LAUSD has a $543M shortfall, but is spending $500M on iPads?

August 1, 2013 at 1:24 am 7 comments

I believe that technology can improve education, but I’m not sure that we know how to use it well.  I wouldn’t be comfortable making this kind of bet, that the $500M on iPads is a better investment than paying off the $534M shortfall — but I guess that’s why I’m not in charge of half billion dollar bets.  Why do people have such (unproven) faith in technology?  Is this the same as the arguments for the OLPC in the developing world?

Los Angeles, again, is a good example; the same school district that is going to spend a half-billion dollars on iPads has been laying off teachers. To justify those layoffs, the school districts have been citing a $543 million district budget shortfall, yet somehow, those same officials apparently don’t cite that same budget shortfall as a reason to avoid spending $500 million on iPads. Why? Because education technology triumphalists typically portray iPads as long-term cost cutters for school districts.

As the New York Times sums up that argument, these triumphalists believe iPads and attendant iBooks will “save money in the long run by reducing printing and textbook costs.” The enticing idea is that schools may have to invest huge money upfront, but they will supposedly see huge savings in out years.

The trouble is that there is little evidence to suggest that’s true, and plenty of evidence to suggest the opposite is the case.

As respected education consultant Lee Wilson notes in a report breaking down school expenses, “It will cost a school 552% more to implement iPad textbooks than it does to deploy books.” He notes that while “Apple’s messaging is the idea that at $14.99 an iText is significantly less expensive than a $60 textbook,” the fact remains that “when a school buys a $60 textbook today they use it for an average of 5-7 years (while) an Apple iText it costs them $14.99 per student – per year.” As Lee notes, that translates into iBooks that are 34 percent more expensive than their paper counterparts — and that’s on top of the higher-than-the-retail-store price school districts are paying for iPads.

via No, iPads do not make teachers obsolete! – Salon.com.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. chaikens  |  August 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

    You don’t have to pay the iPad’s salary for years, nor pension and health benefits. Definitely better than a teacher.

    Reply
  • 2. mgozaydin  |  August 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    In Turkey
    We are distributing 16 million tablets same quality of Samsung to 16 million K12 students FREE.
    We supply 100 and more online course contents from grade 1 to grade 12 FREE
    We supply 100 and more ebooks to every students in every subject.
    We supply free internet at home to student
    We keep teachers still working and paid ( I hope they will help the projects )
    We provide 800,000 White smart boards to every classrooms
    Total budget is $ 3 billion
    Implementation duration 3 years.
    This will be the biggest lab for the World .

    I never suggest Apple products to schools .
    You have to buy their software too. Be smart.

    Reply
  • 3. mgozaydin  |  August 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Be careful
    To be successful in education
    Preschool + K12
    must be good.

    If they are not good, HE is nonsense .
    Please get smart. Spend Money for preschool first then others.

    Reply
  • 4. mgozaydin  |  August 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Please get smart.

    Do not fire teachers.

    First check the efficiency of the iPads
    for 2-3 years. Then fire teachers slowly .

    Reply
    • 5. Rene Diedrich  |  August 4, 2013 at 12:38 am

      That makes sense. Also someone still has to write lessons, even when IPad delivers them. I do not think iPads can teach a good many things, but they can transform schools and ultimately save us a great deal of money. Teachers do cost a lot, but we need them. Not administrator, overpaid officials, bully billionaires or dodgy companies like Pearson, Foldham and Scholastic. We sure do not need TFA. Thanks amyway, Wlamart!
      Right now corporate American Education reforms are bleeding schools and tax payers dry. And the last thing they want you to know is what iPads can do to assure accurate ADA, CST scores, credentialing qualifications, evaluations, grades and Gods forbid,teachers and parents actually working together in the best interest of the students and their schools.
      Big Brither Business divides and conquers.

      No iPad can teach you about that until you know what you are looking for. I know from personal experience. I learned a lot from teachers who knew what I did not about the politics of public education.
      All I knew was LAUSD is corrupt. And this knowledge plugged into my iPad made me we a crusader for my former students. I have been using my iPad to pummel lies at LAUSD and beyond. I know what these things can do, but Deasy and the BOE have not bothered to prepare for that. Left in idle hands. With a bunch of teachers who either have no tech savy or tablet and /or cannot control a crowded class of 30-40 kids, the potential, the technology, the big $$$ and a few years will be lost because this about Deasy being a shareholder in Apple, who also has close ties to Bill Gates and Eli Broad, both hellbent on school closures, teacher cleansing and trillions of dollars that should never be spent on text books and bullsh** it is now…why? Well, the iPad is one reason.
      Teachers, for the record, have very little say in anything. We get blamed for our union and the district, both failing miserably at our expense and the children’s.
      Please visit our blog. We would like to run this article if that is okay with you. It is by far one of the best editoral responses I have come across. And your readers are so intelligent. They probably heard of Moodle, which innovated units for educational purposes. A small company run by teachers. http://www.hemlockontherocks.com
      Rene

      Reply
  • 6. Peter McLaughlin  |  October 8, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    More great planning by the morons who thought bussing thousands of kids in the 70s was a great idea. Everything is great just ask Jerry Brown who magically balanced the budget and somehow forget to tell teachers there is a funding shortfall of about 60 billion dollars over the next 20 to 30 years. Bust the unions and then get something done. Can you imagine the theft rate of iPads in the LA Unified School District ?

    Reply
  • […] can be used really badly (while also being quite expensive) in schools.  Philip Sadler’s new study shows that students can use the gesture-based […]

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