The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Los Angeles Schools:
Working Class Kids Short-Changed

Sep 14, 2015

Only six schools out of 1,000 in the entire L.A. school district will be “ready to make good use of computers” based on the district’s own requirements, district officials admitted last week.

This is three years after district officials announced, with great fanfare, that each and every one of the district’s more than half million students would get a tablet computer issued by their school.

Apple got a very lucrative, 1.3-billion-dollar contract from the district to supply iPads to schools. When it was revealed that Apple was charging more than the retail price for the iPads, district officials said it was because Apple’s sub-contractor, publishing giant Pearson, was also getting paid to supply instructional software.

Then, last year, district higher-ups publicly admitted what tens of thousands of students and teachers already knew: most of the iPads could not be used for instruction because, among other things, Pearson had not bothered to supply most of the software it was being paid for!

Even when a few tablets were first distributed two years ago, students, especially those in working-class neighborhoods, were quickly told they had to return the iPads they were issued. Supposedly students were using the devices for entertainment at home. As if a tablet used to listen to music could no longer be used for learning!

In fact, what district officials have been doing with the tablets is no different than what they do with textbooks. Publishing companies make huge profits, charging high prices for the books. In affluent areas, every student is issued a textbook for each class. But in working-class areas, students are often denied the textbooks, with all kinds of excuses.

When district higher-ups promised a computer for each student, it sounded good of course, especially to working-class kids and their parents who can’t afford expensive computers. But this promise turned out to be another lie – like so many other lies politicians and public education officials have told workers before, including the biggest lie of them all: that they would provide every child in this country with a good education.