Most educators have a national association that advocates for the educational, work, and political interests related to their particular role in schools. For example,
- teachers have NEA and AFT,
- counselors have ASCA,
- elementary principals have NAESP,
- secondary principals have NASSP,
- school business officials have ASBO,
- superintendents have AASA, and
- school board members have NSBA.
Similarly, there are national organizations for state ed tech directors, chief state school officers, state boards of education, public relations officers, school personnel administrators, and so on.
Who advocates for technology coordinators? CoSN has about 500 school district / state / intermediate unit institutional members and another 2,000 or so individual members. However, although CoSN has a wealth of resources that are applicable to smaller settings, it self-admittedly focuses primarily on the concerns of districts large enough to have a CTO or CIO. ISTE sponsors a technology coordinator special interest group (SIGTC) that has about 3,500 members. NSBA sponsors the Technology Leadership Network (TLN), which represents almost 400 school districts. As a point of reference, there are over 14,000 school districts and about 90,000 public schools in this country. Obviously not all of the technology coordinators who work in these organizations are members of CoSN, ISTE, or NSBA.
While CoSN, ISTE SIGTC, and NSBA TLN all do good work, none of them can be said to represent the interests of the profession on a wide scale and/or in large numbers. I believe that this fractured organizational landscape reduces the efficacy of advocacy efforts for those individuals who are primarily responsible for supporting information technology in their districts and/or schools.
Some states and/or regions have organizations that facilitate meetings of, information sharing between, and advocacy for technology coordinators (see, e.g., the MEMO Tech SID and WKATC). We need to find a way to scale this up to a national level – somehow combining and building upon the efforts of CoSN, ISTE, and NSBA while simultaneously recognizing the need for a larger, nationwide organization. Policy, political, and workplace advocacy all stem from strength in numbers.
It’s easy to miss, but there is such an organization:
The EdTech Action Network
ETAN provides a forum for educators and others to engage in the political process and project a unified voice in support of a common cause – improving teaching and learning through the systemic use of technology. ETAN’s mission is to influence public policy-makers at the federal, state and local levels and to increase public investment in the competitiveness of America’s classrooms and students.
Hi Thor, I’m familiar with ETAN, which does fabulous work. I guess I was thinking about an organization that represents the technology coordinator role rather than technology in education generally. Organizations like NEA and NASSP (and their local affiliates) engage in local and national advocacy for both positional concerns and educational concerns more generally…