Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Los Angeles Unified halts $1 billion contract for iPads after revelations about shenanigans in the bidding process

I often advise cutting the flow of school dollars to high-priced outside vendors as a way of finding money to pay teachers. Here's a story that seems to support my suggestion.

Los Angeles Unified has just halted its $1 billion contract for iPads due to revelations about shenanigans in the bidding process and a worrisome relationship between Apple and LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy.

L.A. Unified school police recently decided to citing students for minor offenses. Maybe they should investigate the possibility of major offenses by top officials.

L.A. Unified halts contract for iPads
LA Times
Aug. 25, 2014

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy suspended future use of a contract with Apple on Monday that was to provide iPads to all students in the nation's second-largest school system amid mounting scrutiny of the $1-billion-plus effort.

The suspension comes days after disclosures that the superintendent and his top deputy had especially close ties to executives of Apple, maker of the iPad, and Pearson, the company that is providing the curriculum on the devices.

And an internal report that examined the technology effort showed major problems with the process and the implementation...

But Deasy, who has been the main proponent of providing the iPads throughout the district and who has defended the project repeatedly, was coming under mounting criticism for his handling of the contract and for the implementation of the program.

Last week, a draft report of a district technology committee, obtained by The Times, was strongly critical of the bidding process.

Among the findings was that the initial rules for winning the contract appeared to be tailored to the products of the eventual winners — Apple and Pearson — rather than to demonstrated district needs. The report found that key changes to the bidding rules were made after most of the competition had been eliminated under the original specifications.

In addition, the report said that past comments or associations with vendors, including Deasy, created an appearance of conflict even if no ethics rules were violated...

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