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National K-12 Survey: Cybersecurity Is Top Priority for School Technology Leaders

Security concept: Red Shield With Keyhole on digital background

CoSN today released the organization’s long-standing K-12 IT Leadership Survey Report.

According to this year’s findings, cybersecurity is the number one priority for school system technology administrators, and the top challenges facing IT leaders are lack of budget resources, the need for more professional development and removing department silos within their districts. There is also overwhelming consensus among technology leaders that closing the “Homework Gap” is a concern. 

The report was conducted through the support of the Ed-Fi Alliance and in partnership with Forecast5 Analytics and MDR. CoSN issued the new findings at the start of the organization’s 2019 Annual Conference, April 1-4 in Portland, OR. 

The top 10 key findings from the report follow:

  1. Cybersecurity is the top priority for IT leaders today.
  2. The top three challenges faced by IT leaders for the past three years have remained the same: Budget, Professional Development and Breaking Down Department Silos.
  3. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies are declining in popularity. They are used by only 16 percent of school districts — likely as a result of lower cost devices being introduced to the market.
  4. Virtually all IT leaders (95 percent) agree that addressing the Homework Gap is a concern for their district. This is a significant change. Last year, 30 percent of leaders indicated digital equity was not an important issue for their district.
  5. Print is not dead. Past predictions have been overly optimistic. For 67 percent of districts, print still comprises at least half of their instructional materials.
  6. There is some progress on all areas of interoperability, but only Single Sign-On (SSO) has been fully implemented in more than a quarter of school systems.
  7. This survey identifies a number of ways in which IT leaders are looking to be more relevant to teachers and learning, with 75 percent of IT leaders saying it is important to be more responsive to educator IT needs in the classroom.
  8. The largest percentage of IT leaders continue to have education backgrounds (40 percent), followed by those with technical backgrounds (35 percent), a growing number from business/management backgrounds (20 percent) and other fields accounting for 3 percent of respondents. 
  9. Lack of ethnic and racial diversity in school district IT leadership remains a serious problem in most school systems with no progress since last year. 
  10. The percentage of women in school district IT leadership roles has declined in recent years, with 28 percent in leadership roles this year compared to 36 percent in 2016.