The Well-Run Board: A Tale of Two iPads

The LAUSD iPad travesty didn’t have to go down the way it did.
We did it better.

ipad question markAt the same time that LAUSD was implementing their ultimately failed IPad plan, the board at PCHS was asked to consider doing the same. We met with the exact same Apple salespeople, negotiated over the exact same technology, were offered very similar pricing. It was expensive. Rather than leaping in, we decided to run a prudent pilot program instead. What became obvious with our due diligence was that the pricing was too high, the software was incomplete, and Apple couldn’t keep many of their promises. For example, they assured us the firewall would be rock solid, limiting access to the wider internet. As we know, the kids broke through it in 30 seconds.

The upshot? First, we see that all the information was there for both boards to make a solid decision. Only one followed protocol. Secondly, responsibility for this failure belongs solely in the hands of the LAUSD board. Watching over the public’s dollars is the board’s primary task. A big, expensive project like this is exactly what the board is intended to oversee, and closely. There’s been a lot of finger pointing over the iPad debacle. But anyone who truly understands the purpose of a governing board, and how it should be run, knows exactly where the blame should be placed.

A well-run board knows exactly what it is responsible for, and – perhaps more importantly – what it’s not. It’s never about micromanaging. It is seeing the big picture, having a strategy. It’s about hiring good people, and then getting out of their way. But keeping an eye on them, and helping them accomplish. And it’s always, always, always about safeguarding the money that voters entrust to us, to use in educating their children.