School networks are getting faster and more modern, but school IT leaders and IT departments struggle to keep up with the demand for remote access and support, according to an annual CoSN survey.
The State of EdTech District Leadership 2022 survey provides a high-level sense of what school district leaders think of the state of technology in education. The 2022 K-12 IT Leadership Survey is CoSN’s ninth annual survey and was made possible by the Ed-Fi Alliance and CDW-G, conducted in partnership with MCH Data, K12 Insight and AASA.
“There are no lack of challenges facing our nation’s schools today, but the annual CoSN IT survey also shines a light on several areas where we can be encouraged; increased connectivity, more devices, increased awareness of security and the outsized impact that IT leaders are having on their school districts’ planning processes,” said Troy Wheeler, president of the Ed-Fi Alliance.
“We’ve made strides in all these areas, and especially in the increase in awareness and action around data interoperability. When there is a district-wide data strategy, instructional leaders and IT leaders alike can accurately see trends over time and can better support educators and students with their own data. We’ll continue to support these efforts with our partners at CoSN.”
Key findings from the report include:
1. Though cybersecurity is the number one priority for IT leaders, risks are underestimated. For example, only 8% consider their district to be at high risk for a ransomware attack. Yet we know districts are a prime target for cyber criminals, according to CISA.
2. With 84% of districts implementing 1:1 strategies with school-owned devices, BYOD initiatives have largely been abandoned. And 1:1 strategies are happening at all grade levels, including at the elementary level.
3. Providing support for home access strains the resources of school district IT departments. More than half of districts are understaffed in their ability to provide remote support to students and families.
4. School networks are modernizing – only 19% report the relatively slow speeds of 100Mbps or less. Eight in ten report taking steps to advance data interoperability in their district, however, most are still in the early phases. SSO (Single Sign-On) is the most implemented interoperability initiative with 80% of districts having fully or partially implemented it.
5. There is a considerable salary gap between those working in towns/rural districts and those working suburban/urban districts for current IT district leadership.
6. Over the next 5 years 31% of current IT leaders plan to retire, including 12% who said they are retiring earlier because of the pandemic. This will be a major challenge for school systems everywhere.
7. IT leaders are still overwhelmingly white (85%) and predominately male (64%).