Aug. 26, 2014
The Los Angeles Times reports questionable conflicts in iPad and Pearson
publishing purchases at Los Angeles Unified School District (my mother
"The suspension comes days after disclosures that the
superintendent and his top deputy had especially close ties to executives of
Apple, maker of the iPad, and Pearson, the company that is providing the
curriculum on the devices. And an internal report that examined the
technology effort showed major problems with the process and the
"Last week, a draft report of a district technology
committee, obtained by The Times, was strongly critical of the bidding
Apparently there are questions about conflict of interest, including both
Apple, and Pearson publishing, a well know monopoly provider of education
products including software on the iPads.
"In one email, from May 24, 2012, Aquino seems to strategize
with higher-ups from Pearson on how to ensure that it got the job.
"I believe we would have to make sure that your bid is the
lowest one," wrote Aquino, who was an executive with a Pearson affiliate
before joining L.A. Unified." (Talk about conflicts... rotating execs is a
big red flag)
I would hope there are no such contract or procurement problems at Lake
County School District which uses iPads at some schools. Of course, LAUSD
has a much larger budget making it a bigger target of such conflicts.
Perhaps the Lake County Schools Internal Audit Director should add this
issue to his future audit list. We already know of a possible conflict of
Florida school district purchases from AIR, the new Florida provider of K-12
"assessments" or tests. (Info to be released soon).
"The teachers union Monday called for an official
investigation of the original contracting process... And a source close to
the district said L.A. Unified's inspector general is planning to conduct
additional interviews... An earlier inquiry by the inspector general was
reviewed by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, which
concluded that no charges were warranted. "