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LAUSD Applies Brakes to iPad Rollout

Administrators strongly favor continuing iPad rollout but majority of teachers disagree, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Los Angeles Unified School District will slow down its rollout of iPads in the classroom.
Los Angeles Unified School District will slow down its rollout of iPads in the classroom.

Only a minority of Los Angeles Unified School District teachers strongly favors proceeding with the $1 billion iPad program, it was reported Monday.

In an effort to determine how the iPad rollout is going and how to improve it, a Board of Education member and employee unions conducted surveys of teachers and administrators, the Los Angeles Times reported. Their anonymous responses: Just 36 percent of teachers strongly favored continuing the effort; 90 percent of administrators felt the same.

Few question the goal of supplying and properly using up-to-date technology. Schools Superintendent John Deasy has pushed hard for the tablets, calling it a civil rights imperative to give all students access to technology used by the more affluent.

But problems plagued the project from the start. When the first group of campuses received the tablets this fall, more than 300 students at three high schools almost immediately removed security filters so they could freely browse the Internet. All of the students at these schools had to surrender the tablets.

Questions also quickly arose about whether parents are responsible if the devices are lost or stolen. The price of the tablets - $768 apiece - and the curriculum licensing fees also became issues.

The Board of Education held a special meeting to discuss these and other issues and ultimately slowed the rollout, which began at 47 campuses. The plan now is to add 38 schools by the end of the academic year, and then finish the distribution, after an evaluation, within the next three years, The Times reported.

Robert J. Moreau, a computer animation teacher who struggled for grants to set up a lab, would have been expected to be among the first to applaud the program. But he's not, The Times reported.

"It's outrageous, appalling, that we are buying these toys when we don't have adequate personnel to clean, to supervise," the Roosevelt High School instructor told the newspaper. "Classrooms are overcrowded, and my room has not been swept or mopped in years except by me and the students.... It would be great if the basics were met. I can't get past that."

- City News Service

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