The Los Angeles Unified district cannot afford to provide all its students with a digital computing device, interim Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines has announced.
That decision marks a major policy reversal for the country’s second-largest district, which for nearly two years has been under scrutiny for its seemingly star-crossed effort to give iPads to 641,000 students, as well as to staff members and administrators.
“We are committed to providing technology to our children,” Mr. Cortines said in a statement Feb. 20. “We will need to identify alternative ongoing resources to fund the curriculum that is preloaded on some of the devices, which is of course why I believe that, currently, the district does not have sufficient funds to purchase and maintain technology in a 1:1 model.”
In November 2013, Education Week reported problems associated with the Pearson digital curriculum intended to be included on the iPads. Later, the district’s independent evaluator, the American Institutes for Research, concluded that the curriculum had gaping holes, was plagued by technical glitches, and was almost never used in the classroom.
This past December, the FBI raided district headquarters, taking away 20 boxes of materials in what has been reported to be an investigation into the bid process that led to contracts for Apple and Pearson.
Former schools Superintendent John Deasy, who led the iPads-for-all effort, steadfastly defended the program. He resigned in October.
Fifty-eight schools now have a total of more than 90,000 iPads. The district plans to proceed with existing efforts to test laptop computers or Chromebooks at 21 additional high schools.
A version of this article appeared in the March 04, 2015 edition of Education Week as L.A. Shifts Gears Over Computers-for-All-Students Policy