Speaking to a group of reporters on Friday, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent Ramon C. Cortines said that the city can't afford to buy a computer for every student. The statement comes after intense controversy over a $1.3 billion initiative launched by Cortines' predecessor, former superintendent John Deasy, in which every student was supposed to be given an iPad loaded with content from educational publisher Pearson.
"I don’t believe we can afford a device for every student,” Cortines told the Los Angeles Times, “Education shouldn’t become the gimmick of the year.” Cortines added that LAUSD had never made a definitive plan for how teachers would have used the iPads during instruction, nor had it planned how it was going to pay for the tablets over time.
In the fall of 2013, schools began receiving iPads that would go to each of the 640,000 students in LAUSD. But the students quickly learned how to work around the ActiveSync profile restrictions on the tablets so that they could use them for (probably) non-educational purposes. That debacle was only the first point of turmoil, however. By the beginning of the next school year, the Los Angeles Timesreported that there were improprieties in the bidding process, including hints that the Deputy Superintendent, Jaime Aquino, who was also a former Pearson executive, was helping his former company get the bid. The billion-dollar plan was put on hold at that point.