To the editor: As a 10-year veteran of the Los Angeles Unified School District, I've seen corporate feeders convince district administrators of the need to spend taxpayer money on various overblown and ill-considered schemes. Profiteers benefit from the LAUSD's largesse while underserved students suffer. ("L.A. Unified says it can't afford 'computer for all' plan," Feb. 20)
The notion that it is the district's responsibility to provide one computer per student is preposterous, considering that one of teachers' greatest challenges is to wrest students' attention away from texting.
I applaud Supt. Ramon C. Cortines' decision to back away from the Apple iPad plan. He should now carefully examine the district's disastrous rollouts and play hardball with any company that wants the district's business. Vendors must guarantee that their products and services will work; if they don't, the district gets its money back.
Teachers, clerks, custodians, nurses, librarians, arts teachers, counselors, deans and security all need to be restored to sufficient levels so that ill-disciplined students are not allowed to interrupt instruction and students' academic and social needs can be met.
Diane Rabinowitz, Los Angeles
To the editor: This debacle is no surprise to those of us experienced in tech support. Despite the misleading hype and creepy cult following, Apple's products are grossly overpriced and offer far fewer options than competitors' devices.
But this company has bullied organizations into "Mac-only" edicts that blow budgets and reduce productivity. The apparent corruption in the LAUSD was a perfect home for this outfit to push its iPads at an inflated cost.
Administrators now realize what a colossal failure this was and decided to cut their losses, but without holding anyone accountable. Too bad taxpayers are left on the hook funding Apple's profiteering.
Pat Murphy, Pacific Palisades
To the editor: Here are some helpful hints on technology for the LAUSD.
Hint 1: Lease, do not buy, computers that will soon be obsolete.
Hint 2: Supply PC laptops, not Apple iPads, because there is far more educational software available.
Hint 3: Do not contract for software to be developed with my money.
Hint 4: Allow greater access to the Internet. There's a lot of information out there.
Hint 5: Ask the students (all grades) how a computer might help them learn things and how they would use it.
Hint 6: Plan.
Elizabeth Wright, Marina del Rey