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Morning Read: Can’t stop talking about those LA Unified iPads

LA School Report | December 19, 2013

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State’s largest urban districts post gains on national assessment
Three of California’s largest school districts showed gains on a national assessment of urban districts that also singled out Los Angeles and Fresno Unified for special recognition from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. EdSource

Network upgrades to push up cost of LA schools’ massive iPad project
The L.A. Unified school district is planning to spend more than $700 million to upgrade servers, pull wire and connect antiquated schools to a data grid – a necessary part of its massive effort to get every student and teacher on wifi, according to district documents. KPCC

L.A. Unified slashes number of iPads deemed needed for student tests
Under pressure from an oversight panel, Los Angeles school officials have sharply reduced the number of iPads they say are needed to carry out new state standardized tests.The change adds up to a $25-million savings, but examination of the testing plan has raised more questions about the $1-billion effort. LA Times

Despite Bad Press, LAUSD’s iPad Curriculum Is Impressing Educators
LAUSD Supt. John Deasy’s plan to give an iPad to every student has been ridiculed by the teachers union, press and some school board members as a costly and inept effort to bridge an illusory “digital divide” in a city where even the poor are awash in personal devices. LA Weekly

After bungled iPad rollout, lessons from LA put technology in a time out
Under pressure, Deasy called for a delay of the rollout, which means all schools aren’t likely to get the devices until 2015 – a year later than planned. Mistakes made in LA are now being heeded nationally as a cautionary tale, with school districts halting technology rollouts until rules regarding the use of the devices are finalized and teachers get more training. Hechinger Report 

CalPERS moves to exclude private charters
New eligibility requirements for participating in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System exclude private operators of charter schools, officials at the California Charter Schools Association said Wednesday. The new requirements were adopted earlier this year in anticipation of changes to federal tax law that would tighten the definition of a government entity participating in a public pension. SI&A Cabinet Report

States Grapple With Common Test-Score Cutoffs
It’s one thing for all but a few states to agree on one shared set of academic standards. It’s quite another for them to agree on when students are “college ready” and to set that test score at a dauntingly high place. Yet that’s what two state assessment groups are doing. EdWeek


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