For the first time, administrators nationwide can access and compare state education and technology policies in one place. The State Education Policy Center (SEPC) is a unique database that provides up-to-date information on state education and technology policies and practices to inform school reform and improvement efforts. The database launched in October, and was curated by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), a national member association of educational technology leaders.
“Some administrators don’t know what their policies are at the state level, or might say, ‘I wish we had a state policy, who else has one?’ ” says Geoffrey Fletcher, deputy executive director of SETDA. “They can then find more information about state networks.” For example, he adds, one administrator in Kansas realized that the state lacked formal policies on digital content. With the database, she found 22 states with policies, and the people involved in their creation for her to contact and ask for advice. In addition to background information on each state, the policy center focuses on three topics, with plans to expand to other technology-related areas in the future:
1. K12 broadband policy and practice, which includes state networks and policies, funding, and future plans;
2. Online student assessment, which includes various requirements, like the grades and subjects tested in each state, and funding information;
3. Instructional material policy and practice, which is the most complex topic and includes definitions and guidelines, formal adoption processes, exemplary practices and library/media services.
School administrators, along with state, federal and local policymakers, researchers, and private sector investors, can navigate the SEPC by state or topic, and read policies and contact those involved to provide a foundation for their own state legislators when creating new policies. For example, a technology director can see how other states position their state network, and if it could be applied in their state or district. A curriculum coordinator might look for other states’ approaches to vetting online content in the instructional materials section. School leaders involved in state organizations for technology, curriculum or assessment could get ideas for their state to pursue, especially from the exemplary practices section, which will spotlight districts that have implemented innovative policies, Fletcher says. The SEPC is free to access, and open to the public.
To view the database, go to sepc.setda.org.