The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

November 12, 2012

West Virginia earns A- in National Technology Report

CHARLESTON — West Virginia is among only six states to earn top honors in the 2012 Digital States Survey of technology practices of state governments.

The report gave an A to Michigan and Utah, while California, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia each received an A-. Twenty-two states earned B or B minus grades and 18 states received a C or C minus. Florida and Idaho received the lowest grades in this year’s survey, earning Ds.

In awarding grades, reviewers looked at each state’s technology strategy, return on investment, demonstrated progress, innovation and creativity, and collaboration.

West Virginia showed collaboration with the West Virginia Network, higher education and state agencies on a statewide telecom network; school district savings, especially in the rural areas, with statewide contracts for wiring and equipment; efficiency in e-rate mandated filtering of K-12 content by hosting the filtering servers at the state level; a statewide K-12 data system for scheduling, teacher evaluation, payroll and other functions; and a statewide West Virginia Virtual School for quality online courses.

“I’m proud that West Virginia is changing the way teachers teach so students will be ready to lead in a world that knows no boundaries,” West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple said. “But technology is ever changing so we must be vigilant in making sure our schools have access to the latest technology and the bandwidth to support it.”

Todd Sander, executive director of e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government, said the survey reveals two different approaches to technology in light of the challenging economic circumstances still plaguing U.S. states.

“In some states, technology is viewed as a way to mitigate and overcome those pressures and in other places, it’s viewed as a cost center and something to be cut back and reduced,” Sander said. “The survey results clearly show that it is possible, even during challenging economic times, for state government to continue to innovate and improve service delivery through the application of information technology.”

According to the report, states receiving As “are trending sharply up. They demonstrated results across all survey categories. Nimble leaders use modernization to implement strategic priorities and operational efficiencies. They show evidence of meaningful collaboration. Performance measures and metrics are widely adopted. Cuts tend to be made strategical.”

West Virginia and the other states were recognized at an awards celebration this month in San Diego. An interactive map of digital states grades is posted at www.govtech.com/policy-management/2012-Digital-States-Survey.html. For more information, contact the Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.

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