L.A. schools chief wants to extend iPad rollout by a year

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy has proposed extending the rollout of a program to provide iPads to every student in the nation's second-largest school system.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
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The rollout for a $1-billion school iPad program could be extended by a year, doubling the time originally allotted for getting tablets to every student in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The decision is a substantial concession to critics who questioned whether the district has been moving too fast in plans to distribute about 650,000 devices to teachers and students.

Problems quickly emerged during this fall’s start-up efforts at 47 schools. At three high schools, more than 300 students deleted security filters and browsed unauthorized websites. As a result, all students turned in tablets at these campuses; others schools must use the devices only on school grounds. There also has been confusion over such issues as whether parents are liable for the iPads if they are lost or broken.


Supt. John Deasy has defended the pace and scope of the program as a civil rights imperative: to give the low-income students of his school system the same digital advantages as more prosperous families.

But he faced eroding support on the Board of Education and, on Tuesday, adopted a different tone.

“I am hopeful that this revised plan meets the concerns of board members over how best to provide our students with the technology they need to excel in the classroom and succeed in their careers,” Deasy said in a statement.

Deasy and Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino told The Times they’ve decided that a slower pace would lead to a more effective result -- logistically and academically.

Under the prior plan, the tablets would have been distributed by December 2014. The new plan pushes that deadline back to the fall of 2015.

Even the revised schedule could prove ambitious in the nation’s second-largest school system. But Deasy made it clear he has every hope of going forward, pending school board approval, which he hopes to secure in December.


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