LA school district puts the brakes on $500m iPad contract

In Los Angeles, the school district is putting the brakes on its plans to give an iPad to every student. Last year, voters approved a bond sale to spend $1 billion to upgrade the school district's technology assets. The board overseeing the distribution of technology approved a $30 million purchase of 30,000 iPads to start off a trial of the new technology with the expectation that the contract would bloom to $500 million after the roll-out was compete.

Those plans are now on hold after the deployment of iPads was far from a smooth process; 47 schools received the initial batch of iPads and students were able to bypass security filters. Because of this, the deployment of the iPads was behind schedule and is now receiving a second review to see if these tablets are actually a good fit for the school district.

In a new effort to find devices that may be more suitable for its diverse set of students, the district is opening up the options to let the students decide what they will use going forward. The options now include Lenovo machines, Surface Pro 2 and options from Dell - and even Chromebooks are allowed to be purchased in the trial.

The case study from the LA school district shows that the iPad isn't the holy grail for computing that many had hoped it would be and while the tablet is still a great device, it's not the be-all solution for the education sector.

It appears too that the committee overseeing the initial contract award may have proceeded without proper adjudication, leaving the school district now looking to alterative machines to support their school district. 

Source: LA Times

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this is why people that are in charge of financial decisions shouldn't be the ones to buy technological stuff because any vendor that promises them the world at the lowest price will win the bid.

If they are looking for a platform where the students can't bypass the parental filters: GOOD LUCK WITH THAT ONE!!!

In all reality, the only way to keep the kids from accessing non-educational Internet services is by blocking them at the router and don't let the kids take the tablets home with them.

30,000 iPads for $30m equates to $1k per iPad. If I assume this includes some extended warranty, deployment and God knows some other hidden fees, I'll still say this is a huge waste of borrowed funds.

Alternatives:
Get the teachers Surface pro 3 the i3 versions + Keyboard ($800 + 130 +? = $1000 [? =$70])
Get the kids the Surface 2 with keyboard2 (449 +130 [+God knows what other hidden fees and warranty at 150] = $730

Notes:
Surface 2 already have office
Surface Pro 3 will need office. (Make it the student something edition for the teachers. = worst case cost =$100

Now lets work some magic math with some assumptions.
1) We will use the current 30K deployment as starters.
If an average class has 1 teacher to 24 students, the current 30K ratio will be = 28800 student Surface 2 and 1200 teachers Surface 3 Pro (the i3 version)

Small Math -
30K/(24+1) = 1200.
1200*24 =28800)

Cost:
28800 x $750 = $21,600,000 for students
1200 * $1100 = $1320000 for Teachers

Total = $22,920,000
Delta from current wasted 30m = $7,080,000

So, rolling out 30K devices using Surface 2 and Surface 3 with office, keyboards, warranties, and extra stuff costing in as unknown will yield useable devices than iPad, and can be secured. Apps and programs can be locked down, I do already with my kids using family safety and there more advanced ones for corporates already existing that the district can use, and the district will have some change left over ($7.08m).

The 30m spent on iPad does not include keyboards, office and it is not 10.6" screen (Surface 2 with kick stand or 12" screen for the teachers that is core processor.)

Noticed I did not factor in any deal they might get from Microsoft.

From the source:

The iPads will cost $678 each, which includes a case and a full slate of learning software, but no keyboard. Money for the project comes from voter-approved bond revenue. Additional costs within the $30 million include hiring about 15 "facilitators," as well as additional training and support for the first 47 schools.

besides, why shouldn't students choose? why lock in to apple? this smells like anti-competitive behavior and the government (state or federal) should always go for the lower bidder, which it is doubtful loading everybody with an ipad is the cheapest solution.

this sounds like apple-friendly management had plans to screw the state to further their apple preference. realistically they should be looking at cheap laptops and tablets instead of the high end apple gear.

They might have killed the $500 million order because Microsoft would be willing to rain down Surfaces on them at a slight loss to get in the door.

$500 million? Microsoft would probably sell them the same number of devices for $100 million.

Having kids of my own, you gotta lock the devices down and lock them down tight. Ever go shopping with kids and you go down the cereal aisle? Yeah it's one big advertisement for kids. Free prize! Free toy! Free movie! Look inside!

Well that's what the web is also. When kids are on seemingly innocent sites with games and the like, they end up installing things and getting all kinds of crap onto a machine. I've had to completely restore my sons machine 2-3 times because I didn't want to spend the time undoing what he'd done. Kids are also crafty and if it can be easily bypassed, it will be bypassed.

So, hardware is important but the ability to lock a machine down to what it is intended to do is important. It's a learning tool and it should be locked down as such.

May the best device/OS win.

My understanding was that the software was not owned by the school district and had to be leased from Apple which made the Apple the only software provider that provided special programing for the LAUSD.

Funny how everyone is talking hardware, iOS vs Win, but nobody is mentioning the reason pointed out in the article. The students were bypassing security filters.

hagjohn said,
Funny how everyone is talking hardware, iOS vs Win, but nobody is mentioning the reason pointed out in the article. The students were bypassing security filters.

Since when does the content of the article (or source links) matter with this crowd?

They aren't going to come up with some bullet proof filters no matter what platform they choose. The best they can do is periodically check the devices for evidence of tampering with the security and punish the student for it.

Better yet, don't give an iPad (or any tablet) to every student. Its a colossal waste of money IMHO, unless shown to save money from text books savings or something. I don't see any future employers giving anyone a "foot in the door" over some iPad experience.

RT based tablets would be ideal for this. Kid messes things up somehow? Just do a reset. And it has Office for reports and stuff.

Surface Pro 2 should be a non-starter. The battery life isn't long enough, it runs too hot, it's too thick and too heavy.

Either a Surface 2, or a Surface Pro 3 would fit the bill nicely.

pmbAustin said,
Surface Pro 2 should be a non-starter. The battery life isn't long enough, it runs too hot, it's too thick and too heavy.

Either a Surface 2, or a Surface Pro 3 would fit the bill nicely.

errr technically surface pro 3 has worse battery life than SP2 buddy. look at anandtech review

Just go with the Surface Pro 3 and lock them down with AD.

I fail to see why people keep insisting on using iPads when they provided limited functionality and have less options for customization and security.

LightEco said,
Just go with the Surface Pro 3 and lock them down with AD.

I fail to see why people keep insisting on using iPads when they provided limited functionality and have less options for customization and security.

exactly for that reason, the phrase 'it just works' comes to mind.. well not in the case of this post but they generally 'do nothing', which is great for classrooms, less disruption.. no need to spend a long time customising things, installing updates and maintaining apps etc..

If I lived in LA, paid taxes there and found out the School district picked the most expensive product possible to buy, I'd kick up a fuss. Wonder if many parents there are.

Well it is Los Angeles...not very surprised. Consumers there tend to be sheep-like and dismiss potentially (and usually) better alternatives. Everything is about brand-names or highly marketed ones.

You people are delusional. Introducing tech in a classroom has done nothing but harm and distract students . Kids today lack basic learning skills!

freak180 said,
You people are delusional. Introducing tech in a classroom has done nothing but harm and distract students . Kids today lack basic learning skills!

Completely opposite but nice try. Technology in the classroom as enabled new ways of learning for students who were bored by the old paper and pen method. If anything you can blame the teachers or the curriculum.

Yeah okay.... You have to be joking. I was working my old HS and saw what tech did to it. Laptops being stolen. Students smashing ipad of attempting to go on fbook all the time. There was nothing wrong with pen and paper. If Students are bord and dont want to learn fine. McD's is waiting for them.

I can always spot the arrogant ones when they start sentences with, "You people". As if they know better then ALL of us. Usually, it's just the opposite.

As per the story, in my opinion tech can be a great supplement to traditional teaching. But 500 million bucks. No wonder Cali is broke.

stevan said,

Completely opposite but nice try. Technology in the classroom as enabled new ways of learning for students who were bored by the old paper and pen method. If anything you can blame the teachers or the curriculum.

New ways?, yes
Better ways?.. im not sure. In some cases it has backfires, students learning less and spending more.

stevan said,

Completely opposite but nice try. Technology in the classroom as enabled new ways of learning for students who were bored by the old paper and pen method. If anything you can blame the teachers or the curriculum.

I see his point. maybe you wouldn't blame the curriculum and teachers if you spend that money on, ah, teachers and curriculum. just a thought :)

Agree 100%.......If a child has to consult a "smart device" or the internet for an answer, isn't the device smart and not the child. For the most part, the generation going to school right has information beyond recognition even 15-20 years ago literally in their pockets. I grew up in the 80's, and 90's...........we didn't have smartphones, and the internet didn't really take off until the mid to late 90's, which smartphones were not really popular until the blackberries in the mid 2000's. All this being said, I think smart devices can teach kids, but only if done right. What that right way is, I don't know. I have a 4 year old, and I try to limit his on-screen (TV, or Computer/tablet) to 1hr / day. He can choose to watch a kid show on TV, or to play educational only game on the ipad/computer.

Buy old XP computers that companies / people no longer want, install Linux, and let the kids have at them. The school gets the software for nothing, saves a lot of money on hardware, and the kids can do programming and other activities on them. That would be a better use of money. With the money saved, they could afford to get a load of cheap Android tablets as well.

simplezz said,
Buy old XP computers that companies / people no longer want, install Linux, and let the kids have at them. The school gets the software for nothing, saves a lot of money on hardware, and the kids can do programming and other activities on them. That would be a better use of money. With the money saved, they could afford to get a load of cheap Android tablets as well.

Is that you Linus?

Spoiled brats. Give them a pencil and a piece of toilet paper. Then they'll start learning.

If students are using the devices in such a way to work around restrictions placed by those who gave them the devices, then they clearly don't deserve the devices in the first place.

You know what worked great for me back when I was in school? Pen and paper. It didn't let me do things with it I wasn't supposed to, was there were no security restrictions for me to try to bypass. It didn't break, and if I lost it, it could be replaced without giving it any thought.

I earn a living as a software developer. I'm also the guy who spends tons of money on gadgets of all kinds. However, I'm of the firm belief that even if you can do something with software, doesn't mean you have to.

Even if you hold up the use of computers/tablets until high school, those kids won't be disadvantaged--I learned how to use those devices, at a time when said devices were a lot more difficult to learn than today's.

Don't try to automate everything. Schools aren't supposed to be factories. If you insist on having kids learn uniformly with software, you might as well send them home with those devices, because there's no need for classrooms or teachers.

I think it's better if they learn how to use computers at an early age. Knowing how to use these devices to acquire information is an important part of life - one that won't be disappearing in the foreseeable future.

That said, I think a lot of teachers and curriculums haven't been optimized around learning how to use computers for learning, but then again, I'm nine years or so out of date...

_dandy_ said,
You know what worked great for me back when I was in school? Pen and paper. It didn't let me do things with it I wasn't supposed to, was there were no security restrictions for me to try to bypass. It didn't break, and if I lost it, it could be replaced without giving it any thought.

I earn a living as a software developer. I'm also the guy who spends tons of money on gadgets of all kinds. However, I'm of the firm belief that even if you can do something with software, doesn't mean you have to.

Even if you hold up the use of computers/tablets until high school, those kids won't be disadvantaged--I learned how to use those devices, at a time when said devices were a lot more difficult to learn than today's.

Don't try to automate everything. Schools aren't supposed to be factories. If you insist on having kids learn uniformly with software, you might as well send them home with those devices, because there's no need for classrooms or teachers.

Nice story Grandad! But we need to introduce new ways of learning to keep education current and relevant to the children.. pen and paper is great but they'll go home and use technology, come back to school and be bored.... stick an iPad under their nose and suddenly they want to learn again.

Using technology is not about automating anything or turning schools into factories, it's about using new and exciting tools at our disposal to enhance learning.

I work in education and we're slowly rolling out 1:1 iPads.. there are so many amazing apps out there that make children WANT to learn, i was at an apple education event a few weeks back and i came away very excited about whats coming..the possibilities they bring to the lesson is great.

Rolling them out has had it's ups and downs.. generally it's been promising.. I'm not sure how these children were able to bypass filters because it's not exactly hard to lock those settings out of sight so that they can't modify proxy or wifi settings.

_dandy_ said,
You know what worked great for me back when I was in school? Pen and paper.

Ah, pen and paper.
_dandy_ said,

It didn't let me do things with it I wasn't supposed to

Making and spitting spitwads comes to mind.
_dandy_ said,

was there were no security restrictions for me to try to bypass.

Forging a medical note
_dandy_ said,

It didn't break

Oh! It rained today and all my papers got soaked and on top of that my pen burst inside my bag.
_dandy_ said,

if I lost it, it could be replaced without giving it any thought.

Yeah, those cheat notes/study papers/etc could be replaced SO easy...

This aint the 1990s any more. Digital is growing more and more to be essential to our lives. Get used to it.

freak180 said,
Let people calculate without a calculator. Then you will know how dumb we have become....

Basic calculation are hard and cumbersome without a calculator. That's why we invented higher orders of mathematics. Calculators are a natural progression if you consider that each mathematical model is a calculation machine.

_dandy_ said,
You know what worked great for me back when I was in school? Pen and paper.

Pair with a stick, a ball, hopes and dreams? The good ole days... walking to school, with shoes that have holes in them, uphills both ways?

wernercd said,
Pair with a stick, a ball, hopes and dreams? The good ole days... walking to school, with shoes that have holes in them, uphills both ways?

You better believe it!

Well the ability to mentally process mathematical problems would increase efficiency in any industry. If I have a group of 5 people on a table that need two napkins per person plus 3 extra for the table, and the restaurant has 8 tables, I don't think anyone should need a calculator to pull out a calculator.

If you think that the problem was too easy to salve mentally, you would not believe how many people I witness require a calculator for basic multiplication. It's 104 btw.

Do kids really need anything more than a relatively small number of dedicated PCs or Macs in school for certain projects, classes or general access to computers for those without.

Seems like complete overkill otherwise and can cause a problem if work is done too often on computers, not the holy grail and a problem for families that can't just buy an iPad for their kid or kids.

coresx said,
Do kids really need anything more than a relatively small number of dedicated PCs or Macs in school for certain projects, classes or general access to computers for those without.

Seems like complete overkill otherwise and can cause a problem if work is done too often on computers, not the holy grail and a problem for families that can't just buy an iPad for their kid or kids.

The argument that they provide a better way of distributing textbooks is valid. However, a Windows based laptop with proper restrictions is a better idea than an iPad because you could also include office, specialized software, and textbooks.

Remember the people making this decision know very little about tech and rely mainly on fads and the "marketability" of the idea to guide their way.

The only time iPads are actually useful are with special needs students. All the other kids simply use them to play games and saturate the network.

Low cost Windows devices are even worse. Just the time they take to boot up / shut down causes kids to get distracted or lose interest. Plus all the maintenance overhead and special devices / licensing costs required to keep them running at all is astronomical.

Chromebooks seem like the perfect fit for education, as they provide a quick and reliable way for students to get online, which is where their ebooks / educational content is located. They also incur low manintenance overheads as the Google Apps dashboards make it real easy to manage them, and they cost a fraction of other solutions.

90% of students use Office to type out simple documents / letters. The cost of an office license is unjustified IMO. Any free online document editor will do to suit their needs.

recursive said,
The only time iPads are actually useful are with special needs students. All the other kids simply use them to play games and saturate the network.

Low cost Windows devices are even worse. Just the time they take to boot up / shut down causes kids to get distracted or lose interest. Plus all the maintenance overhead and special devices / licensing costs required to keep them running at all is astronomical.

Chromebooks seem like the perfect fit for education, as they provide a quick and reliable way for students to get online, which is where their ebooks / educational content is located. They also incur low manintenance overheads as the Google Apps dashboards make it real easy to manage them, and they cost a fraction of other solutions.

90% of students use Office to type out simple documents / letters. The cost of an office license is unjustified IMO. Any free online document editor will do to suit their needs.

Windows 8 devices have a very low booting time ... You are just talking crap about them but you never used one.
You can use any app on windows 8 unlike a ###### chromebook that can't be used for much productivity without an internet connection ... Which would be ok if it wouldn't be from Google ... To get all those student info and use them for ads

recursive said,
Low cost Windows devices are even worse. Just the time they take to boot up / shut down causes kids to get distracted or lose interest. Plus all the maintenance overhead and special devices / licensing costs required to keep them running at all is astronomical.

Bay trail Atom tablets seem to be quite snappy from what I've seen and there shouldn't be any licensing issues, or perhaps schools have to follow a certain licensing path even for tablets; I don't know.

recursive said,
90% of students use Office to type out simple documents / letters. The cost of an office license is unjustified IMO. Any free online document editor will do to suit their needs.

Don't Atom tablets come with full office installed?

Actually, I guess a windows RT tablet would be a better choice. No virus issues and has office too. Metro office is coming too.

recursive said,
The only time iPads are actually useful are with special needs students. All the other kids simply use them to play games and saturate the network.
This is just silly
Low cost Windows devices are even worse. Just the time they take to boot up / shut down causes kids to get distracted or lose interest. Plus all the maintenance overhead and special devices / licensing costs required to keep them running at all is astronomical.
I'm sorry. No. $600 Win8 Laptops boot up very quickly. Maintenance and overhead is not much different than Chromebook or iPads. Licensing too. Your hate for MS is evident at this point.
Chromebooks seem like the perfect fit for education, as they provide a quick and reliable way for students to get online, which is where their ebooks / educational content is located. They also incur low manintenance overheads as the Google Apps dashboards make it real easy to manage them, and they cost a fraction of other solutions.
Same can be said for the Windows Device... which can do all of these things as well as offer them access to even more software and hardware configurations (science labs etc.). It's kind of hilarious how people think managing and deploying a Windows Image in this scenario is that hard at all... Hell, even if each user got their own username that's just a tiny bit harder.

90% of students use Office to type out simple documents / letters. The cost of an office license is unjustified IMO. Any free online document editor will do to suit their needs.
Office, "online" is free from MS as part of Office365, it can be installed on the device or $2/m. Are you telling me you don't see $2/m value?

Edit: sorry Office 365 Edu: $2.5/m/u (student) $4.5/m/u (faculty & staff).

http://office.microsoft.com/en...tion-plans-FX103045755.aspx

eddman said,
Actually, I guess a windows RT tablet would be a better choice. No virus issues and has office too. Metro office is coming too.
Surface 2's would be a solid choice over iPads w/o question... although I don't know what real deployment options you'd have.

recursive said,
The only time iPads are actually useful are with special needs students. All the other kids simply use them to play games and saturate the network.

Low cost Windows devices are even worse. Just the time they take to boot up / shut down causes kids to get distracted or lose interest. Plus all the maintenance overhead and special devices / licensing costs required to keep them running at all is astronomical.

Chromebooks seem like the perfect fit for education, as they provide a quick and reliable way for students to get online, which is where their ebooks / educational content is located. They also incur low manintenance overheads as the Google Apps dashboards make it real easy to manage them, and they cost a fraction of other solutions.

90% of students use Office to type out simple documents / letters. The cost of an office license is unjustified IMO. Any free online document editor will do to suit their needs.

Windows 8 hybrid boot is pretty fast. My Windows 8 desktop computer boots in 9 seconds and my tablet boots in 4 seconds. :) IT can use SCCM to keep the tablets maintained. Chromebooks are useless if you need real education software.

"Those plans are now on hold after the deployment of iPads was far from a smooth process; 47 schools received the initial batch of iPads and students were able to bypass security filters"

Which should surprise absolutely no one. If you want to put devices in the hands of students, first of all, assume they will be attacked, broken, and hacked on every level possible. Why bother with full price iPads when you can get more restricted devices at a far lower cost (I know this, I worked on a project getting eReaders to students)

Now that you mention it, eReaders would be great to replace textbooks with. Cheaper, lighter, and would make much more sense than iPads

If they are spending $1000/device, I would think that they would do much better with Windows devices for the same or less price. I get it that they also have a deployment team, but I'm sure they could get discounted devices like the Dell Venue pro with a laptop dock, desktop doc, Monitor, mouse, and KB for less than that when buying in bulk on an educational discount.

recursive said,
But they would end up 10x the amount in a couple of years cleaning up all the viruses.
you can use various programs that restore as-new state (or predetermined setup state) with a simple reboot.

recursive said,
But they would end up 10x the amount in a couple of years cleaning up all the viruses.

you don't get viruses (or any kind if malware) on a properly managed Windows PC (applocker or software restriction policies).

and if for some reason the IT service is too stupid to apply an SRP configuration, there is also Windows RT which is completely malware-free, and supports useful things such as the full Office suite and USB drives.

..."But they would end up 10x the amount in a couple of years cleaning up all the viruses"... Yet LA School District is gettin rid of the idea of iPads because? Yes; Security issues! Hahaha, you have got to find a much better excuse!

recursive said,
But they would end up 10x the amount in a couple of years cleaning up all the viruses.

On windows you are able to set restore points, most laptops come with a factory state image in a recovery partition, making it incredibly easy to remove all data on the computer (which will in turn remove viruses if any).

If the iPad was 1/2 the price is currently is, maybe it would be the perfect choice. But as is, it's simply just to costly (from my perspective) to be worth it.

rippleman said,
If the iPad was 1/2 the price is currently is, maybe it would be the perfect choice. But as is, it's simply just to costly (from my perspective) to be worth it.

For individuals then sure I agree it's way overpriced but since this is about schools and a big order, as with Macs, I'm sure Apple gives them special, and lower, prices for the iPads in this case. So in the long run I don't think price/cost is the only factor at play.

George P said,

For individuals then sure I agree it's way overpriced but since this is about schools and a big order, as with Macs, I'm sure Apple gives them special, and lower, prices for the iPads in this case. So in the long run I don't think price/cost is the only factor at play.


never thought of that point, i guess (from a software stance) it could actually be a good thing. Surfaces and desktops would have an advantage too, but then surface would be up there in price the same way.. But android would probably have a lot of programming issues to cross with windows or macs.

George P said,
For individuals then sure I agree it's way overpriced but since this is about schools and a big order, as with Macs, I'm sure Apple gives them special, and lower, prices for the iPads in this case. So in the long run I don't think price/cost is the only factor at play.

30,000,000 / 30,000 (30mil & 30k iPads) = 1k per iPad. Not exactly a sweet deal... considering the "best" iPad air is $929 ( http://store.apple.com/us/buy-ipad/ipad-air )

note: "good deal" would depend on additional items (keyboards, covers, additional programming, etc)

wernercd said,

30,000,000 / 30,000 (30mil & 30k iPads) = 1k per iPad. Not exactly a sweet deal... considering the "best" iPad air is $929 ( http://store.apple.com/us/buy-ipad/ipad-air )

note: "good deal" would depend on additional items (keyboards, covers, additional programming, etc)

i would imagine to an extra service agreement/extended warranty (beyond the standard extended warranty) was also a possible factor for pricing.

Me and my gf upgraded our tablets from iPad2s that where getting slow, laggy and freezing a lot on ios7. She got a 64GB iPad air, for the same price I got a Lenovo Miix2 11(inch) i5 with 256GB HDD and 4GB memory.

So yeah, I'd say e iPads are overpriced.

not just coffee shops. all the pilots switched to ipads for the flight manuals and what not. apple rarely gives discounts, and when they do, it's very small. at the previous company i was at, we bought over 2,000 mac mini's. we got a better price with CDW then with apple.

HawkMan said,
Me and my gf upgraded our tablets from iPad2s that where getting slow, laggy and freezing a lot on ios7. She got a 64GB iPad air, for the same price I got a Lenovo Miix2 11(inch) i5 with 256GB HDD and 4GB memory.

So yeah, I'd say e iPads are overpriced.

if someone would be stuck using an OS they hate or dislike, over priceed doesn't come into being a factor though. From her eyes your Lenovo could be over priced. as a side note, curious about battery life on that, how long you getting? (screen on + usage)

Depends on what I do. But with my customized balanced setting with WiFi and such set to highest battery saving along with everything else, and max CPU set down to 50% or so and half +/- brightness, I can get 8 hours at least with regular usage.

HawkMan said,
Depends on what I do. But with my customized balanced setting with WiFi and such set to highest battery saving along with everything else, and max CPU set down to 50% or so and half +/- brightness, I can get 8 hours at least with regular usage.
that is quite unexpected, i didn't think that would even be close! checking one out now.

rippleman said,
If the iPad was 1/2 the price is currently is, maybe it would be the perfect choice. But as is, it's simply just to costly (from my perspective) to be worth it.

What I think is more troubling is the fact that the city is borrowing money for something like this - with cities in the US going bankrupt or on on the verge of going bankrupt one really has to ask whether it is wise to borrow $1billion at this moment to purchase consumables that'll need replacing in minimum of 3 years time.

Well if you consider that they are students that will be using these devices, they must be cheap while functional (my last highschool had a "one laptop per child" plan when netbooks were still a thing). Many devices end up broken the year was over. Even so, each netbook cost only $400 (including the warranty), and a copy of office for students was provided.

and how many were broken through carelessness of the student maybe if the rule was you break it you pay to replace it more of them would have survived past 1 year

That is exactly my point, they were broken through the carelessness of the students. If the device is expected to break, don't opt for an expensive one because it isn't the build quality that is the issue, it is the actions of the student. And yes, the rules was that the parents of the student were responsible for paying for the device. It was not well enforced.