News & Policy
Procurement Campaign

Educators and Providers Nationwide Report Inefficiencies in Technology Purchasing Process

Research from new study, “Improving Ed-Tech Purchasing,” highlights ways to improve education technology procurement

Washington, D.C. | November 13, 2014 – “Improving Ed-Tech Purchasing,” a new report released today, identifies key obstacles, common challenges, and potential solutions for the procurement of K-12 personalized learning tools.

Digital Promise, a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to spur innovation in education, and the Education Industry Association (EIA), a trade association of education companies and entrepreneurs, co-released the report. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Research and Reform in Education surveyed district leaders, educators, and learning technology developers from across the country for this study, with a subset participating in in-depth interviews.

The study finds that, overall, many school districts aren’t clear about their own instructional needs, how to find products in the market that meet their needs, or how to evaluate whether a product is effective. Additionally, the study indicates that many providers have a hard time learning what districts are looking for and how they do business.

“Procurement is key to how schools create teaching and learning environments, how developers decide on features and product improvements, and, ultimately, how innovations with impact are able to spread,” said Digital Promise President and CEO Karen Cator. “We believe these insights will help surface solutions for more productive and efficient purchasing practices.”

Improving Ed-Tech Purchasing,” also suggests potential solutions for more productive and efficient procurement processes. By focusing on the needs of districts and developers, it’s more likely that digital technologies can lead to improved student success, the report concludes.

“One of the few areas of agreement between educators and ed-tech providers is on the problem of discovery – the ability of districts to identify products that will produce results for schools and students,” said Education Industry Association Executive Director Steve Pines. “EIA believes that provider use of objective, third-party evidence of product effectiveness will improve the discovery process and enhance the level of confidence and trust among educators.”

For more information, please visit or

Education Industry Association Contact:
JIm Giovannini
Executive Director, Educator Industry Association

Digital Promise Contact:
Jason Tomassini
Communications Director, Digital Promise

About Digital Promise
Digital Promise is a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to spur innovation in education in order to improve the opportunity to learn for all Americans. Through its work with educators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and leading thinkers, Digital Promise supports a comprehensive agenda to benefit lifelong learning and provide Americans with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global economy.

About Education Industry Association
The Education Industry Association serves as the leading voice for education entrepreneurs, advocating for the interests of businesses in the PreK–12 market and serving as the knowledge center which integrates best practices and research that raise student achievement through innovation and improvement strategies. Founded in 1990, EIA is the nation’s leading trade association, representing more than 300 rapidly growing and diverse organizations serving families, communities and schools. For more information, please visit


EMO/CMO Fact Sheet

Charter schools, managed by CMOs and EMOs , provide an important alternative to students across America and demonstrate everyday that students of all socio-economic strata make real and sustained academic  achievement, graduate from high school and attend college. That is why the percentage of students attending a charter schools rise steadily each year, despite enrollment caps in many States.  Click here for fact sheet.

Procurement Best Practices

Key Take-Aways on Procurement from 2014 Education Industry Days Summit

Procurement, a seemingly bureaucratic system, is at the heart of all business conducted  between districts and the supplier community. It involves lead generation, discovery, pilots, data, relationship cultivation, marketing and sales, RFPs, contracting and implementation. And both buyers and sellers have huge stakes in making procurement a more efficient process.

We continue to learn much from conversations with school district officials and the vendor community including from the several sessions at the recent Education Industry Day Summit in Washington, DC. Here are a few of the best practices from the Summit:

  • Conduct research about your target districts by reading local newspapers and setting "Google Alerts" to notify you about critical news about the districts. Be informed about their pain points and developments  related to Common Core State Standards. Frame your solution in the context of the districts, their school improvement plans and migration to personalized learning.
  • When positioning your product, think about framing it as part of an overall instructional strategy that includes PD during implementation. The key concept is helping districts achieve "coherence" and avoiding fragmentation.
  • With regards to Common Core State Standards, which continue to be the top priority for districts, it is important that vendors state that their solution was written for CCSS; it is not sufficient to say you are aligned to CCSS.
  • Sell top-down and bottom-up. Teachers, more than ever-before, are buyers in addition to influencers of purchasing decisions.
  • Get to know the procurement officials as they are typically most risk-adverse.
  • Data on effectiveness, especially from third-party research and from superintendent referrals is key to breaking through the "noise" of vendors clamoring for the ear of district buyers.
  • Follow all of the rules for completing RFPs, no matter how minor the requirement--short cuts risk rejection of your proposal.
  • Obtaining referrals from one district to another is key, especially when selling to districts with similar characteristics. If you are new to market, obtain "beta testimonials" from your pilot sites.
  • And speaking of pilots, avoid free pilots as districts do not have any skin in the game. Consider discounted fees or pilots with deferred payment terms.
  • Beware of tying your fate to CCSS, since in the near-term, student proficiency results will likely decline (unrelated to the quality of your product/service).  Manage expectations.


High-Profile Marketing to Superintendents

Joining the School Solutions Center of the AASA, is a significant brand-building promotional opportunity for education companies. In partnership with the AASA-The School Superintendents Association, EIA is making available a special marketing opportunity to its members who wish to promote their service or product to public school buyers. It costs only $12,000 a year.

To listen to a recent conference call held with AASA officials discussing the opportunities of marketing through the SSC, click here. 

If you are interested in this program with AASA, please contact Jim Giovannini at

Kaplan CEO Andrew Rosen Honored by Education Industry Association
The Education Industry Association (EIA) has honored Kaplan, Inc. Chairman and CEO Andrew Rosen with its 2014 “Friend of the Education Industry” Award.

“Kaplan was founded by Stanley Kaplan over 75 years ago, literally in the basement of his parents’ home and is today as entrepreneurial and innovative as it was then,” said Michael R. Sandler, founder of Education Industry Group and a senior advisor to The Parthenon Group, who has sponsored and presented the annual Friend award since its inception 10 years ago.  “Andy Rosen’s drive, vision and passion for student outcomes have a lot to do with not only his company’s success, but also with the development and growth of the education industry in general.”

“I am honored to receive this award from EIA and accept it on behalf of the company where I have spent the last 22 years of my career.  In all of the roles I have had at Kaplan, the success of our students has always been primary. From its start, Kaplan has been dedicated to achieving positive and measurable student outcomes and that passion has translated into a host of innovations in terms of course design, instructional delivery and assessments which we believe have helped raise the bar in education.”

The EIA Friend of the Education Industry Award is the Association’s highest and most prestigious honor.  It is presented annually to an individual who, and/or an organization which, fosters and demonstrates vision, entrepreneurship, a dedication to quality, and the spirit of public-private partnership in advancing education reform.  Previous recipients have included David Andrews, Dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education; Jeanne Allen, Founder and President, Center for Education Reform; Toru Kumon, founder of Kumon Math & Reading Centers; and Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education. 

Andrew Rosen has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kaplan, Inc. since 2008, but has helped pioneer much of the company’s innovation and growth since joining the company in 1992.  Among his many contributions are the founding of Concord Law School, the first fully online law school in the U.S.; the development of Kaplan University which now serves more than 46,000 online and ground campus students; and the creation of new blended online and classroom-based learning opportunities, which have been adapted for both working adults studying for college degrees and for students and professionals preparing for entrance and career certification exams.

Rosen is the author of Rebooting for the New Talent Economy, which details the history of innovation in American higher education and lays out a prescription for restoring its pre-eminence by focusing anew on the goals of learning outcomes, access, affordability, and accountability. 

A resident of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Rosen is actively involved in a number of regional business and civic organizations. He currently serves on the boards of Enterprise Florida, Pine Crest School, the Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale, the Broward Workshop, and the Council for Educational Change.  He is also a member of the CEO Council of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance (Broward County).   He has a law degree from Yale and A.B. degree from Duke University.  

About Kaplan, Inc.

Kaplan, Inc. is a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools, and businesses. Kaplan serves students of all ages through a wide array of offerings including higher education, test preparation, professional training, and programs for kids in grades K through 12. Kaplan also operates an active venture capital fund, which invests in and supports early-stage education companies.  Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC) and its largest division. For more information, please visit

About the Education Industry Association

EIA is the leading voice for education entrepreneurs, advocating for the interests of businesses in the PreK – 12 market and serving as the knowledge center which integrates best practices and research that raise student achievement through innovation and improvement strategies. 

Founded in 1990, EIA is the leading trade association for private providers of education services, suppliers, and other private organizations in all sectors of education.  

For more information call EIA Executive Director Jim Giovannini at 703-938-2429 or visit
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