Providing every student with an iPad was supposed to revolutionize education in L.A. schools and prepare students for the future. Instead the computer tablets are creating a billion-dollar headache for LAUSD leaders.
Just a couple of days ago, LAUSD officials demanded a refund from tech giant Apple because the district says educational software on the devices doesn’t work. The software was provided by the New York company Pearson – but it came pre-installed on the devices.
Now, LAUSD is facing a federal investigation from an agency usually associated with crooked Wall Street types. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the district’s use of bond funds to pay for the project. The bond money approved by voters was supposed to be used for new construction and facilities improvements. The LAUSD argues that adopting new technologies, like buying iPads, falls within the rules of how the bond funds could be spent.
The SEC action comes on top of an ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI into the iPads affair. That probe is reportedly focusing on possibly inappropriate contacts between LAUSD officials and Apple during the contracting process.
Problems with the rollout of the $1.3 billion iPad program contributed to the departure of Superintendent John Deasy last year. Deasy is gone now, but the story of the LAUSD’s troubled iPad saga is still being written.