EdWeek Market Brief Minute: What K-12 Leaders Want From Ed-Tech Vendors

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District administrators voice their frustrations over companies not living up to expectations—or simply not listening—in on-camera interviews with EdWeek Market Brief.

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Education companies are always eager to land new business in K-12 districts. But when it comes time to make their pitches—on the phone, via e-mail, or in person—many of those vendors fail to hit the mark.

In some cases, vendors haven’t done their homework on the district and its specific budgetary limitations or academic goals.

In other cases, the company can’t offer the kinds of assurances a district administrator needs to hear—that continued tech support is coming, or that professional development will be available as long as it’s needed.

And sometimes, a K-12 company’s sales rep is so convinced in the beauty of the vendor’s product that they aren’t listening closely to what the district is asking for.

I recently spoke with a number of K-12 administrators about their frustrations in dealing with education businesses. The administrators were attending the iNACOL winter symposium, a major ed-tech gathering held late last year in San Antonio, Texas and one of the many conferences where vendors scramble to impress district officials.

The administrators offered plenty of advice.

They want companies who treat them as partners, not just sources of revenue. They want to know that vendors understand their district’s needs and are tailoring products to those needs—not someone else’s. At the same time, they don’t want vendors to over-promise things they won’t deliver.

For a fuller breakdown of district priorities see our continued coverage in EdWeek Market Brief, which offers in-depth reporting, exclusive data and Q-and-As on K-12 needs.

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