The Public Education Information Technology Market in 2021
Arguably, the state and local government function that has seen the most change in the last year is public education. Almost all schools have resorted to e-learning, and with roughly 11% of families living in poverty in America, there has been a frenzy to equip students with the tools needed to learn in the remote learning environment.
While there was a significant drop in the number of public education technology solicitations in 2020 when compared to 2019, all indications are that the public education technology market has recovered. Between January 1st 2020 - February 28th 2020 CJIS GROUP tracked 812 technology related solicitations by public school systems with a population over 50,000 residents. From January 1st 2021 – February 25th 2021 CJIS GROUP has tracked 758 technology related solicitations. This only reflects a decrease of 7% year over year.
CJIS GROUP can point towards two factors keep public education buying. The first is the passing of the CARES Act. The CARES Act provides $13B to support local school districts. This money was used for:
- cleaning and sanitizing schools,
- purchasing educational technology such as laptops and hotspot devices,
- training educators to use online learning tools,
- ensuring access to education for students with disabilities, and
- providing students emergency funding for food, housing, and other basic essentials.
Continued purchasing by public schools is also fueled by the ERate program. The ERate program underwrites the purchase of telecommunications infrastructure and services making them more affordable for schools and libraries. With funding from the Universal Service Fund (fcc.gov/general/universal-service-fund), E-Rate provides discounts for telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries. ERATE operates on a fixed 5 year budget cycle, so funding for this program wasn’t impacted last year.