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School District Approves $700,000 iPad Purchase


Thursday, January 16, 2014
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Santa Barbara Unified School District approved a $700,000 iPad Air purchase at Tuesday’s board meeting. Discussed at great length over the past several months, boardmembers gave district administrators the go-ahead to officially begin the one-to-one pilot program. Third through 6th graders at Washington, Adams, and Franklin elementary schools and 11th graders at La Cuesta High School will receive iPads and cases next month. The district is fronting the bill with the Common Core State Implementation Funds but is expecting most of the families to lease-to-buy the devices for about $20 a month for the next three years (based on results from parent surveys). Several boardmembers voiced concerns about the shelf life of the devices and logistics of the multiyear rollout, but all approved the purchase and conceded responsibility to the district.

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Independent Discussion Guidelines

love the concept. skeptical about controls and payment enforcement.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2014 at 8:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

BOONDOGGLE, indeed! As a Jan. 14 LA Times masthead editorial indicates, these iPads (and Apple laptops) are essential for taking the new COMMON CORE standardized tests. The Pearson Company and other for-profits sold Common Core to the government, we in Calif. MUST have our students take Common Core tests, and Apple Corp. and Pearson are taking in huge profits by jacking up the public schools. Arne Duncan will end up on Apple's board, without a doubt after his term as Obama's education czar is up.
JL is absolutely correct with his concerns about controls and costs; like in LA, our "costs" at these four schools will balloon; and we'll then be in too deep to get out. I am amazed at our School Board's decision; they're in way over their heads. How is it that Apple and Pearson are running the curricula at our public schools. LA, e.g., has spent a half-billion dollars on this so far.
I add my pedagogical concerns, which few seem to care about: I do not think teachers have gotten much training in using the iPads with instruction, and the more affluent students who already have plenty of techie gear at home will surge even further ahead of the lower-income students. Students in NY and Kentucky already on Common Core have fared horribly on their tests; as always, if you live in more affluent regions, you are bound to do much better on these tests, which are themselves nearly meaningless, boring, and waste a lot of teaching time.
Boondoggle all the way! And I write this as a consistent supporter of public education: put the money into teachers and reducing class size: this always works.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2014 at 9:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Common Core is rotton to the core. I-pads and phone devices are the new crack cocaine. Apple knows they will get repeat sales once the kid gets hooked on the iPad.

Common Core was designed for profit.

Dr Dan nailed it with the obvious truth," put the money into teachers and reducing class size: this always works."

The administrators are busy chasing the money and ignoring the kids. The sad part is that once the kids get these iPads, the normal social development of kids of actually interacting one-on-one and playing together gets damaged. Shy kids withdraw into technology. The weird kids escape into online games and youtube.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2014 at 10:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

While in general agreement, Georgy, I failed to stress that FACE-T0-FACE teaching in reduced class sizes will work, and in the end could well be less expensive than all these wonder-gadgets. Ha, these devices are the new 'crack cocaine' produced by the FOR-PROFIT companies and funded by the education bureaucracy. I know, I know, I am FOR public education, but these exceedingly poor decisions made by school boards and mucky-muck administrators will NOT improve student learning OR the (unnecessary) test scores. Common Core scores will be LOW, and the public will blame the teachers or the kids, not these expensive "I worship tech" decisions. This is part of a crafty plan to privatize, or partially privatize, education. Again, why are for-profits defining learning, controlling curriculum, and charging tax-payers huge amounts of money? (Here in SB about $700,000 according to the article). When the schools come back for more monies in the form of a new "Prop 30", decisions like this one will thus cost our students double.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2014 at 10:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

never enough $ for the teachers, but theres always money for the corporations. What a joke. Agree with the above.

spacey (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2014 at 11:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Our parcel taxes in action ….for the children.

How will the metrics of this investment monitor the intended positive changes in academic outcomes?

How quickly will the first kid report his dog ate his IPAD.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2014 at 4:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Jack O'Connell when Supt of Ed already reduced class sizes in California. What happened?

OMG, NY teachers are the highest paid in the nation and you claim their students do poorly still? Sorry, but no study shows any connection that paying teachers more, results in class room improvement.

Don't forget the teachers unions negotiated very plush teacher pensions for those now not working, so this does mean today's education dollars has to be stretched further for the present teachers because there are presently $80 billion dollars missing in the teachers pension funds. (CalPERS unfunded liabilities) and pension promises have to be paid first, off the top.

Schools have to now kick in over $4 billion dollars a year to make up the failed pension promise differences. Until the teacher pension issues get resolved, there will be even less money left in the classroom for teachers working today.

But public education is still getting 50% of all the general state tax revenues, parcel taxes and bond issues. That's enough. You just chose to allocate it to cover a lot of promises.

This is what the unions wanted, and this is what the school boards voted to do. Live with it and stop complaining. That 50% now has to cover both the teachers still working and the unsustainable promises made to teachers now in retirement.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2014 at 5:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

don't let foo hijack another thread: the article is about the $700,000 spent for iPads in four SB area public schools. This money, partly from Common Core monies, will allow kids to take the standardized Common Core tests on the devices. Rather, reduce class size by hiring more committed young teachers. It isn't about foo's redundant screed.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2014 at 6:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So will iPads help bring critical thinking skills back into education?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 17, 2014 at 2 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@foofighter: "But public education is still getting 50% of all the general state tax revenues, parcel taxes and bond issues."

You must be a kick at dinner parties.

"How'd you like the chicken marsala?"

"I would've liked it more if the teacher's union wasn't demanding 50% of the general tax revenues of the state of CA."

@foofighter: "That's enough. "

Of you making the same, tired, uninformed point over and over and over again ad nauseum? I agree, yes... that's enough.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
January 17, 2014 at 7:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

What this short article fails to mention is that the district has somehow tricked the parents of some of its poorest students into leasing these devices for $20 a month in spite of the fact that it is barred by CA law from demanding payment for materials deemed necessary for instruction. If students do not need them, the district should not be asking students to pay for them. If students do need them, the district is legally obliged to pay for them itself. So how does it justify asking students to do so?

il_miglione (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2014 at 4:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bill, iPads might or might not bring critical thinking back into education. I don't think this tech gear is essential, but it COULD be helpful... however, reducing class size, training teachers much more effectively, and somehow impacting the zip codes where the kids live would all be big steps in fostering more critical thinking. Many curricula promise they'll stimulate critical and creative thinking, but it requires difficult face-to-face teaching/learning work, it takes time, great teachers, attentive learners, and a supportive society. There are many hurdles to getting to where we need to be in public education; I know you don't think throwing money at this issue is the answer, but it in fact is a big part of the answer.
foo doesn't discuss these issues, he rants his usual hate-taxes, hate kids ravings...boring.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2014 at 7:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

agree il miglione, and the heck of it is that these devices are REALLY needed so the new-fangled Common Core standardized tests can be taken on them... it's about Apple Corp selling our educational leaders these gizmos, then the curriculum from feds required they be used for testing and therefore the Pearson Corp. makes money... it's about the money, not student learning.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2014 at 7:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Note to self... begin every comment with "BUT FOO"

like e cigs, ipads have been known to heat up and cause bodily harm. I heard that on the internet!

Call your local health inspector if you like, "but" tech waits for no man!

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2014 at 7:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are all jealous because Foo LOVES me and HATES yoo.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2014 at 8:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo loves you dipped in soy sauce.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2014 at 8:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Favoritism to Apple?
Why not let the students choose between iPad, Xbox and PS4?
As long as its not tax dollars. Is it?

native2sb (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2014 at 9:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think these are tax dollars, but not from SB.... the article states the Board is "fronting the bill with the Common Core State Implementation Funds " -- the feds sweeten the pot with these national tax dollars to pull states into accepting Common Core standards... AND, of course, lots of money to be made on implementing these new standardized exams plaguing our kids in public schools. iPads and laptops are simply tools, used well they can be quite effective, but they are also quite expensive.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2014 at 9:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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