The Los Angeles Unified School District is demanding tech giant Apple to refund millions of dollars due to a problematic software-based curriculum using iPads for 650,000 students.
General counsel David Holmquist wrote to Apple on Monday that the district “will not accept or compensate Apple for new deliveries of [Pearson] curriculum.” The district will not also participate in future transactions with Pearson, Apple’s subcontracted company responsible for the curriculum.
Former Supt. John Deasy, who green-lighted the district’s $1.3 billion iPad project, resigned in October due to pressure spurned by the problematic partnership with Apple, LA Times pointed out.
“Only two schools of 69 in the Instructional Technology Initiative … use Pearson regularly,” according to an internal report on March from Bernadette Lucas, the director of the project.
“Any given class typically experiences one problem or more daily. Teachers report that the students enjoy the interactive content — when it’s available. When it’s not, teachers and students try to roll with the interruptions to teaching and learning as best they can.”
The report mentions that schools with more than 35,000 students have already stopped using the iPads due to error-filled apps from Pearson.
A spokeswoman for Pearson, Stacy Skelly, responded to the Times, saying the company is “proud of our long history working with LAUSD and our significant investment in this groundbreaking initiative to transform instructional practices and raise expectations for all students.”
Despite the problems encountered by students, she said Pearson still stands by the quality of its performance.
Writing for Apple Insider, Sam Oliver says that fingers shouldn’t be pointed to Apple. In his article entitled “Pearson, not Apple, to blame for failed L.A. schools technology program,” he reported how the LAUSD had bought iPads that didn’t have any Pearson software yet.
“Critically — and despite being listed in workflow documents as a prerequisite — Pearson’s software was not ready prior to the start of the project,” Oliver wrote. “District administrators were only provided with samples.”