The new National Education Technology Plan released Jan. 7 might finally drive widespread use of an education standard conceived nearly six years ago to transfer student data seamlessly from one software program to another, regardless of platform or manufacturer.

SIF, which stands for the Schools Interoperability Framework, was developed to eliminate the need for school personnel to enter information about the same students over and over again for each administrative software package a district uses--a need that arises when software programs cannot communicate with each other or share information.

Separate programs that manage


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