Follow the Money: Apple Inc.

Unless you’re completely off the grid, you’ve read about Apple’s most recent releases including updated iPads, their latest operating system for Macs and of course the new iPhone 6 and Apple Pay. As a result of these products that seemingly can’t stay on the shelves, Apple’s earnings, which were released on Tuesday showed a revenue of $42.1 billion.

Clearly, Apple has come a long way from the days when TIME Magazine described Apple in 1997 as “arguably one of the worst-managed companies in the industry.” The Cupertino design team has turned out winner after winner for years. Our phones, cameras, maps, televisions, books, stereos and plane tickets are all the same object now. You can soon add another item to that ever-growing list, and anyone who is opposed to Common Core should take note, because Apple is quickly inserting itself into an area that will affect parents and students for years to come – classroom materials.

How you ask? In 2013, Apple and Common Core developer Pearson teamed up to win an implementation contract that would preload iPads with Pearson’s Common Core curriculum for Los Angeles United School District. The deal represented the bulk of a technology development plan of over $1 billion that would distribute iPads and computers to students and faculty across the LAUSD for the purpose of aligning curriculum to meet Common Core standards.

Giving kids access to technology to learn is obviously a great thing, and the potential with tools like the iPad in classrooms presents tremendous opportunity to improve learning overall. However, with that kind of money exchanging hands in just one city, one has to wonder about the obvious conflict of interest and cronyism inherent in Apple supporting a radical transformation of American education and the implementation of technology-reliant standards in the classroom.

Consider the concept of “Challenge Based Learning”, an initiative developed by Apple to study and promote strategies that “encourages learners to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems.” While the stated goals may be noble, a simple analysis shows a company developing a need that will be served by its very own product.

In fact, former Apple Development Executive and current CEO at The Challenge Institute, Mark Nichols wrote in 2012, “Districts and schools will be tempted to simply align existing content or purchase packages and software ‘aligned’ to the standards without fundamentally re-thinking the process. To …read more    

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