Re "Give students A+ in hacking," Sept. 25
It amazes me that the L.A. Unified School District officials in charge of purchasing Apple iPads for students apparently did not foresee the security problems they would have in letting students take the tablets home.
Perhaps the people at Apple, who will sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of iPads to L.A. Unified, should have been more upfront about the hacking possibilities that would allow students to use the tablets in ways the district didn't intend.
And what about the district's lawyers? I can just imagine the lawsuits after some child comes in contact with a predator while using an L.A. Unified-issued iPad.
Any teacher, and many parents, could have told L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy exactly what would happen with his iPad scheme.
First, the wireless Internet at multiple-acre schools would not be up to the task — and probably never will be, no matter how many millions of dollars are poured into them.
Second, students are very tech-savvy. The Internet is a wonderful tool for research, but without librarians and teachers to supervise appropriate use, students will inevitably find amusement much more enticing (who wouldn't?).
Too bad the superintendent apparently didn't consult with the people who actually know the students and the school sites. He might have decided the money would be better spent on restoring librarians and adding teachers to reduce class size, thus improving education for all children.
As a former high school teacher of technology going back to 1978, I would have given these students no better than a "C." What took them so long?
During the latter part of my career, my classroom had a computer at each desk. I and others in the district could catch the students visiting "inappropriate" sites, but we could never stop them. This was not for lack of trying.
A computer is a tool, just like a pencil is a tool. It is not possible to prevent the misuse of either.
The school district should expend less resources on policing and blocking usage and more on making students smart and safe users of all tools.
Corona del Mar
As a 1956 graduate of Roosevelt High School and a retired L.A. Unified teacher, I am proud of the Roosevelt students who wasted no time hacking their newly issued district iPads. This misbegotten idea was a waste of money from the start, and the administrators who thought the iPads were secure were very wrong.
Go Rough Riders!