Annual survey outlines broadband, instructional materials, student data privacy as top among school IT leaders’ concerns

Broadband and network capacity is school technology leaders’ top priority, according to the results of an annual IT leadership survey from CoSN.

The fourth annual K-12 IT Leadership Survey Report, released during CoSN’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., also revealed that school IT leaders are spending more time and devoting more resources to student data privacy and security. The survey collected responses from 526 ed-tech leaders, most in public school environments.

“There is innovative change happening in our schools. But with this digital transformation is a new frontier of challenges confronting IT administrators,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN, in a press release. “The education community should know what is top of mind for school IT leaders so we can better support their leadership capacity and advance learning outcomes empowered through technology.”

Major IT findings emerged from the survey and are outlined in the report:

1. Broadband and network capacity is the top priority for IT leaders. It replacing assessment readiness (which for the first time failed to make the top three).
2. Privacy and security of student data is an increasing concern for IT leaders. About two-thirds said privacy and security are more important than they were last year.
3. Districts are turning to digital learning materials. Nearly 90 percent of respondents expect their instructional materials to be at least 50 percent digital within the next three years.
4. Ninety-nine percent expect to incorporate digital Open Educational Resources (OER) over the next three years, with 45 percent expecting their digital content to be at least 50 percent OER within that timeframe.
5. Nearly 80 percent of IT leaders use online productivity tools – the largest use of cloud-based solutions in education.

Next page: Salary info, demographics, and challenges

6. District bans on student devices are shrinking – only 11 percent have banning policies.
7. The path to IT leadership differs for women and men. While 36 percent of respondents were women (compared to 27 percent in IT positions in schools and districts nationally), the vast majority of women come from educational / instructional backgrounds (72 percent). The majority of men (54 percent) come from technology / technical backgrounds.
8. Racial diversity in IT leadership is lacking. Ninety-percent of school IT leaders are white.
9. IT leaders have advanced education, with 75 percent earning some college beyond their bachelor’s degree.
10. Demographics are changing. More than one-third of IT leaders plan to retire in the next six years, but many respondents said they would not retire for more than 10 years.

Respondents cited major challenges including budget constraints and lack of resources; the existence of silos that hamper collaboration; and lack of vision and support from senior district leadership. When it came to salary, most respondents said they make less than $100,000 per year; virtually none make more than $160,000.

“Clearly IT leaders are embracing online solutions, yet budget and resource constraints are still very real in many schools. There is an opportunity for district technology leaders to leverage their peer network to address these priorities and harness proven creative solutions,” said Krueger.

The 2016 K-12 IT Leadership Survey was conducted in partnership with MDR and sponsored by SchoolDude.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Sign up for our K-12 newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Laura Ascione

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at

eSchool News uses cookies to improve your experience. Visit our Privacy Policy for more information.