Today, in Part Two of Vanessa Romo’s interview with LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy, he talks about the year ahead as schools open today, the district’s new iPad program and local spending formulas. He also talks about his personal reading habits, which do not include a certain new digital device.
Q: What are some of the themes you’ll be thinking about heading into the 2013-14 school year?
“The genius among us” is this year’s theme. We are surrounded by it and greatness is everywhere. There is greatness in our kids and they amaze us every time.
I’m also thinking about kids rights; their right to be lifted out of poverty and their right not to live in the shadows because the country can’t get immigration reform straight. I mean, can you find me a textbook in the United States of America, that doesn’t have a chapter on pilgrims? We have a whole holiday dedicated to these people, and they were all illegal. And we celebrate them.
Finally, we’re beginning the next seven-year process of $7 billion in renovations across LAUSD. Remember, we built new schools for seats, now the other schools have to be brought up to code.
Q: This year about 50 LAUSD schools are piloting the iPad program before it is implemented district wide. You’ve said tablets are “phenomenally going to change the landscape of education.” What do you say to people who think this is just the latest electronic fad and there’s no real evidence showing that tablets are effective teaching/learning tools?
A: The moment a book is printed, the content is static. I don’t think there’s a history book in California that talks about the Arab Spring. There just isn’t. [But with a tablet], content is constantly relevant and updated; it’s interactive. It guides you to say you actually have not thought about “X,” go back and think about this piece.
When we watched students test drive [a digital textbook], it was amazing. Most of our students are coming to school highly sophisticated in the technology and not so sophisticated in terms of content. And our teachers are becoming highly sophisticated in the content and looking, finally, to marry the technology and the content. It’s really it’s a pretty unique moment for building new relationships between teachers and students.
And it’s about time that every kid has one. Not just the kids at charter schools. Every kid deserves an iPad, I don’t care what their zip code is. Continue reading