Following the termination of their $1.3 billion iPad in Education initiative, the Los Angeles Unified School District is reported to be demanding a refund from Apple.
According to local radio station KPCC, LAUSD informed Apple that it will no longer put money toward course material provided by content partner Pearson, saying the district was “extremely dissatisfied” with the software implementation. Educators complained that Pearson’s software was half-baked, contained errors and lacked lessons and promised interactive material.
“While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solution for ITI implementation, they have yet to deliver it,” LAUSD attorney David Holmquist wrote in a letter to Apple’s general counsel. “As we approach the end of the school year, the vast majority of students are still unable to access the Pearson curriculum on iPads.”
The LAUSD first rolled out its Instructional Technology Initiative, (or “iPads for All”), in 2013. The initial seed program saw the district paying $30 million to have iPads supplied to 47 campuses. The program was intended to spread district-wide, eventually resulting in a $1.3 billion project intended to serve 640,000 students.
The program was plagued by issues from the start, as students discovered they could by-pass school-set content filters, allowing them to access restricted content on the Internet.
The initiative was officially terminated in December, following charges of mismanagement and less than above board funding plans by former schools Superintendent John Deasy, who resigned in October 2014. Critics charged that both Apple and Pearson had an unfair advantage in the bidding process, those claims are currently the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation.
The program was opened up to other platforms last year, including Google’s Chromebook and Microsoft’s Surface tablets.