NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

LA District Purchases iPads, Chromebooks and Laptops for Students

December 4, 2014

Last year, the Los Angeles school district decided to give all of its students iPads. But the $1 billion plan was not exactly a success. Reports Robby Soave for Reason Magazine, students began losing the iPads or breaking them, and many teachers had difficulty finding ways to incorporate the iPads into their classes.

Remarkably, Soave writes that a number of LA schools at the same time did not have enough money to purchase math books for all of its students, with sixth and seventh grade math teachers, devoid of textbooks, having to find material on the internet and make copies for students.

Even so, the district has now expanded the plan beyond iPads, to include Google Chromebooks (less expensive than the iPad) and laptops (far more expensive than the iPad). As a result, 27 schools can choose between iPads and Chromebooks, while 21 schools have decided to provide students with laptops.

Last January, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published a report on the use of technology within Texas school districts, citing similar problems: technologies -- whether Smart boards or personal computers -- were purchased by classrooms but rarely used, and teachers struggled to incorporate the technology into their classrooms.

Source: Robby Soave, "LA Schools Learn Wrong Lesson from iPad Debacle, Buy Chromebooks and Laptops,", December 2, 2014; Robby Soave, "LA Schools: Millions for iPads, But Not One Cent for Math Textbooks,", October 17, 2014; Robby Soave, "iPad Pain," Reason Magazine, December 2014. 


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