Friday, December 26, 2014

Los Angeles Unified School District iPad Investigation

Los Angeles Unified School District iPad Investigation

At the start of the 2013-14 school year, Los Angeles Unified School District embarked on an innovative and admirable journey: Through a $1 billion contract with Apple, the nation's second largest district planned to equip each of its 640,000 students with their very own iPad. It was an ambitiously massive 1:1 rollout, and it was unfortunately anything but smooth.

Issues ranged from a lack of necessary accessories like keyboards to students "hacking" the iPads by deleting security profiles. Eventually, the decision was made to roll back the project's completion date, and then, in August, former LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy announced that the contract with Apple would be annulled. Things got even weirder in October, when Deasy resigned amid swirling rumors that there were conflicts of interest surrounding the Apple deal.

This past week, the FBI commenced an investigation into the failed, and possibly unethical, plan, focusing particularly on the potentially unorthodox bidding. According to the Los Angeles Times, top LAUSD officials, such as Deasy, may have had connections with both Apple and Pearson, which in turn influenced the monumental iPad deal.

It will be interesting to keep tabs on this story and find out if there really was any foul play in the negotiation process. The LAUSD/Apple deal was poised to set a precedent for other districts, so its failures could be a great place to start when considering what not to do in the future.

There should be further investigation on price fixing by Apple. They are charging education more then the general public. They are strong arming vendors as Box stores and online vendors not to sell at a discount to education threatening to take there authorization to sell their product if they do.

Michigan REMC has the ability to challenge them on these practices. They could not allow them to participate in there bid process if they continue to price fix. But REMC continues to look the other way.

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I am the Director of Technology at a K-12 School system.