Tags: Free | iPads | LA | Taxpayers

'Free' iPads Cost LA Taxpayers Big

Friday, 25 Oct 2013 10:50 AM

By James Walsh

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Things are not going well for the liberals. For instance, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) overpaid for “free” iPads for 680,000 students. The Universal Services Fund (USF) did pretty much the same with free phones, and over at the White House, the president is not pleased with the Obamacare online-signup snafu.
 
In Los Angeles, the student population may exceed estimates, especially with L.A.’s ever-growing immigrant population. Like all population figures, especially those on immigrants (legal and illegal), numbers remain guestimates.
 
Total student enrollment (K-12), according to LAUSD, consists of the following ethnic groups: Hispanics, 73.4 percent or 496,400 students; Black students, 10 percent or 68,000 students; whites, 9 percent or 61,200 students; and others (mainly Asian), 8 percent or 54,400.
 
According to LAUSD, English is among the 93 languages spoken by these students. The majority speak Spanish, with a number of these, illegal aliens or children of illegal aliens. An estimated 161,184 students are learning to speak English.
 
The Los Angeles Times, on October 22, reported that LAUSD administrators are giving a free Apple iPad to each student, regardless of language skill, at a cost of $1 billion to L.A. taxpayers. LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy stated that iPads are part of the students “civil rights” to be up with the latest technology. In distributing them, school administrators came out with the Obama-esque statement that, “We are right where we want to be.”
 
Taxpayers started questioning the $770 per iPad paid by LAUSD, a cost at odds with store sales or online offerings of the same phone but $400 cheaper. LAUSD has started taking some iPads back. Does that mean free iPads are no longer “civil rights”?
 
LAUSD administrators parse discussions of iPad costs and address questions concerning cost accountability in a semantic wonderland of vagary. Taxpayers, who question if the take-back of student iPads is a change in philosophy or a budgetary crisis, see themselves as victims of progressive experimentation that ignores reality.
 
Questions remain. How were the iPads programed for non-English-speaking students? Many students have “lost” their iPads; might “lost” mean “sold”?
 
Bloomberg Business Week reports that it took only a few days for students at Westchester High School in southwest Los Angeles to bypass the filtering software on their free iPads. One student is quoted as saying that it was predictable that people would figure out how to bypass the filter. It wasn’t hard.
 
Many students have changed the settings and use their free iPads for playing music, taking photographs, surfing the Internet, sending and receiving emails, and social networking.
 
The iPads used in school districts from California to Chicago to Maine are creating the same problems as those in the Los Angeles Unified School District, including the language problem, as non-English-speaking students and their parents demand accommodations. Many of the “lost” devices will end up in the wrong hands. Street-smart students will bypass phone filters and iPad software guards.
 
The Universal Services Fund (USF) is a federal mandate that requires U.S. communication users to pay a fee each month to fund free cell and land phones for poor people who participate in federal entitlement programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps, and Section 8 housing programs. The USF operation experiences the same type of “loss” problems as the LAUSD iPad giveaway.
 
Los Angeles drug dealers, Mexican Drug Cartels, and other criminals are able to make good use of free computers and free phones. Unintended consequences occur when common sense gives way to political correctness. While it is iPads in L.A., it is open borders in D.C., where the president, the Democrats, and big-money supporters such as George Soros and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are busy funding groups who support open borders.
 
Soros has his National Immigration Forum and Zuckerberg, his Fwd.us. They are joined by radical immigration advocacy fronts funded by those with a similar agenda. The immigration package they seek is open-borders globalization of the United States. Yet U.S. citizens dare not question the strict immigration policies of other countries. Imagine such an effort to open the borders of China, Russia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Iran, even Mexico.
 
If open-borders advocates succeed, free iPads will pale in comparison. An open-door immigration policy will cost taxpayers even more for education and welfare entitlements. Open-door advocates downplay the costs of their legislation, but education costs alone will cause major tax increases, and it won’t be just for free phones.
 
Big business and high-tech groups pass costs and taxes on to the consumer. Big-money individuals keep their money offshore, where CPAs and lawyers negate tax liability. The middle class, whom the president and Democrats always claim to be protecting, will bear the tax increase.
 
Free iPads, free phones, and the Obamacare online sign-up snafu inspire words to the wise: Poorly conceived and poorly vetted politically correct efforts don’t work.
 
James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.
 
 
 
 

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