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Sour Apple: Los Angeles Schools Want Refund For Failed iPad Program

The Los Angeles Unified School District wants Apple to refund millions of dollars spent on an iPad-curriculum project that has been plagued with major problems from the start.

The district’s Board of Education is “explor[ing] possible litigation against Apple and Pearson, the company that developed the curriculum,” the Los Angeles Times, which broke the story, reported late Wednesday.

The $1.3 billion education initiative launched in 2013 was meant to provide every LAUSD student and teacher with iPads outfitted with Pearson curriculum software. Issues cropped up immediately after the rollout, including reported problems with the software that led to frustration for teachers and students alike, and students easily skirting security filters on the iPads.

In December 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided LAUSD offices as part of an ongoing investigation into whether the then-superintendent of LAUSD unfairly favored Apple and Pearson in the bidding process for the project. LAUSD officially shelved the iPad program shortly afterward.

In a letter sent to Apple this week, according to the Los Angeles Times, an attorney for LAUSD wrote: “While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solution … they have yet to deliver it.”

Pearson spokeswoman Stacy Skelly replied in a statement emailed to NBC News:

Pearson is proud of our long history working with LAUSD and our significant investment in this groundbreaking initiative to transform instructional practices and raise expectations for all students. This was a large-scale implementation of new technologies and there have been challenges with the initial adoption, but we stand by the quality of our performance.

Apple did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Education Nation: Using iPads in classes

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--- Julianne Pepitone