LAUSD iPad Debacle Prompts Likely Lawsuit Against Apple

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AP Photo/Victor Texcucano
Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education announced Monday that it is exploring possible litigation against technology giant Apple and software developer Pearson for their role in a failed district wide iPad launch.

The beleagured program aimed to put a computer on the desk of 650,000 students in the district.

LAUSD general counsel David Holmquist said in a letter to Apple that L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines “made the decision that he wanted to put them on notice, Pearson in particular, that he’s dissatisfied with their product.” Pearson served as a sub-contractor for Apple.

The letter further stated that LAUSD “will not accept or compensate Apple for new deliveries of [Pearson] curriculum.” According to the Los Angeles Times, Apple did not comment about the letter, but Pearson defended its software.

Spokeswoman Stacy Skelly said Pearson 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.”

The $1.3 billion iPad project seemed doomed from the start when shortly after the launch students began hacking the security settings allowing them to view banned sites like YouTube and facebook. School officials feared that students  would quickly spread their code cracking tactics across social media.

Moreover, Breitbart news reported bidding improprieties in December that prompted an FBI investigation. Confiscated documents demonstrated that Apple and software provider Pearson shared notes with the LAUSD long before the tech contract was ultimately opened for competitive bidding. Former L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy resigned under pressure in October to a great extent stemming from the failed program.

Last year LAUSD project director Bernadette Lucas claimed that only two of the 69 schools in the iPad program could use Pearson regularly. She complained that “Any given class typically experiences one problem or more daily.”  She maintained that making the materials “usable” entails “extraordinary, unsustainable, and un-scalable resources.”