles Times. “The FBI visit surprised school officials, according to L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines.”

“Cortines said he was still waiting for a report on the nature of the investigation, but other sources within the district confirmed that the agents were focusing on the effort to provide every student, teacher and campus administrator with computers,” Blume reports. “The iPads-for-all project was a signature initiative of his predecessor, John Deasy, who resigned under pressure in October. Deasy readily acknowledged that the project was an expensive draw from bond funds. But he said there was no other way to pay for what he called a civil rights imperative — to provide low-income students equal access to technology in the nation’s second-largest school system. The L.A. Unified Board of Education approved the iPad contract without opposition in June 2013.”

“[Deasy] has denied any wrongdoing. And an internal report that examined the technology effort showed major problems with the process and the implementation,” Blume reports. “An internal LAUSD investigation is continuing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Were the boxes labeled “Systemic Incompetence” or just the usual “Yet Another Clusterfuck?”

Related articles:
Beleaguered L.A. schools superintendent to resign in wake of iPad fiasco – October 16, 2014
Los Angeles teachers union calls for investigation of school super Deasy’s ties to Apple, Pearson execs – August 26, 2014
L.A. Unified School District suspends Apple iPad contract – August 26, 2014
L.A. Unified School District repossesses students’ iPads as $1-billion plan hits hurdles – October 1, 2013

41 Comments

  1. When will people realize that technology almost NEVER “solves” a problem it just make the solutions easier. I am shocked at how many teachers and parents I meet think that giving a kid an iPad, Computer or Laptop “improves” education. It improves the potential to educate buy you have to have a plan – what you are going to teach, how to teach it, and how you are going to support the equipment (i.e. what if it breaks, gets broken, or doesn’t work right). Whether its a Project Manger that thinks MS Project will “fix” their Project or a parent that thinks MS Word will suddenly write their kids term paper. Technology is a TOOL not a SOLUTION.

    1. While I largely agree with your post I just don’t see it addressing the primary question raised by this article, which is: What the hell is the Federal Bureau of Investigation doing involving itself in a city school district’s failed computer integration program?!! L.A. bit off more than they were prepared for. Since when is incompetence a federal crime? Where is the CA State Attorney General? If there is a potential crime here (which I doubt) why the Feds instead of a state authority. That’s a rhetorical question. We know why, and it makes me sick. Next step: school districts receiving any Federal dollars (aka- your earnings paid as taxes) will need permission from Washington DC before making any decisions about what they can buy. If it turns out that somebody pocketed a few million bucks I’ll eat my words, but I think it boils down to some people making decisions for things about which they were woefully ignorant.

      1. Incompetence killed this deal for sure, but the real issue is that the former Superintendent appears to have had inappropriate ties to a software publisher. In addition, the cost of the iPads were extravagant and much as it pains me to say it, there are far less expensive options for education. Including (gulp) Chromebooks. So the FBI is looking into potential criminal aspects of the deal between Apple, the ex-Superintendent John Deasy, and software maker “Pearson.”

    1. Actually, this is NOT a case of government incompetence.

      The LAUSD hired Pearson, a massive multi-national PRIVATE CORPORATION to manage the iPad program, by installing special educational apps that were supposed to control what programs students had access to.

      Pearson’s programming was apparently laughably easy to hack, and students were going online and doing what students with iPads do: playing games, checking out porn, and watching Netflix instead of studying.

      The LAUSD was following the “limited government” approach by not hiring their own programming staff, and relying on the private sector EXPERTS. And look how well that worked out for them.

      Here’s a link to the Pearson website, which shows some of the companyies they control: http://timeline.pearson.com

      1. Actually that characterization is untrue. Pearson was not hired to lock down the iPads at all, just provide the educational software to be installed, essentially an app. The security issue was with LAUSD trying to lock down the devices in a certain way and students found a way around it.

        I’m trying to figure out the complaint about a private corporation that focuses on education providing educational software? Is that some sort of a crime where you come from? That’s kind of like a huge multi-national private corporation called Apple providing products that they produce for a profit. No scandal there, it’s called the free market.

      2. I would argue that there is huge incompetence on the part of LA City Schools IT. THEY should have been the ones to lock down EXACTLY how all of this was going to work instead of relying upon others. They are the ones who should know their environment. They are the ones who should have put together an RFP with no holes, and created a small test program for a couple of classrooms. In addition, if something screwy was going on between the Superintendent and Pearson, THEY should have been the ones to report it.

        Public Education is the epitome of Government. When you walk through the door of an organization like LA City Schools, you know that if you can just wipe your nose you’re smarter than everyone there.

        And man is it sad when you look at all those little faces, thinking they’re there for an education and what they’re really there for is bargaining chips for unions.

    1. I too find it hard to expect the FBI to be investigating the outrageous problems at the L.A. school district. This sounds more like a blundering attempt to find something to hate about Apple. But we’ll see.

      Dear Apple: Thank you, as always, for supporting your customers!

  2. ooh, ooh Mr FBI Badass Agent! ooh, ooh, you sure got ol’ Apple now! Gotta stop that big contract, then that’ll just bring that soon-to-be ONE TRILLION DOLLAR COMPANY to its knees! Then they’ll “play ball” on that encryption! ooh! ooh! ooh!

    godddamned toadies.

      1. Again with replying to your own posts. This has to do with the problems encountered with students who got the first deliveries finds ways to get around the security software on the iPads. That stopped the order. Later they found a very cozy relationship with Apple and the administrator who arranged the big buy. Payola? No not Apple. Never. I know think the government is after Apple, but how about waiting for the details for a change, fella?

            1. pathetic |pəˈTHetik|
              adjective
              1 arousing pity, esp. through vulnerability or sadness: She looked so pathetic that I bent down to comfort her.
              • informal miserably inadequate: Sean’s fake user names were so pathetic that he was ignored,
              2 archaic relating to the emotions.

              SYN: Cocoaboyism, feeble, woeful, sorry, poor, pitiful, lamentable, deplorable, contemptible, inadequate, paltry, insufficient, unsatisfactory.

            2. Hmmm. Interesting how you can NEVER actually counter what I or anyone else says about you, e.g. that you a putrid minded, nasty little fuck. Anything you say about me – or anyone else – – cannot obscure the truth of that, as you demonstrate it over and over… and over.

            3. Do you have a family? A job? Do you behave with others like you do here? I cannot imagine you do.

              And I cannot imagine that others could stand be around you if you spewed even a tenth of the poison you do here.

              You’re just a nasty shitty little wannabe bully and coward who has found an anonymous venue to dump without consequence. Please do try the same someday with a police officer who has pulled you over, your boss, or a 300lb biker.

    1. botty, make sure that your tinfoil lined hockey helmet is on. I don’t want you to hurt yourself of let those bad Guvrinmint people get into your head again.

    2. botty, make sure that your tinfoil lined hockey helmet is on. I don’t want you to hurt yourself of let those bad Guvrinmint people get into your head again.

      Are you talking to yourself again?

  3. Gosh this is going to call for a few extra batches of popcorn. TomInTulsa, thanks for the great first post, you are spot on, but unfortunately many decisions like this are top down and not grass roots.

    Institutes used to service people, now people service institutes.

      1. Uh, those magical mystical powers are not mine, they are the universe proper, and the universe certainly does not need a fix.

        Say, how are you coming along with that tit for tat question I asked of you? You know the one where I politely answered one of your questions to be best of my abilities and asked to see if you could do the same by identifying two signatories from the U.S. Constitution that were slave owners.

        I’m just testing the debate rules of thumb when dealing with an American. They are:

        1. Expect the American to insult the messenger and totally disregard the message.
        2. Expect the American to use smoke and mirrors to distract from the main issue or request.
        3. Expect the American to NEVER EVER answer a straight forward polite question.

        I just want to see if number 3 holds up. So far you are doing great so don’t feel forced or rushed to answer that simple question I’ve asked of you.

        However each time I remind you I do go through the routine of looking up another signatory and the one I just looked up is another slave owner. Wow, who would have though that there were so many slave owners that were signatories of the U.S. Constitution.

        Thanks for helping me see this document as it deserves to be seen. Those North American Indians were pretty spot on when they pointed out that the white man speak with forked tongue.
        Mission Accomplished.

          1. Ah hang on to that rule #1 botvinnik. Of course I’m totally certifiable and crazy depending on certain parameters. I am a peace loving being of the free and civilized world.

            That’s where the tit for tat comes in. I consider any nation that in this day and age that decides to how do you put it “torture some folks” and invade other countries on totally fabricated tales and take no responsibility for it to be totally insane. That’s why learning about those slave owners that created the U.S. Constitution is really adding insight into my understanding.

            Wow, I just found one out that one of those slave owners was from Delaware imagine that.

            I’ll have to post the whole list when I’m through, unless of course you are ready willing and able to post the names of two slave owners from the list provided earlier.

            It’s your choice botvinnik, and my bet is that you will choose not to resolve this in a peaceful and civilized manner. You are way too patriotic for that.

  4. This has little to do with Apple, and everything to do with the former head of the LAUSD. Apparently, he may have been a bit too cozy with some Apple sales folks.

    The program itself was probably be seen as slightly ahead of its time, as I see more and more schools (private and public) having iPads available for students to play with and work with. If LAUSD had started out with a reasonably sized pilot program, there would have been no controversy, and John Deasy would still have his job.

    Quite simply, Deasy pissed off too many entrenched powers in the school system by trying to change too much too fast… But ultimately, he was right.

    1. “This has little to do with Apple, and everything to do with the former head of the LAUSD.”

      That’s what one would think it appears to be, but not the way it is. No FBI operation of this magnitude would be allowed without the approval of the Director of the FBI. The Director of the FBI reports directly to the Attorney General. As you may know, the current AG, Eric “Son Of Lucifer” Holder, reports directly to the President. This is political.

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