LAUSD Board to Review Controversial iPad Program

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L.A. Unified board members on Tuesday were reviewing the district’s controversial iPad program, whose first phase has been dogged by questions about security and cost.

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The L.A. Unified School District’s iPad program has been embroiled in controversy.

During the project’s initial rollout, some 600,000 tablets were distributed at 47 campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Soon after, however, reports of computer hacking and possible theft prompted officials to confiscate the devices at multiple schools.

“Yes, we want the kids to have technology but we want it to be done in a careful way, a way that’s not going to bankrupt the school district down the line,” said Sari Rynew, a retired teacher.

Despite criticism, Superintendent John Deasy remains a staunch defender of the program.

“This is the type of skill that they need to enter the job force today, not five years from now” he told KTLA. “This is absolutely necessary for students.”

Asked why the mobile devices were preferable to textbooks – which do not require electricity, software updates or a wi-fi connection – Deasy pointed out that none of the district’s 300 million textbooks “talks about the Arab spring — that now is actually old news in the fundamental understanding of democracies.”

“There are Nobel prizes that have been given out this year in physics, chemistry,” he added. “Those findings are not in any textbook.”