“A divided Board of Education agreed Tuesday to move ahead with a trimmed-down plan to provide iPads to Los Angeles students, but an evaluation will look at whether the project should proceed.
During a heated debate over the $1-billion project, board members raised numerous concerns, including whether the contract with Apple needs to be reconsidered and whether high schools should be provided laptops instead of tablets.
The decision, by a 6-1 vote that left no one happy, means that the distribution of iPads can continue as planned by schools Supt. John Deasy for this year. He had previously decided to scale back his original timetable after problems emerged during the rollout on 47 campuses this fall.
As a result of the board action, 35 campuses will receive iPads this year in addition to the 47 schools in the first group. Continuing the effort gained traction in large measure because L.A. Unified staff asserted that the devices to be purchased represented the minimum number necessary for students to take new state standardized tests in the spring.
The board move also included providing tablets to every teacher and principal in the nation’s second-largest school system.”
I don’t know about you, but isn’t it the job of the teacher to provide information to the student? Isn’t this why the teacher spent thousands of dollars to learn a well-respected and time honored profession?
I realize that the tools students use for research and development of their own self-improvement has evolved over the years. I used a pencil or pen, with a looseleaf binder, a Composition notebook, bulky, shared encyclopedias and dictionaries (later on, a pocket dictionary), a slide rule, and other “ancient sticks-and-stones” accoutrements, which burdened us down in our school bags. (School bag? What’s that!?!)
So, today, there are computers in the classroom or cluster, which have been there since the 90s, for sure. But, for kids to have their own iPads, MAC notebooks, and other “personalized” electronic equipment, seems to me to be beyond the pale. Most people spend significant “non-disposable” income to buy any one of these necessary items for the house, and all family members share. To use hard-earned tax dollars so that each child can have her or his own iPad, to me, seems quite a bit excessive.
What does a junior high or high school student need his own iPad for? And what about damage or theft? Is there insurance on this stuff? And, if so, is that part of the billion dollar outlay? Or is that on top of the cost of the equipment, budgeted elsewhere?
And if Steve Wozniak is now teaching our kids through his equipment, should the taxpayers also have to pay for teachers, too? Maybe we can have hall monitors and aides babysit the kids all day. Or even do away with schools all together, and have parents teach their kids. Now, that’s a novel idea!
And standardized tests? Based on what? Apple’s idea of what should be taught? When I was a kid, we brought an apple to the teacher. But now, Apple IS the the teacher. Full circle? I know all of this is a bit sardonic, but think about it for a second. Is this how we want to teach our kids going forward? Doesn’t seem too impersonal or staid to you? It does to me.
Maybe the Los Angeles BOE needs to re-evaluate its previous decision and put the teacher, the real teacher back into the classroom. Or soon, there will be no need for the Board of Education, either.
Then we can get rid of more non-essential personnel. Thanks, Apple.