The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the LA Unified School district has put an end to its deal with Apple to rollout iPad tablets to all of its students. The rollout was halted amid claims of a potential conflict of interest, as Superintendent John Deasy and Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino both had regular contact with executives at both Apple and Pearson.
Deasy issued a memo to the L.A. Board of Education on Monday stating that the district will “no longer utilize” its contract with Apple moving forward. The superintendent said the move will allow the district to “take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances,” but also give it “time to take into account concerns raised” about the project.
The Los Angeles public schools announced in June 2013 that they planned to use Apple’s iPad tablet for a new digital textbook program. At the time Apple said it was “thrilled” to be a part of the $30 million deal, and was looking forward to working with LA Unified.
Deputy Superintendent Aquino was quoted at that time as saying the iPad was selected because it “rated the best in quality, was the least expensive option and received the highest scoring by the review panel that included students and teachers.”
The board designated an additional $115 million for the program earlier this year, amid accusations that the project was running extremely over budget. June saw an announcement that the district would be allowing certain high schools to select from one of six various Chromebook and Windows laptops in place of the iPad.
Some teachers had complained that the iPad did not fit the needs of all students, citing a small screen size and the lack of a built-in keyboard as the device’s major drawbacks.