K-12 student management software is messy, there is no other way to describe it. Options are limited and none of them stand out as being well written or well maintained. It is sad really. Very important data is passed over, underutilized, and ignored because of the inability of the software or the software company to see actual needs and respond to them.
What school districts need is software that is lightweight, is easy to understand, simple to maintain, and can be expanded upon if needed. Right now the software that is out there only mixes and matches a couple of those items, not all of them.
There are a lot of resources spent on software, hardware, and yearly fees, and it’s unnecessary when we really dig down and look at the requirements. School districts are simply small cities that have to manage themselves, why can’t software be built around that effectively?
The biggest issue standing in the way of progress when it comes to student/district management software is too many hands seeing cool or new things and wanting them. A lot of school districts are split up into different areas, just like a company, and each of these areas oversees different pieces of information. The problem arises when none of the areas coordinate their software buying and end up with multiple tools that in the end, could have been consolidated with one tool, had there been communication.
We as software developers need to look at this as a real problem and try to fix it. If we can make affordable software for school districts that works, we can help that school district find a more affective way to use the money they saved.