What seemed like a cool gift turned out to be a huge pain for the 650,000 students of the Los Angeles Unified School District and now they want Apple to pay back millions.
The issue stems from Pearson software that was loaded onto the students iPads.
If an agreement on the dispute cannot be reached, the nation’s second-largest school district could take Apple to court.
Two years after the district launched the most expansive school technology initiative in the country, its attorney said it is “extremely dissatisfied” with the work of Pearson, the publisher of the Common Core learning software.
“While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solution for [the technology program] implementation, they have yet to deliver it,” wrote David Holmquist, Los Angeles Unified general counsel, in an April 13 letter to Apple.
Thousands of Los Angeles school students have struggled to access the Pearson lessons, sacrificing hours of learning time and adding to the issues arising from the district’s controversial $1.3 billion technology partnership with Apple and Pearson.
The district hasn’t disclosed how much of the $1.3 billion project it wants refunded, but documents obtained by member station KPCC show it has spent $3.3 million on Pearson’s software so far.
The iPad program, meant to provide a tablet to every student, has a troubled past. Not only have students struggled to use the Pearson software, others have managed to bypass security to reach blocked websites.
In December, the FBI launched an investigation into LAUSD’s iPad purchase, carting out 20 boxes of documents from the district office. No one has been publicly charged in the case.
KPCC reported last August that former Superintendent John Deasy and top district staffers had close ties with Pearson executives and communicated about details of the iPad project before the contract was awarded.
Pearson and Apple representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but, when questions arose last year about its software, Pearson said it had fulfilled its part of the deal.
Apple should try to blame the issue on North Korea. It worked for Sony.