They really seem to be doing it, following through with distributing ipads to one and all in LAUSD.

To myself I pledged not to get terribly worked up about this until I could see the whites of their eyes. But on Friday I received notification of an October 4 distribution date and three upcoming informational meetings for parents. I can see ’em now and that retina screen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

On the flip side of the on again-off again will-they-be-allowed-home-or-won’t-they head whip-sawer, it does appear that the ipads are going to be sent home immanently. Which suggests the form embedded on pp 32-3 within the 9/10/13 school board regular meeting public documents must be true. It states there that I will, involuntarily, be required to be financially responsible for my child’s $599 toy. And I must say: I OBJECT STRENUOUSLY.

I do not WANT to be responsible for this much money. If I felt comfortable letting my child be responsible for that much money, I might perhaps have bought her one of these machines already. But I am not: no way, no how. Six hundred dollars is an absolutely whopping sum and there is just no way I would entrust it to a child. I judge the risk far too high that something would happen to that delicate device. To me, the cost:benefit does not play out. And, I might add, it would not play out for a machine 6x cheaper either. Bringing $100 toys to school is completely foolhardy. The risk of damage, loss or theft is too high, in my estimation. Worse, the risk of aggravated theft is unacceptably high as any such risk at all is too much. I absolutely reject any suggestion of accepting the risk of standing in harm’s way for the sake of a social media device that is unnecessary and too expensive to begin with.

This is a ridiculous deal and if anyone were ever to give me, the parent and one risk-assumer, the courtesy of inquiring after my opinion, I would make it clear the proposition is a complete non-starter.

But it is not me who is entrusting the machine to my child. It is the school district that has decided I must entrust it to her, at my expense. An entity that has no skin in the game regarding this equipment, neither monetarily nor physically (the school district is not the entity that is at risk of physical attack), has decreed that I be made responsible involuntarily for my child’s entrustment with way, way too valuable a piece of bling. That is, the decision to assume great risk was made by a school board that has held itself harmless from responsibility by passing all associated risk along to … their own students.

How would you feel if the school bestowed upon your child a $600 necklace, unbidden, and then declared that as her parent you were responsible for the daily safety of that redundant piece of overpriced opulence?

I would consider this an outrageous impertinence, a completely presumptuous abrogation of prerogative.

Just as, precisely, I consider the school board’s plan for foisting this $599 tool on my child, a device that I did not ask for, do not want, consider to be a pedagogical detriment, and I cannot afford.

Another major concern about housing these instruments regards not physical but technological security, both regarding how kids use the equipment and what vulnerability it brings to the child. First, I don’t trust the software loaded on the machine not to mine streams of data about my child, unbidden. I do not, in truth, disbelieve the specter of other security nightmare situations that practically border on paranoia. Security vulnerabilities leave one looking for Trojan Horses underneath every gateway. And when the devices in your home are not under your own control, this is a most uncomfortable scenario.

Everything about the massive, impending rollout of this uncontrolled technological experiment feels ill-advised, premature and at best, naïve; at worst, dangerous. Who is the actual beneficiary when LAUSD acquires a no-bid, inessential and ephemeral attractive nuisance at great taxpayer’s expense, all risk for which is passed down to, and spread among, those same overpaying taxpayers and their innocent children? Once again, one has to ask: who is really benefiting from this ipad contract?