Educator who orchestrated $1 billion iPad deal could face detention

iPads in classroom

Los Angeles teachers union president Alex Caputo-Pearl has called for an investigation into Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent John Deasy’s relationship with Apple, which led to the announcement that the school system had blown its entire $1 billion tech budget on giving an iPad to every student last year.

Although the iPad deal was later put on hold, the L.A. Board of Education is being pressured by Caputo-Pearl to investigate why Deasy and his then-chief deputy, Jaime Aquino, were apparently discussing the deal with Apple and education publisher Pearson up to two years before the official bidding process was finished and contracts were approved.

This conversation — reportedly supported by findings from an internal school district report — would suggest an element of unfairness in the bidding process, and that Deasy was putting his relationship with the two companies ahead of his duty to parents and the public.

The iPad deal, which looked to be a massive educational partnership for Apple, was criticized at the time for security concerns as well as a perceived one-size-fits-all approach to computers that didn’t sit well with everyone. LAUSD board member Monica Ratcliff was quoted as saying, “Why would we treat all our students — whether they are a first-grader or a high school freshman — as if they all had the same technology needs? They don’t…. To have a one-device-fits-all approach does not make sense.”

Update: Following criticism, superintendent John Deasy has cancelled the iPad contract.

  • robogobo

    “One device fits all” is exactly the point of the iPad.

  • Thomas Becker

    The device does fit. It’s the Apps that would be different for each grade level.

  • cfbcfb

    As someone who actually used ipads in elementary education, no the device doesn’t fit and isn’t necessary. We dumped them for chromebooks. Better integrated keyboard, about 1/4 the price, a full suite of teacher controlled education apps, and easy central control by IT.

    The ipad is a toy for wealthy people to read their email and facebook on. Its not a tool for education.

    • Jess

      Are you really an educator?

    • Anthony Velazquez

      Chromebooks?!?!?!….BWahahahahahaaaaaa…..you just almost made me spit up my coffee…..good one……lol

    • Chuck McGinley

      Again; I say anyone who is critical of the potential of the iPad in education has never opened E.O. Wilson’s “Life on Earth” textbook from the iBooks store. This is a crowning achievement in Education. They really nailed it with this iBook. Just take a few minutes to go through the section on the human cell yourself and interact with the videos and interactive content. It actually puts holistic 3D perspective and experience on everything. Simply outstanding!!!

      I think it may be either free or really cheap in the store. Worth every penny. It’s huge so you need space. And yes it would work on a Chromebook too, and I have used it on my mac myself personally. But the experience is not the same as on the iPad.

      I just checked all units that comprise this book are now free in the bookstore. All schools should be using this for biology.

  • William Donelson

    Wake up.

    $1 billion means there are LOTS of well-funded, wanna-be cooks in this kitchen with both visible (not necessarily honest) and hidden agenda.

  • Tony Stott

    Because believe it or not you don’t spend 1 Billion on tablets 5 minutes after you decide it’s the way to go. Especially in a very changing market. Ofcourse it would take two years to discuss. Besides, Apple are very involved in Education and would have been talking to these people many years prior to iPad Launch!

  • Tomas Feuillet Vila

    I don’t know about blowing 1 billion dollars. Too many people could be helped with that amount of money. BUT– Buying one platform for all levels is going to be cheaper and easier than having all kinds of systems and models. And no doubt about it… iPad is king.

  • Matt Hardwick

    Link in the update is broken. Missing the http : //

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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