File: Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy speaks during a press conference at South Region High School #2 in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2012.
Los Angeles Unified school board member Monica Ratliff formally released a report that was leaked to media last week, outlining concerns about the district's iPad project.
The report was released during the first public school board meeting of the school year.
Ratliff and school board member Tamar Galatzan engaged in a heated back and forth over Ratliff's decision to require a lengthy confidentiality agreement before allowing board members and district staffers to view the draft report. The report was leaked to KPCC and the Los Angeles Times before she had reviewed it.
The meeting started more than two hours late because closed session discussions over negotiations with the teacher's union went long, according to board president Richard Vladovic, and the board severely limited the number of public speakers who could comment on problems with the iPad program.
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy speaks during a press conference at South Region High School #2 in 2012.
Three days after KPCC published internal emails showing top L.A. Unified officials and executives from Pearson and Apple met and discussed bringing tablet-driven education software to the classroom, the school district announced Monday it will cancel the contract with Apple and Pearson and open its one-to-one technology project to new bids.
Superintendent John Deasy alerted school board members to the change to the Common Core Technology Project in a memo distributed Monday evening and obtained by KPCC. (You can read his full memo, embedded below.)
"Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the [Common Core Technology Project] and receive new information from the California Department of Education regarding assessments," Deasy wrote.
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Pearson broke its weekend silence Monday and responded to emails obtained by KPCC showing LA Unified and Pearson officials discussing a software purchase ahead of a public bid for the district's massive technology program.
Pearson, the makers of an iPad learning software called "Common Core System of Courses", supported statements reportedly made by Superintendent John Deasy over the weekend claiming the email discussions were limited to a small pilot program. (Deasy has not returned repeated calls by KPCC.)
"Throughout the R&D process, Pearson works closely with subject matter experts, educators, and students from diverse communities," Pearson spokesman Brandon Pinette wrote in a statement. "During the early development of the System of Courses, six schools participated in pilot studies of the curriculum, 2 in Los Angeles, and 4 in Texas."
Los Angeles high school students started the third week of school with a walk out Monday morning to draw attention to continued problems with a new district-wide scheduling system they said keeps them trapped in the auditorium or in classes they've already taken.
"They have us in the auditorium every day, all day. We get different schedules every day. They need to stop. They need to give us the right classes," said Tatyana Sims, 17, a senior at Jefferson High School in South Los Angeles. She said her schedule Monday was composed entirely of classes she'd already taken and passed.
"We're wasting time," she added. "They don't listen to us."
L.A. Unified School District administrators issued a public statement acknowledging they had to make changes to Jefferson's "master schedule" last week because it was causing problems.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy checks his phone outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, before the verdict in a lawsuit on teacher tenure.
Superintendent John Deasy was a year into his tenure at the Los Angeles Unified School District when he started talking to the largest publishing company in the world, Pearson PLC, about working together on a digital transformation in public education.
He had inherited a school system in crisis: Thousands of Los Angeles teachers, counselors and librarians had lost their jobs during the recession; fewer than half of students were reading at grade level; more than 10,000 dropped out of high school every year. For Deasy, transformation was not just possible; it was an urgent mandate.
“I’m not going to be interested in looking at third-graders and saying, ‘Sorry, this is the year you don’t learn to read,’ or to juniors and saying, ‘You don’t get to graduate,’" he told KPCC in May 2012. "So the pace needs to be quick, and we make no apologies for that.”