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LAUSD superintendent cancels remainder of the Apple/Pearson contract

We knew that there was trouble brewing for the L.A. Unified School District’s (LAUSD) $500 million iPad acquisition program (plus an additional $500 million to improve internet access and infrastructure), but it looks as though the remained of the contract has been nixed completely.
The last time we visited this story, the LAUSD announced that it would no longer go with an all-iPad strategy and instead gave individual schools the ability to test out what devices worked best for their students. Devices offered under the pilot program included the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, Microsoft Surface Pro 2, and various Chromebooks.
However, the latest revelations that LAUSD superintendent, John Deasy, and his top deputy might have too close ties with Apple and its subcontractor cast further doubt on the program according to a new report by the LA Times. Deasy, who has been a big proponent of the Apple contract, recently came under fire after it was revealed that the initial contract had favorable provisions for both Apple, which produces the iPads, and Pearson, which acted as a subcontractor and was tasked with handling the curriculum for the iPads.
Emails exchanged between Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino and Pearson execs proved particularly interesting, with Aquino writing in 2012 before the contract was even awarded, "I believe we would have to make sure that your bid is the lowest one.”

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy
Before taking a position as Deputy Superintendent, Aquino worked for America’s Choice, a company that describes itself as a “highly regarded K-12 internationally benchmarked, research-based school reform company.” In 2010, America’s Choice was acquired by Pearson, and operates alongside Pearson’s K12 Solutions business.
Aquino resigned as Deputy Superintendent in December 2013, and took a position with New Teacher Center in March.
Deasy defended the actions of Aquino, and his own email correspondence, stating, "Nothing was done in any inappropriate way whatsoever. Of course I talk to people. I would be expected to."
Regardless of his original intentions, Deasy sent a memo to school board members yesterday, which in part read:
Moving forward, we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc.
Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the CCTP and receive new information from the California Department of Education regarding assessments.
Using newly developed contracts, the LAUSD will provide 18,000 laptops to students. Deasy goes on to note his memo that he expects both Apple and Pearson to compete for the new contracts.
However, things won’t be business as usual this time around with the new contracts according to Deasy. “We will incorporate the lessons learned from the original procurement process, including the first two phases and the laptop pilot,” said Deasy. “Specifically, we will be re-visiting the criteria on which original specifications were based, as well as review vendor responses and student feedback to the laptop pilot.”

Sources: LA Times, Scribd

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What's this?
By retrospooty on 8/26/2014 12:56:03 PM , Rating: 5
Shady corporate partnership deals from a government agency? Not at all surprising. The only thing surprising here is that it was stopped. That is the rare gem here.

RE: What's this?
By thesafetyisoff on 8/26/2014 1:26:46 PM , Rating: 4
Also surprising is that Deasy still has a job, despite running the LAUSD essentially into bankruptcy with that crooked deal.

Whenever you think LAUSD can't possibly do anything worse, they find a way.

RE: What's this?
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2014 2:09:36 PM , Rating: 5
Why is that surprising though? Government officials are never held accountable.

RE: What's this?
By Nutzo on 8/26/2014 6:45:02 PM , Rating: 1
Unless they are a Republican in California, or they stand up to the unions. Then they will be destroyed.

RE: What's this?
By room200 on 8/26/2014 9:01:05 PM , Rating: 4
Neither are corporations, but you don't complain about THAT.

RE: What's this?
By Dorkyman on 8/26/2014 10:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
Ooooh. Big bad corporations. Tell you what--don't buy anything produced by a corporation.

RE: What's this?
By bitmover461 on 8/27/2014 9:44:23 AM , Rating: 2
room222 doesn't understand that when corporations screw up, you have a choice to go elsewhere. Remember Korvettes and WT Grant? Probably not. When governments screw up, you are stuck with the stupidity for years/decades/lifetimes.

RE: What's this?
By Grast5150 on 8/28/2014 1:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
Corporations are a fictional entity constructed for the sole purpose of profit. They are not real people. In this case, the CEO of Pearson and John Deasy should be investigated by the Grand Jury for fraud, collusion, and theft of public funds. The emails seem to support more than enough evidence to support an official Grand Jury Inditement.

So if there is a failure of government, it the failure of the local and state's attorney to pursue an obvious case of criminal activity.


RE: What's this?
By Spuke on 8/26/2014 1:33:24 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing surprising here is that it was stopped. That is the rare gem here.
Especially in CA, the state that doesn't give crap what its citizens think generally. I've seen bigger pushbacks on other things that were completely ignored. Not sure what the motivation was for them to give this up so easily.

RE: What's this?
By fic2 on 8/26/2014 1:40:14 PM , Rating: 3
I would guess you will see the motivation in the new, larger contract that will probably mostly go to Apple/Pearson.

RE: What's this?
By Keeir on 8/26/2014 2:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
Likely either

#A. The highest margin parts of the deal had been executed


#B. There is a significant cancellation fee

Unfortunately it might be both.

RE: What's this?
By Spuke on 8/26/2014 3:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
Is it me or does Deasey look like Beaker from the Muppet Show?

RE: What's this?
By geekman1024 on 8/27/2014 1:33:33 AM , Rating: 2
Please don't insult Beaker.

It must be you.

RE: What's this?
By duranzo on 8/26/2014 4:57:11 PM , Rating: 2
Of course I talk to people

Does this not imply nothing shady was going on?

RE: What's this?
By Motoman on 8/31/2014 7:37:17 PM , Rating: 2
Makes no difference anyway. Putting tablets into schools is a 100% indefensible expenditure in the first place. 100% waste of money and time. No benefit to anybody.

...except, of course, the people getting $ from the contract.

I see other school systems around here getting iPads for the students too...following the lead of dipsh1ts like this. Makes we want to drive down there and start punching the administrators in the face.

There are *infinitely* better things to spend education dollars on. Like...anything. Literally. Anything would be a better expenditure than iPads for a school.

bad deal from the start
By agent2099 on 8/26/2014 1:24:01 PM , Rating: 5
Anyone even remotely tech savvy knew when this deal was announced that there were shenanigans involved.

Ipads are THE most expensive tablets and a horrible decision for a school district on a tight budget.

RE: bad deal from the start
By GotThumbs on 8/26/2014 1:32:29 PM , Rating: 2

It will be interesting to see how things go in a more open 'Free market' approach.

My curiosity will be mostly focused on how well the Chromebooks fair. I think the fact that the OS is so low maintenance and the hardware is so inexpensive, will weight significantly toward this solution, especially with recent Citrix partnership. That should go a long way in addressing the range of educational software selection.

Time will tell.

RE: bad deal from the start
By Bill S. on 8/27/2014 9:06:07 AM , Rating: 2
Probably won't make much difference. All the crooked superintendent has to do, is make sure that the requirements for the new contracted devices will only fit a very narrow band of products. With the right tweaking of requirements, they can probably narrow down their choices to the iPads and one other device....then choose the Apple products as the "best value" devices.

Not really that dissimilar to the DoD, which recently decided to dump their Crackberries, and go with a HUGE contract of iPhones to replace them. Uh, really, guys? They're preaching fiscal conservation to the troops, while the generals and colonels are getting iPhones, tha won't do any better a job than the Android or W8 phones do, and (much more importantly) were acquired without any competition. How on earth they get away with such shenanigans is beyond me.

RE: bad deal from the start
By synapse46 on 8/26/2014 3:38:14 PM , Rating: 2
The school my kid attends continues to purchase ipads for teachers and then asks for donations for schools supplies. Is there any reason an ipad would be so necessary for a teacher?

RE: bad deal from the start
By Dorkyman on 8/28/2014 12:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
Because then the teacher's union can say they are modern and doing cool new things when in reality it's the union itself that is the cause of poor student performance.

Assignment: Compare/contrast iPad public school results with non-iPad private school performance. Extra credit if you can name the political party that prefers the status quo.

RE: bad deal from the start
By bug77 on 8/26/2014 4:16:49 PM , Rating: 3
Only if you're on a budget. And afaik California is isn't.

RE: bad deal from the start
By Solandri on 8/26/2014 11:30:15 PM , Rating: 2
Ipads are THE most expensive tablets and a horrible decision for a school district on a tight budget.

Schools are rarely on a tight budget. For 2011-2012, the LAUSD had a budget of $5.8 billion, or $10,620 per student. With an average class size of 25.0 students, that works out to a budget of $265,500 per class for a single year.

I'll let you sift through that data to see for yourself where all that funding is going (General Fund - Expenditures). And let you ponder why less than 4% goes to books and supplies for the kids.

So weird
By flyingpants1 on 8/26/2014 1:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
$1 billion? "iPad acquisition program"? HP Stream is $199. The USA is so weird..

RE: So weird
By amanojaku on 8/26/2014 2:36:18 PM , Rating: 3
What's so weird about corrupt individuals looking out for their own interests? It would be weird if they went with the best solution, which they discovered was laptops and/or Chromebooks. Now that it's become a public debacle they're switching to the devices that are more productive, yet less expensive. Same thing for New Jersey and a few other states that thought iPad == productivity.

RE: So weird
By tonyswash on 8/27/2014 5:10:57 AM , Rating: 1
I guess the news about "switching to the devices that are more productive, yet less expensive" hasn't reached the St. Paul School District in Minnesota which is launching a program that will offer tens of thousands of iPads to students in a total of 61 schools.

RE: So weird
By amanojaku on 8/27/2014 9:29:19 AM , Rating: 1
TL;DR - Laptops are better than tablets for teachers and students

The St. Paul program that runs contrary to the promises made to Minnesota taxpayers.
Embraced, instead, was the one-to-one iPad initiative — just the kind of device-laden plan that voters had been told would not be pursued.
Sounds like corruption or incompetence. Nowhere in that article does it quantify the impact of the iPad over books. For example, test scores raised 10% on average. Additionally, it doesn't explain the advantages or disadvantages of tablets vs. other technology.

On the other hand, Hillsborough, New Jersey conducted an objective test with iPads in one group and Chromebooks in another. The Chromebooks were the device of choice, chosen by TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.
After receiving teacher and student feedback from the 2012–2013 school year, Hillsborough sold its iPads and will distribute 4,600 Chromebooks by the fall of 2014. The students in Harmsen’s class had been on Hillsborough’s iPad pilot team, and Harmstead admits she was a little disappointed when the district chose to go with Chromebooks. She said being on the pilot iPad team transformed her classroom approach after 24 years of teaching and made her a digital-education advocate. But now that she’s spent a full year using the new device—a pared-down laptop that stores files on the Internet—she agrees with the decision.

It's not just Hillsborough. Houston bailed on an iPad rollout, as well.
“Why is it that all of a sudden you need iPads for these kids to be able to learn science?” Rosenthal says he wondered at the time. “Where was the evidence? And there wasn’t any evidence. … They were going to do this thing whether it made sense or not.

RE: So weird
By tonyswash on 8/27/14, Rating: -1
Jail time for corruption and abuse of power
By tayb on 8/26/2014 1:52:11 PM , Rating: 2
Both of these people should be tried, convicted, and jailed for corruption and abuse of power.

This deal was defrauding the tax payers of California tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. This deserves far more punishment than someone smoking a blunt.

And yet, this will go unpunished. These clowns won't even lose their jobs.

By Nutzo on 8/26/2014 6:47:54 PM , Rating: 2
Not only will they not lose their jobs, they will retire with 6 figure pensions.

By Shadowmaster625 on 8/26/2014 2:03:24 PM , Rating: 2
All kids do is play games on the stupid things.

RE: good
By ImEmmittSmith on 8/26/2014 3:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
You are right about that in some ways. My wife is an elementary teacher and the iPads that her school uses is for after school programs only, not for the teachers to use during the day. They would love to use them in their classrooms, she works with "At Risk" children, and they are the ones who would really benefit from the use of them. So the iPads sit there all day locked away and maybe are used an hour or two a week. Crazy use of government funds!

1B or 500M?
By cochy on 8/26/14, Rating: 0
RE: 1B or 500M?
By Nutzo on 8/26/2014 6:49:05 PM , Rating: 2
It was $500M for the iPads, and $500M for the infrastructure to support the iPads.

RE: 1B or 500M?
By RaistlinZ on 8/26/2014 10:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously? It's in the first freaking paragraph...

We knew that there was trouble brewing for the L.A. Unified School District’s (LAUSD) $500 million iPad acquisition program (plus an additional $500 million to improve internet access and infrastructure)...

I swear to God, you must be a LAUSD dropout.

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