Los Angeles schools seeking refund over botched iPad plan

“The country’s second-largest school district is taking another step to back away from an ambitious school technology project, ending its use of content produced by Pearson PLC that was planned for the district’s personal devices.,” Caroline Porter reports for The Wall Street Journal. “”

“The effort, which was known as the Common Core Technology Project and projected to cost at least $1.3 billion, aimed to outfit every student in the school district with an iPad or laptop computer using voter-approved bonds. Apple Inc. provided iPads to the district and provided curriculum through subcontractor Pearson,” Porter reports. “In a letter to Apple dated April 13, the Los Angeles Unified School District spelled out its aims to halt new deliveries of Pearson Education Inc. curriculum and to stop the use of Pearson products by June 30. The letter also asks for a meeting this month to discuss a refund for some products that were deemed unusable.”

“The district hasn’t said how much money they are asking for, and it is unclear whether Pearson or Apple would pay, according to a district spokeswoman,” Porter reports. “The district has spent about $103 million on the project so far.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: L.A.’s rolling clusterfsck rolls on.

Related articles:
U.S. FBI seizes L.A. Unified School District iPad documents; 20 boxes carted away in surprise visit – December 2, 2014
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


      1. Borders, language, culture. When borders go, then culture goes. The least common denominator in human existence is tyranny. You won’t get a choice in how you wear your chains, son.

        1. Poster’s post hits the mark. Appreciating the world without borders is a naive bumper sticker-like ideal. There are *cultures that I don’t want to determine my future (I didn’t say *race). Yes, until there’s a change–it is the law as well.

      2. In the U.S.A., we have laws. What’s the sense of having laws if you’re not going to enforce them? As far as illegal immigration, what’s the point, other than to ruin the country as quickly as possible? Real immigrants assimilate into the culture. This is how the melting pot works. It explodes eventually when you have enclaves of Mexicans, Islamics, etc. All speaking different languages, all massed in their own enclaves. History proves this. Wake TF up.

        1. All immigrants assimilate into the culture too. Immigrants ALWAYS speak their own language. But the US-born children all learn English, and their children are as native as anyone else.

          It has always been thus — but the right-wing hate machine doesn’t want you to know this. What you are saying about Mexicans was said a century ago against the Italians, the Irish and the Jews, and before that the Chinese and Catholics. Go spread your hate elsewhere.

      1. Ok, why don’t you go somewhere where there is no prior owner of the land and live there? The way things usually go in conflicts between countries is that the victor keeps the land — this is obvious, but leave it up to people to borrow their hate from the past.

  1. Illegals? Just about every place in the southwest has a Spanish name. Just because we took it away from Mexico does not mean that it is rightly ours and they all should leave. If someone invades your home and forces you out -how would you like that? Culture lost without borders? Are you serious? Not at all, look at all major city Burroughs.

    1. Better go back and take a closer look at history.

      Both Tejanos and Californios were deeply involved in breaking away from Mexican rule. They weren’t by any means powerless bystanders. To say otherwise is insulting to their memory.

  2. At the risk of being ostracized for posting something *on topic*…

    The problem is obviously Pearson. But it may go even higher still. Common Core is the worst education plan ever rolled out. Being forced to comply with CC may make in impossible for Pearson (or anyone else!) to develop a decent education plan.

    And yet I have to also look at a less than 10% commitment and wonder if they even gave it enough of a chance to judge.

    Regardless, the iPads are absolutely not the problem!

    1. Pearson wants common core. It means they can get their meathooks into more public money. Look at Jeb Bush, Neil Bush and common core. I cannot wait for this ticking time bomb to go off in the primaries. Bush should have been DOA on common core and his conflict of interest. Let’s see if the media connects this up to his brother Neil’s education software company.

  3. This is everything about common core and Pearson, the politically connected private company, and nothing about Apple iPads. Jeb Bush, through his non-profit, and in collusion with his brothers, have a hand in rewriting the laws in many states to open the doors for for-profit companies to plunder the education dollar.

  4. Here is a chance foe some old fashioned investigative journalism to really find out and report to us on this issue. I would like to know the facts here, not a bunch of biased and opinionated takes like we are constantly hammered with in this new era of “infotainment”. Some background info on how the hundreds (thousands?) of other successful deployments of iPads in education differ from the LA failure would be helpful.

  5. I love how the first impression & perception is Apple is to blame when it’s the software people Pearson PLC (Pretty Lousy Company) who screwed up royally.

    L.A. also has been dealing with another lousy bit of essential school system software appropriately known as Misis (as in misses). Over-promised, under-scheduled and under-developed – the mantra of many subcontracted software development deals these days. My wife suffers this at the bank she works at too dealing with the software vendors.

    1. Didn’t Apple subcontract Pearson? If so, then as the contractor they share some of the ‘fault’ as is common in other contractor cases where oversight of sub-contractors was insufficient.

      1. No, the district was responsible for setting up the whole magilla with Apple just supplying the hardware but as usual government is filled with idiots who don’t know what they’re doing. They are making it sound though that the LAUSD bought this educational “package” solution from Apple & Pearson as if they had nothing to do with it. Looks like Apple was shipping the Pearson software on the iPads though. How much Apple was responsible for what Pearson produced seems to be unclear.

  6. I work in a school district and in a way I am glad to see LAUSD looking to sue Pearson. I have had it will tech companies coming into school districts and selling poorly designed software. Usually, the school district just takes it. The schools struggle with poorly preforming and/or ineffective software for a few years before giving up on it. Not that the school districts are not also to blame. Often the person(s) deciding to purchase the program has/have no business purchasing software. Sometimes its an administrator who needs to show they are taking a problem seriously. What better way to show you are addressing a problem in a modern technological way than buying a $50K software program? Whether the program is effective can wait for another day.

  7. I still don’t get people bashing California.

    California is where you beloved Apple started, grew and bloomed.

    California is the home of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and many more who made the computer revolution.

    The California culture made it possible.

    It still makes is possible.

    Most of the technological innovation comes from California.

    Because its cultura allows it. There’s a reason why there’s no other place like Silicon Valley.

    I’m a foreing guy. I was a legal immigrant. I lived in California for 7 years. I travel to California every year. I absolutely love California and its people. I’ve been in many States. I’ve met people for all over the USA. I have a lot of American friends. And there’s nothing (NOTHING) like California. It’s the best State of the Union.

    Don’t mean to disrespect anybody. I’m not for illegal immigration (it hurts legal immigrants more than you think). Does California has issues? Sure. But would I be living in the USA again (I’m planning to go back), I’d be in California, and only in California.

    Sorry, guys, I just can’t stand the bashing.

    1. The California of Steve Jobs childhood and the birth of Apple is far different from today’s California. They are not bashing the State of California, they are bashing the state of California. There is a difference.

  8. we live in the post-apple world. The new world is open and heterogeneous, android dominates mobile, PCs dominate productivity, etc. Education needs to be about practicality. Apple’s luxory computing devices are popular, but do not add anything to learning they cannot get elsewhere. Plus clearly, this was a case of greed, not student benefit.

    Kudos to the LA district for putting both apple and this questionable deal on notice: taxpayers are watching.

    1. “Clearly” a case of greed? We’re you privy to the negotiations? Do you know exactly what Pearson promised their software could do? My hunch is the departed head of the LA Unified School District (who was booted over the iPad issue) was just ahead of his time. Enough Return on Investment studies have shown Apple hardware is cost-effective in the long-term.

      On my campus, for example, PCs are replaced on a strict three-year replacement schedule. In my Mac-only department, we are updating our Macs for the first time in six years, and only because we inherited a 2011 Mac (from another group) that will replace one of our 2009 models. Which, by the way, is still running just fine.

      1. Unfortunately, the “new” economy cares little for long term value. My school bought a couple thousand Chromebooks. I doubt many of them will be working in three years, but, hey – that’s for people to worry about replacing in three years. Who know what the tech environment will look like in three years.

        Companies will only build in the quality customers demand. Android and Windows users demand little – get little. Apple is an aberration in building in high quality and having the confidence that people will pay for it. Really quite arrogant.

  9. I was going to say that I wanted to see the contract LAUSD had with Apple. But everything tells me that they are NOT going to sue Apple. The WSJ is indicating that they only want money for non-working gear. Another article, linked below, shows distinct waffling over suing Apple, which shouts to me that they have no legal grounds to do so. Then add to that the following:

    Now, regulators are looking into whether school officials somehow rigged the program in Apple’s favor. The iPads were priced at more than $700 apiece for the LAUSD, much more than other alternatives running operating systems from Microsoft and Google. John Deasy, the superintendent who championed the project, was also an Apple shareholder. He stepped down amid the project’s unwinding. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the bidding process.

    Huge iPad buyer demands Apple refund

    From my POV I see no problem with LAUSD buying Apple gear for education. What’s obviously wrong so far is Pearson PLC and LAUSD management.

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