After year of iPads only, laptops are making LAUSD debut
Vanessa Romo | June 30, 2014
Not too long ago the iPad train barreling toward LA Unified seemed unstoppable.
At the beginning of the school year, it was a given that all district students would have an Apple device in their Millennial and Generation Z hands by the end of 2016. But after a series of very public blunders and intense scrutiny by the Common Core Technology Project Committee, the district is changing tracks.
Tomorrow the LA Unified Board of Education will usher in a new phase of the one-to-one technology plan – officially called Phase 1L – by approving the purchase of 19,300 laptop devices for high school students and staff, a pilot program at a cost not to exceed $40 million.
The new computers, which include the two-in-one Surface (it can act as a tablet and laptop) and Chromebooks, will be pilot tested at 27 high schools beginning in the fall. Outcomes of the trial period will determine which device and curriculum the district chooses to purchase for all high school students.
That means the $500 million deal with Apple and Pearson is off. But the district has already spent upwards of $130 million on iPads for students across 85 campuses, plus another 45,000 tablets that were used for standardized testing.
“The benefit of the new approach is clear,” board member Monica Ratliff, whose efforts as chair of the board’s technology committee led to the more diversified approach, told the LA Times. “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.”
Another task before the board tomorrow is electing its president. While that’s business as usual — the board president is always elected at the Annual Meeting at the beginning of July per California ed code — it precludes the possibility that a newly-elected board member for District 1, will cast a vote.
In any case, with no apparent challenger, Richard Vladovic is expected to win easily for a second one-year term no matter when a vote is taken.
For Annual board meeting agenda – Election for School Board President (11:45 a.m.), click here.
For regular board meeting agenda including closed session items (noon), click here.