Red Queen in LA writes a snappy and irreverent blog.

This post is her best ever, or at least the best I have read.

In it, she decimates the decision by Los Angeles school officials to spend $500 million on iPads–using money from bonds that will be paid off in 25 years–and another $500 million to upgrade the schools for Internet connectivity, plus $38 million for keyboards, plus untold millions for professional development and other unforeseen needs, at a time when teachers are laid off, class sizes are huge, facilities are crumbling, and programs are cut.

This was not a wise decision for many reasons, she argues. For one thing,  “tablets” are no substitute for computers:

We all know this about tablet “computers”:  they are not real “working” machines.  When I proposed buying a tablet for my student the dude behind the counter told me: “Don’t do it.  You’ll have to buy a keyboard, it has way less memory and no ports, a smaller screen and slower speed:  it’s just not what a serious student needs.  By the time you’re done adding on, you’ll have a machine almost as expensive as a real computer with far less functionality”.

Any parent will have received that advice from just about any computer salesman.  And while there are a few serious students out there who no doubt feel otherwise, I think it’s a fairly safe bet that the word on the street is:  tablets are no substitute for a computer; students need computers.

But she is even more outraged that the district leaders pulled a bait and switch, first asking voters for permission to sell 25-year bonds to repair the schools, then using that money to buy tablets with a short lifespan. She writes:

“A fool and his money are soon parted”; common sense dictates a little skepticism be employed in warding off financial chicanery.  There are so many get-rich – excuse me, get-“smart”-quick schemes floating about EdReform/Common Core Land that their sheer volume belies legitimacy.

No one purchases a car with a 30-year loan.  Long-term financial “instruments” are intended for a more “durable” purchase like, say, a house.  Or a school building.  If you purchased your Honda Civic with a house mortgage, you would find yourself paying for that auto to the tune of several times its original worth, a dozen years or longer beyond when it was melted into candlesticks.  How does it make sense that LAUSD stakeholders should be purchasing ephemeral electronic equipment with long-term constructionbonds?  Where’s the common sense in hoodwinking tax-payers with such a scheme that doesn’t even seem legal?  When will the average voter ever agree again to finance any child’s public educational needs when there are only foxes in charge of the hen house?

And more:

Maybe this is all more complicated than it seems.  But since it was we taxpayers who invoked the common sense solution of approving bond money to maintain school facilities sufficiently, we deserve transparency regardingdecisions that reverse course on how this money is spent.  And we deserve legal redress should the caretakers of our money not spend it according to our wishes.

Our children need teachers — more teachers — who can conduct school within classrooms of a manageable, teachable size.  Our children need a village-worth of support staff to enable and assist those teachers to engage their learners.  Our children need to attend school in facilities that are clean, commodious, safe and stimulating.  Diverting funds from rank-bottom pedagogical necessities in favor of frivolous electronics in service of opaque commercial ends, just makes no Common Sense.