Skip to main content

LA Schools Yank iPads Back From Students As 1:1 Program Goes into Limbo

6660074713_6c34374a83[1]Late last week the LA Unified School District has taken another step to secure their title as poster boy for how not to launch a 1:1 iPad program.

After deciding to buy the tablets with 25 year bonds and handing them out to students without adequate security, the LAUSD then decided to recall all the tablets on Friday:

Los Angeles school officials have taken back iPads from students at Westchester and Roosevelt high schools and possibly other campuses as well until further notice, the latest fallout from student hacking of the devices.

The move is another complication in efforts to provide an iPad to every student as part of a $1-billion technology plan in the nation’s second-largest school system.

LAUSD officials had previously responded to students bypassing the laughably inadequate security by requiring that the tablets remain on campus, so you would think that the recall would be a relatively simple manner.


It turns out that the LAUSD was no more capable of securing the hardware inside of schools than they were in keeping students from bypassing the security:

Staff at Roosevelt in Boyle Heights and students at Westchester confirmed that the $700 tablets were taken back Friday by school officials. But a Roosevelt teacher said only about two-thirds of about 2,100 devices were immediately returned by students.

At Roosevelt, "we don’t know when or if we will able to use the iPads again for classroom instruction — this week, this semester or this year," said Lisa Alva, the coordinator for academic services to low-income students.

She added that the administration told her it had collected only about two-thirds of the iPads from students by the end of school Friday. If that’s accurate, then many students may have violated recent instructions to keep the iPads on campus.

Am I the only one that has the theme song from The Benny Hill Show running through my head?

The LAUSD program called for 47 schools to get iPads this Fall semester, with another 200 schools to received iPads in the Spring. The remaining 400 odd LAUSD schools were scheduled to get iPads next school year, but now that the program has hit a major roadblock that might not happen.

This was all part of a billion dollar plan to put iPads in the backpacks of more than 660 thousand students at a cost of nearly $700 each. The hardware accounts for around half the expected cost, with the rest going to infrastructure, training (what little there was of it), and operating costs.

All of this was supposed to have been funded by 25 year school bonds, but given the negative publicity and lack of any verifiable return on the initial investment I am not sure that voters will let that happen.

image by Brad Flickinger

Similar Articles


Gary October 2, 2013 um 10:16 pm

In regard to the statement: “we don’t know when or if we will able to use the iPads again for classroom instruction — this week, this semester or this year,”

The devices will probably sit in a storage room somewhere until they are hopelessly obsolete. Then they will be sold for 10 cents on the dollar on eBay.

Nate Hoffelder October 2, 2013 um 10:25 pm

I can see that happening. In fact, I have seen it. You’d be surprised how often I’ve come across Ebay auctions for years-old ex-school hardware in pristine condition.

Hussman October 3, 2013 um 9:13 am

Said it before and I’ll say it again – these programs are a huge waste of resources for the schools. How about spending that money to create a suitable learning environment? Shoving a computer in a kid’s hands just because it seems like the right thing to do is ridiculous. Like my daughter said when they launched the program at her school, "I wish they would just give us air conditioning."

Paul October 3, 2013 um 9:23 am

Well you can’t expect them to spend it on teachers. That’s crazy talk.

A Reader October 3, 2013 um 10:08 am

LOL! Had forgotten that Benny Hill opening routine…and you used a link from WGHP (a local station for me). You have me imagining school admins in suits chasing students with iPads, posting snarky comments about where they are hiding to the school officials via those iPads…

Nate Hoffelder October 3, 2013 um 10:10 am

LOL Now I can picture it too.

Jim October 3, 2013 um 7:13 pm

School officials should have consulted the local Apple Genius Bar before distributing the iPads.

LA School District Admits They Don't Know How They'll Fund Year Four of Their Billion Dollar iPad Program – The Digital Reader November 14, 2013 um 9:46 pm

[…] iPad program has been shown to have problems with security issues, funding and training issues, misplaced iPads, and even more funding issues, this time with paying for the first stage of the […]

LA School Board Votes to Move Forward With a Limited iPad Program – The Digital Reader November 14, 2013 um 10:02 pm

[…] received the iPads at or near the beginning of the school year, but many of the tablets were recalled after it was discovered that the students were more adept at getting around the security than […]

Write a Comment