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.
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.