About 17,000 US public school districts with 95,000 schools provide primary and secondary education for 50 million students, and have a combined annual budget of $350 billion. School districts vary greatly in size. The 100 largest school districts serve nearly 25 percent of all students; 90 percent of US school children attend public schools, while 10 percent attend private schools.
Demand is driven by population demographics. The success of individual schools depends on funding, the ability to attract effective teachers, and student performance; parental support can be a contributing factor. Schools in affluent communities may receive more local funding support and may be able to offer a wider range of instruction.
The Higher Ed vertical is comprised of public and private educational organizations. In the U.S. there are 4,314 institutions of higher education; 61% are private colleges or universities and 39% are public institutions.
Public and private colleges and universities incorporate key authority structures, including a governing board, a president or chancellor, a group of administrative leaders, and an academic senate. The organizational structure of colleges and universities is an important guide to institutional activity, but not the only one. It is a combination of organizational structure and process that shapes college and university behavior. One cannot discount the influence of legislators, lobbyists, gubernatorial staff, news media representatives, business executives, students, parents and Alumni. *
In addition to organizational structure, process is a key element when working with higher education and something to be defined up front. Procurement rules vary by institution. A key player is the Chief Procurement Officer, who can provide definition, guidance and often prove an important ally. This is the most critical component and a best practice would be to engage this person early in any process.
Technology is changing the way faculty teach and students learn. As technological advances are introduced into the institution, campuses are more and more attracted by the promise and potential of technology for enhancing access and learning.
At last count, it was determined that if Facebook was a country, it would be the fifth largest. There is a renewed emphasis on collaborative learning, and it is pushing the educational community to develop new forms of interaction and assessment. Higher education must find ways to leverage learning within the boundaries of students’ engagement with social networking.
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