NYC public schools can’t buy iPads in yet another case of government unable to get out of its own way

“In government, you have to make peace with the fact that some things won’t make sense — but sometimes a stubborn problem gnaws at you,” Gale Brewer writes for Crain’s New York Business. “That is how I have felt about getting tablet computers into public schools.”

“They are important for today’s students and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and job seekers, especially now that mobile devices have become the primary way to get online. They can help instruction in all kinds of ways: teaching computer science and coding skills, helping English language learners and enabling new forms of classroom collaboration. In particular, they can be transformative for special education, opening up opportunities and giving a voice to students with impaired motor skills, speech or mobility,” Brewer writes. “But it is hard to get more tablets into our schools because the city cannot spend capital funds on tablets—not in the Department of Education’s budget and not in City Council members’ or borough presidents’ allocations. This is because of the city comptroller’s Directive 10, drafted in 2011 (a year after iPads were introduced, when they were far from the essential devices they are today).”

“The comptroller’s office puts forward rules to ensure capital funds are spent properly,” Brewer writes. “Directive 10 goes far beyond those commonsense rules, banning “iPads and similar products” by name, even if they meet all the other stated criteria for appropriate capital projects.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: More poof of the misnomer that is “government intelligence.”

Apple CEO Cook to President Trump: The U.S. should have the most modern government in the world; coding should be a requirement in every public school – June 20, 2017
Google’s Chromebooks are still spying on grade school students – April 21, 2017
Apple iPad helps lift school district’s graduation rate to 82% from 65% – May 13, 2016
New York school district converts 75% of its curriculum to Apple’s iPad – June 19, 2015


    1. botty, you have a weak mind that perceives everything to the far right to be good and just and everything to the left of moderate to be reviled. But the world is not binary left/right and those labels are insufficient and misleading in many cases. Both Roy Moore and John Kasich are Republicans, but they are very different in ability and temperament. Kasich would make a much better POTUS than Trump. Moore would make a great jail companion for Trump.

      MDN is similarly misguided, blaming the “government” for all things and tossing all public employees into the same pot. People need to take full responsibility for the people that they elect, as well as the actions of those people. I see way too many people bitching from the sidelines while doing nothing. Voting is an important step, but it is only a start, not the end. Get engaged with your local govenment, schools, and regulatory boards. Take responsibility!

        1. Not likely, botty. Even die-hard far right Republicans can only stand a certain amount of moral corruption in the name of partisan purity. The stench of hypocrisy, lying, and corruption in the Trump Administration and toadying Republican senators and congressional representatives is growing too strong for even a few always-Trumpers like yourself.

          The majority of American voters disagree with Trump and Republican policies. Their voices will be heard despite the disgusting gerrymandering of the right.

            1. Patience comrade, he’s like a Canadian Mountie. He always gets his man.
              Just as soon as the rats start squealing.

              BTW – Your Trump impression isn’t very good.

            2. uh, Mueller was the fúcking bagman hand delivering uranium samples to Russian intel at a Moscow tarmac for the Obama administration.

              effin’ dolt.

            3. You know that’s fake news/Fox News (same thing)
              You just wanted to have your own Russian investigation as a diversion. It won’t work, Trumps going down.

        2. botvinnik,

          Yes it is possible that this is a smear campaign, although I will tell you that when I was a prosecutor I didn’t have much trouble deciding who was more credible when the choice was between the accused criminal (who has every reason to lie) and eight to twelve victims making substantially the same allegation (with no apparent reason to lie and a lot of reputation to lose).

          That is sort of beside the point, though, since any number of prominent figures (and not just within the Alabama Republican Party) have made it quite clear that they plan to support Roy Moore even if all the accusations are true.

          That raised the question that I asked GeoB on another thread almost two days ago, and which he has refused to answer:

          Would you still vote for a Republican senatorial candidate over his Democrat opponent even if you knew with absolute certainty that the Republican had used his status as a 32-year-old criminal prosecutor to persuade a 14-year-old ninth-grader (perhaps your own daughter) to let him take off her clothes and feel between her legs?

          That it is even possible to ask that question suggests that partisanship has taken our country a long way down a dark road.

  1. The idea of tablets replacing textbooks has not really worked out yet. Not is only the cost of acquiring the units high but the content will need to be paid for.
    The other failure is the lack of training and implementation when such initiatives have been attempted.
    i don’t think it is as simple as blaming Democrats for the issue. For example how many businesses has successfully switched to mobile computing for their main activities? It takes time, money, logistical support and decent software to make it happen. Implementing something like that on a large scale like a school district or business is not trivial.

    1. Though it is complicated, I see multi-faceted learning.

      We need initially reading and writing. Somewhere along the way we need to be able to gain reasoning & thinking. Then we have to be able to adapt to the tools of the moment used from home to work.

      There is no easy path to all of this but parents and teachers have to do their best to guide the kids so they have a chance at a “new normal” job and career. No career escapes the digital circus today.

      1. Interesting my iPad has been my only textbook for years and I used to love the Dorling Kindersley type publications but that was back in the 80s/90s. I have certainly learned more using it than I ever did from text books at school so I am rather shocked to hear the relative negativity towards using them in this capacity. As for their banning altogether that is beyond stupid and shortsighted and indeed I am amazed it is actually even legal.

    2. There should be zero complications using iPads or Kindles to replace textbooks. Been working on a post graduate degree for 2 years and have been able to buy 90% of my textbooks on the Kindle store and read them on my iPad, Mac, or iPhone whenever I need to. Easy to take notes, highlight passages, create flash cards, copy quotes, references, bibliographies, etc. Usually have to buy about 10-15 books per class. Also have digital libraries like ProQuest Ebook Central with many books online which I can read, mark up, quote, etc. without buying.

  2. Until such time as parents are held responsible for damage and theft of tablets and laptops, I vote against them. That is actually the main reason why Chromebooks, etc are used and honestly i support it based upon that. Cheap to replace and it WILL happen to an extent that will make you choke. I worked in a school system for 10 years and I know.

    Speaking as a true believer Mac user since 1988.

      1. Before I knew better, TKD, I agreed with you. I even managed an iPad rollout in a school of 1,500 students and staff. But because they were unable to come close to affording iPads 2.5 years ago for the middle school students, I assisted my daughter’s school in evaluating Chromebooks, and they ended up rolling them out to 6-8th grade. Those sweet little Chrome-beasties cost about $200/each with case and Google management license, half of the cheapest iPad offered to schools at that time. Their performance has been stellar. Hardly any hardware problems, the worst problem being about six cracked screens over this time– screens replaced at the cost of a $30 part and 10 minutes of my time to swap out. Many of us in Edu-tech have been very vocal about this to Apple and its reps, but schools have become low priority for Apple, and with Chromebooks rising in popularity, that’s just stupid. Many Google Apps schools like my daughter’s which “settled” for Chromebooks have found them to be extremely good value, and they’re unlikely to switch back to iPads even though Apple finally offers a ~$300 iPad to schools. Chromebooks USED to suck, but they have improved and gotten even less expensive. For $250 now schools can get a Chromebook that converts to a tablet, not as fancy as an iPad, but it does Google Docs much better, and it does games much worse, exactly what schools want.

          1. Why should you need to justify anything? To show that despite your well reasoned statements, your loyalty remains pure?

            The whole iOS ecosystem is administered by Apple. They are the IT department. Fire 90% of the IT staff, especially the executives and you’ve found the money.

            BTW, that’s exactly why I wouldn’t do it.

  3. Apple blew it in schools way to expensive and not cost effective for the environment. Chrome books serve the purpose much better and are much more cost effective. Apple plain blew it in this space.

  4. The purpose of this rule is to have iPads classified as consumables and bought out of the operating budget. Seriously, can’t anyone on this site say anything useful?

    1. This isn’t a #mystupidgovernment issue. Private business operates under the same accounting principles that draw a line between buying consumables and capital expenditures. Putting a purchase on the wrong side of the line will bring down the wrath of the outside auditors and IRS.

      In a public school environment, an iPad isn’t likely to last a full five years, so it is a consumable. The prohibition on using the capital expenditure budget makes perfect sense. The gratuitous government bashing misses the point.

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