While the Los Angeles Unified School District’s well-publicized “iPad for every student” program may have been a complete failure, a similar program in the admittedly smaller Coachella Valley Unified School District has been declared a rousing success.
In LA, Apple ended up repaying $4.2M to settle a claim by the LAUSD following a failed program that led to a federal review concluding it had been doomed from the start – and corruption investigations by both the FBI and SEC.
However, it was a different story when voters approved a bond issue to finance an iPad for students program in the poverty ridden Coachella Valley district. (Almost every student in the district qualifies for a free or reduced-price lunch,.) The WSJ reports school superintendent Darryl Adams credits the iPads with helping to lift the district’s high-school graduation rate to 82% in 2015 from 65% in 2011.
The publication also notes that a separate program in Yuma, AZ, funded by Apple itself and also targeting poorer areas, has also had a good bit of success. In that district, Apple provides each student with an iPad, each teacher with an iPad and a MacBook, and each classroom with an Apple TV. In schools where it was needed, Apple also helped build Wi-Fi networks.
A fourth-grade Yuma teacher says at first she was skeptical, but now she sees the value of the program:
“It really enhances their learning and it motivates them to learn,” said Blanca Rivera of the iPads […]
The Yuma program did have one high-profile sponsor for the program, Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, the son of Cuban immigrants. Cue says he felt a connection to students in Yuma, as most are Hispanic, and don’t speak English at home.