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10 ways to spend $30+ million

LAUSD recently announced that they would be purchasing $30 million worth of Apple iPads for its students.

But wait, there’s more…

Here’s what the LAUSD board of Ed envisions their classrooms to look like by 2014.

The district says it is spending $678 per iPad. That’s more than the regular price of one, but these iPads come equipped with learning and educational software. Sounds great right?

Except that there are over 650,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Excuse my lack of Common Core upbringing, but isn’t that like… almost $500 million?

Oh wait, I see. The $30 million is just phase 1 of their “let’s-spend-money-on-things-to-make-our-district-look-great-without-implementing-real-change-and-solutions.” In the fall, only 30,000 students will get iPads. They’re the test group for whether or not they should spend millions more on giving the rest of the district this cutting edge technology.

Don’t get me wrong. I love iPads just as much as the next person. I prefer Apple to Microsoft any day. I do think technology is a great tool in the classroom. And I do it’s important to prepare students for the digital age and instill technological literacy.

But there are other ways they could go about this, and a lot of other important things that they could fund with this giant amount of money. Classroom collaboration and active discussions and experiential learning are also very important. Technology is great but it limits student interaction when students are in front of a screen most of the time.

We ought to loosen restrictions on schools (ahem high-stakes standardized testing ahem), give teachers training and tools that allows them to creatively teach well-rounded curriculum to students that not only know how to use an iPad, but can also carry a discussion with classmates, communicate an original idea, fight for a cause, and produce valuable, original work in any area of education and life. 

With that said, here’s a list of what else they could use all that money for:

  1. Creating “cutting edge” computer labs at each school
  2. Building art, music, and physical education programs to give students well-rounded educations and more options
  3. Growing social justice and civic learning curricula in schools
  4. Renovating school facilities and creating an exciting environment for students to learn
  5. Funding more field trips, interactive workshops, service learning programs, extracurricular programs
  6. Rehiring teachers who were laid off
  7. Providing meaningful training for teachers (preferably training from a person who has been in front of a classroom before) and implementing meaningful evaluation systems that help improve rather than punish teachers
  8. Reducing class sizes
  9. Increasing teacher salaries
  10. Removing furlough days
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