Press Releases

  • School superintendents tell marketers to cool it during COVID-19

    Seattle, WA, May 27, 2019 – COVID-19 has unleashed a tsunami of work for school superintendents as they distribute food to students, implement distance learning, and prepare for a different fall school environment. What’s not helping, they say, is a flood of sales calls from technology vendors offering to help.

    The National Superintendents Roundtable surveyed its 97 members after one of them took to Twitter to tell marketers to “just stop.” Sixty-seven responded and their answers reveal a deep vein of irritation with marketing campaigns aimed at schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “What superintendents want most is to be left alone in the middle of this crisis,” says James Harvey, executive director of the Roundtable. “They worry that unvalidated products are being marketed to parents and teachers that distract from the district’s mission.”

    Other findings:

    • Just 46 percent of superintendents reported they are the right person to be contacted about technology needs.
    • Only 20 percent of interactions with vendors have been positive since the COVID-19 outbreak, while 32 percent have been negative.
    • 48 percent worry about vendors marketing unvalidated products to teachers and parents.

    Three quarters of superintendents view the possibility of adopting and buying free products and services downstream with a skeptical eye. Districts need to review them, and superintendents expect budgets to tighten.

    What superintendents need most from technology vendors

    For now, superintendents want to be left alone (46 percent) or they want to vet free products and services before purchase (57 percent). Just 15 percent express interest in free products and services.

    “We will find you if and when we need you,” was a common refrain.

    Professional Development is the solution superintendents seek most now from ed-tech firms, followed by Supplemental Curriculum, Technology Hardware and Basal Curriculum (books that teach reading).

    Acknowledging that technology companies have made great contributions to American education and that superintendents report good relationships with many vendors, Harvey suggests that technology companies step lightly in the current environment. “Explore what schools need without pushing products off the shelf to the front office,” he says. “Such an approach is likely to serve vendors well in the long run.”

    To read full survey results visit

    About the Roundtable

    The National Superintendents Roundtable ( is a community of school superintendents committed to “leadership for just and humane schools.”

    Rhenda Meiser                                                                    
    (206) 465-9532,

  • Study finds most students in most nations cannot clear the bar set by Common Core or NAEP benchmarks

    Washington, DC, January 17, 2018 – A detailed report released today concludes that the vast majority of students in most countries cannot demonstrate proficiency as defined by one of America’s most common educational tests. The authors of the analysis suggest the U.S. has established benchmarks that are neither useful nor credible.

    In their report How High the Bar?, the National Superintendents Roundtable and Horace Mann League linked the performance of foreign students on international tests of reading, mathematics, and science to the proficiency benchmarks of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the United States’ longest continuing assessment of students. They also examined major assessments related to the Common Core.

    The report notes that very few students in most nations would clear the NAEP proficiency bar the U.S. has set for itself in reading, math, and science:

    • In no nation do a majority of students meet the NAEP Proficient benchmark in Grade 4 reading.
    • Just three nations have 50 percent or more of their students meeting the Proficient benchmark in Grade 8 math (Singapore, Republic of Korea, and Japan).
    • Only one nation has 50 percent or more of its students meeting the Proficient benchmark in Grade 8 science (Singapore).

    “Many criticize public schools because only about one third of our students are deemed to be ‘proficient’ on NAEP assessments,” says Dr. James Harvey, executive director of the National Superintendents Roundtable. “But even in Singapore—always highly successful on international assessments—just 39 percent of fourth-graders clear NAEP’s proficiency benchmark.” Full Press Release

  • New study finds U.S. has the world’s most educated workforce—but students face unparalleled levels of poverty, inequity and violence

    Washington, DC. January 20, 2016– A new study released today challenges the practice of ranking nations by educational test scores and questions conventional wisdom that the U.S.educational system has fallen badly behind school systems abroad.

    In their report, School Performance in Context: The Iceberg Effect, the Horace Mann League (HML) and the National Superintendents Roundtable examined six dimensions related to student performance—equity, social stress, support for families, support for schools, student outcomes, and system outcomes—in the G-7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) plus Finland and China. They then examined 24 “indicators” within those dimensions.

    Of the nine nations, the United States remains the wealthiest with the most highly educated workforce, based on the number of years of school completed, and the proportion of adults with high school diplomas and bachelor’s degrees. Full Press Release

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