LA Teachers Are Angry District Spent $1 Billion On iPads Instead Of Repairs

repairsnotiPads

Maybe if students are staring at iPads they will be able to forget about cockroaches

The LA Unified School District made headlines when it pledged to make it rain iPads on students by spending $1 billion on Apple’s tablets, but teachers are more concerned of the rain leaking through their classroom roofs.

The school district’s initiative is aimed to enhance students educational experience but a number of angry teachers have started a ‘Repairs, Not iPads‘ page on Facebook filled with pictures of everything from rat feces on desks, broken toilets, dead mice, termite infestations, leaky roofs and more, along with a demand that district spend money on much needed repairs before iPads.

 repairsnotipads2

The page was created in December by two teachers and has started grow louder as it aims to be a place for teachers and the community to document neglected school repairs while construction bond money is diverted to purchase iPads.

One former Dorsey High School teacher told NBC LA special education classroom she taught in last year was overflowing with garbage to point it was unsanitary:

“The fact of the matter is, I had students with open tracheas and physical needs and the place was unsanitary. And that was the same year that we also ran out of toilet paper.

It should shine a light on the fact that they are ready to spend (a billion) dollars on iPads while we are asking students to try to learn and teachers to try to teach in conditions that are substandard, subhuman in a lot of ways.”

District officials admit they slashed maintenance staff in half over the last six years, but swear they’re not making a choice between buying iPads or making repairs because they’ve got a fully funded repair plan that’s separate than the $1 billion iPad initiative – even though a fraction of that money couldn’t possibly be diverted to making the iPad Havens cleaner, safer, and more sanitary.

  • leftover911

    The thing that was mentioned a little bit in the story, but not enough so that the public will know, is that the money for these iPads (and almost everything else in education) comes from a specific pot of money. Cutting out the iPads would not mean the district can use the money for anything else related to repairs or staff. If they don’t use the money for what it was designated for (most likely by the government) then they will lose it. This is a common issue in many districts that causes lots of problems with public perception and staff morale because they do not understand how the process works.

    • Bo Guss

      That is the problem in today’s society. Booksmart, common sense stupid. Worse for the people who are neither. lol That is what technology has turned many people into. 1 Billion in technology that probably most students have already. What can’t you do on a smartphone that you can do on an iPad. We had what were called books. I believe they still make those, and they are cheaper. lol This is all for show. And sad that funds (one billion dollars worth), are set aside specifically for this kind of leisure item. Instead of patching holes, getting rid of vermin, making sure the building doesn’t fall apart. You know, cuz there are kids inside. Always dumb people in charge.

      • whodakat

        Like the guy you are responding to said, they can spend the billion on iPads or they can not spend it at all. Educational funds aren’t all sitting in someones savings account waiting to be spent on whatever comes up.

        Also, buying one book is cheaper than buying one iPad. However, the iPad lasts multiple years, and can span multiple classes. Two or three textbooks later you have the cost of your iPad. Some schools reuse the books year after year, but then they become outdated, where as the iPad can be updated with ease. Also, many teachers report kids are more engaged with an iPad then with a text book, and that is priceless. You have interactive exercises, you can highlight and take notes right in the app, and engaged teachers can plan their lessons and basically build their own interactive curriculum. You can create message boards so to speak for your individual classroom, to which homework can be posted for all the kids, and parents, to see (no more “forgetting” you homework), kids can ask and even answer questions posted to the board, as can the teacher. Grades can be posted so kids know where they are at, at all times and even better so the parents can know.

        The truth is iPads are a ridiculously helpful in the classroom. HOWEVER, the one caveat is the teacher. If you don’t have an engaged teacher, you don’t have anything, iPad or not.

      • lucascott

        Textbooks tend to run around $150 a copy on average. They are generally kept for 4-5 tears by which they are often out of date and physically destroyed. Then there’s workbooks, test pages, etc.

        If one does the math, of all factors, it likely isn’t that huge of a difference

      • Guantaco

        kikidkidskids ttoto bbebe iiProblem with the money used is due to new debt the school issued through bonds is how they got the money for these iPads. So rather than face other issues such as raising money for maintenance and repair they decoded to keep it at the smaller budget from before and not fix their budget to handle these thousands of aging buildings and increasing their janitorial services. The LA school district was seeing dollar signs rather than thinking of a good environment for kids to learn. Not a forward thinking move on their part.
        Another difference is their short sighted view on the additional accessories that were not part of the orginal deal such as keyboards and covers. Then there is the cost on upkeep of the systems, because we know any device needs system admins to take care of software and hardware issues. In the end the books would be cheaper even in the long run.

    • lucascott

      Yep. They put it to a vote and we taxpayers agreed to pay a bit more sales tax to fund this. Not whatever the district wanted but tech.

      And teachers should be educated enough to know things like filing health department complaints if things are really that bad. Sounds like either they didn’t know or couldn’t be bothered to make the effort.

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    There would be no news article if they had bought Microsoft Surface 2 tablets. People simply hate the idea that schools on spending money on any product from Apple.

    • whodakat

      I disagree. Its a billion dollars. Its parents and teachers job to question those kind of expenditures, and I don’t think it would matter to a teacher with a leaky ceiling if the products came from Microsoft or Apple or whomever.

      That being said, its also parents and teachers job to understand how to make use of the iPads they now have. In the end, I am all for iPads in schools (for the reasons I listed below in my response to Bo Guss) but they are worthless in the hands of an un-engaged teacher. But then again, so are text books. At least the teachers and parents talked about in the article are engaged!

      • Guantaco

        While teachers are important in education the biggest difference is parent engagement in education. When half the parents in that city don’t care then it doesn’t matter how the teacher does.

  • Aannddyy

    Why not do both, like a country that means to keep up, instead of give up?

    • CrazedLeper

      The gov’t has 700Bn for for-profit banks. Not nearly so much for everyone else.

  • CrazedLeper

    Oooh… An iPad or a roof. Tough call.

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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