Your Turn: Help shape tech policy

Senior school executives attending the Superintendents’ Technology Summit in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., last May participated in a consensus-building process that revealed a “Sense of the Summit” on three key tech issues–virtual schooling, privacy v. security, and ASPs (Application Service Providers). The results are reported below.

Now, the editors of eSchool News want to add your voice to the chorus. Weigh in on the same issues the superintendents grappled with. Just visit and look for the National K-12 Advisories box. Click it, and answer the same questions the summiteers did.

At the Summit, top school leaders received briefings from experts on each of the three chosen topics. Then, superintendent moderators worked with their colleagues to define key questions that would influence how policy makers and educators should approach these issues in schools. Later, in a general session, summit attendees voted on each question via electronic polling devices to arrive at a consensus on the issues.

Their responses, which are printed below, have been posted on the eSchool News web site ( for you to add your own perspective by voting online. The result will be an organic set of statements that reflect the positions of school leaders from all levels of K-12 management.

eSchool News will disseminate the statements resulting from your positions and those of Ft. Lauderdale summit attendees to government officials and fellow school leaders from coast to coast. By registering your opinions on our web site, you’ll forge a set of policy guidelines to help shape the thinking of legislators and K-12 administrators in regard to these issues.

eSchool News, in cooperation with the Association of California School Administrators, will be holding another edition of the Superintendents’ Technology Summit at the Westin Mission Hills Resort in Palm Springs, Calif., October 21 – 23, 2001. The Palm Springs summit will include the development of new “National K-12 Advisories” on (1) How CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) will affect the learning environment, (2) How virtual schooling will affect education, and (3) How technology can combat the effects of the teacher shortage.

To express your opinion, visit

Here’s how the Ft. Lauderdale Summiteers answered

Virtual schooling

Position statement: The evolution of virtual schools needs a clear understanding of who is responsible for student learning as it relates to local, state, and federal guidelines, standards, and accountability.

Who should assure quality of curriculum in virtual schools?

Virtual school: 18%
Local school district: 52%
State government: 27%
Federal government: 3%

Who should own the intellectual property rights for virtual school curricula?

Virtual school: 39%
Local school district: 50%
State government: 7%
Federal government: 4%

Virtual schools should be required to have curriculum aligned to state and local standards where the students reside.

(Strongly disagree) 5%
(Strongly agree) 52%

National standards should be developed for virtual schools.

(Strongly disagree) 15%
(Strongly agree) 24%

Funding for virtual schools should stay at the local level.

(Strongly disagree) 17%
(Strongly agree) 15%

Certification of teachers should be approved by the virtual school.

(Strongly disagree) 59%
(Strongly agree) 7%

There should be a federal role in who owns and markets virtual schools to avoid overcommercialization.

(Strongly disagree) 49%
(Strongly agree) 15%

Virtual schools should be required to provide community involvement in curriculum.

(Strongly disagree) 19%
(Strongly agree) 23%

Who should set standards for liability of home schoolers in virtual school programs?

Local school district: 37%
State government: 63%

Should credit be issued through the local district or the virtual school?

Local district: 63%
Virtual school: 37%

Privacy vs. security

When we err, and we often do, do we wish to err on the security or privacy end of the spectrum?

Security: 59%
Privacy: 41%

Are parents’ views on issues of privacy vs. security different than their children’s (students’) views? If so, which views should prevail?

No difference: 6%
Parents’ views should prevail: 88%
Students’ views should prevail: 6%

Should schools routinely track all student web use?

Yes: 57%
No: 43%

Are security technologies in schools tantamount to airport security measures?

Yes: 22%
No: 78%

How long should the electronic images from surveillance cameras be stored by school districts?

Should not be kept (real time images only):
One day: 8%
One week: 22%
One month: 32% More than one month: 34%

Are biometric and/or facial recognition technologies appropriate in schools?

Yes: 57%
No: 43%

Should each state compile a policy guidebook that explains what schools need to do to comply with their privacy and open-records laws?

Yes: 96%
No: 4%

Will state open-records laws encourage school systems to veer more toward the privacy end of the privacy-security spectrum, thus hampering security efforts?

Yes: 73%
No: 27%

ASPs (Application Service Providers)

In choosing whether to use an ASP, what are the most important factors to consider?

Cost analysis: 5.36 (out of six)
Measurements of effectiveness: 4.95
Mission-criticality of data: 4.46
Return on investment: 3.11
Researching ASPs: 2.39
Coordination of systems among state, district, community: 1.78
Stakeholder buy-in: 1.57
Size of project: 1.54
Choice of systems among state, district, community: 1.09
Length of relationship: 0.75

What are the most significant benefits that ASPs offer?

Automatic software updates: 5.34 (out of six)
Standardization: 4.38
Support: 3.61
Speed of deliverability: 2.91
Lower hardware costs: 2.87
Measurement of usage: 2.16
Compatability: 1.91
Forecasting budgets: 1.73
Manageability of licensing: 1.37
Transference of risk: 0.73

What are the most significant concerns about ASPs?

Privacy of information: 3.75 (out of six)
Loss of control/customization: 3.52
Reliability: 3.46
Data loss/other disasters: 3.28
Viability: 3.20
Bandwidth: 2.77
Ownership of data: 2.76
Integrity of data: 2.27
Clarity of responsibility: 1.26
Immaturity of pricing models: 0.74

eSchool News Staff

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at