Automation can help K-12 cybersecurity–here’s how

Across industries, ransomware and cyberattacks have proliferated in the past year, largely due to the rapid shift to remote work and school. The education sector has been hit particularly hard–the 2020 calendar year saw a record-setting 408 publicly disclosed cybersecurity incidents in the K-12 sector, according to The State of K-12 Cybersecurity: 2020 Year in Review.

The report, put out by the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, found that the attacks affected 377 school districts in 40 states and cost millions of dollars to resolve.

The unfortunate reality is that the problem isn’t going to go away–the threat landscape will continue to expand. And compounding this is the fact that education IT departments are too often underfunded. This is where automation can play a key role.…Read More

Why automation is key to education’s cybersecurity problem

Across industries, ransomware and cyberattacks have proliferated in the past year, largely due to the rapid shift to remote work and school. The education sector has been hit particularly hard–the 2020 calendar year saw a record-setting 408 publicly disclosed cybersecurity incidents in the K-12 sector, according to The State of K-12 Cybersecurity: 2020 Year in Review.

The report, put out by the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, found that the attacks affected 377 school districts in 40 states and cost millions of dollars to resolve.

The unfortunate reality is that the problem isn’t going to go away–the threat landscape will continue to expand. And compounding this is the fact that education IT departments are too often underfunded. This is where automation can play a key role.…Read More

Arizona Department of Education Announces Partnership with Discovery Education to Bring Flexible Digital Resources to All Students

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) today launched a new partnership with Discovery Education, a worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art K-12 digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. By strategically using federal relief and recovery dollars, teachers and students across the state will soon receive access to Discovery Education’s award-winning K-12 learning platform. As students, teachers, and families prepare to return to in-person learning, the Arizona Department of Education and Discovery Education are committed to meeting students where they are to accelerate learning.

“Digital resources like those provided to teachers and students through our new partnership with Discovery Education have the ability to take students beyond their classroom and introduce them to people, places, and ideas they might not otherwise encounter,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman. “However, in the past, access to transformative, high-quality digital content was not equitable. Our new partnership with Discovery Education brings these resources to classrooms across our state, ensuring every Arizonan student has the opportunity to access a new world of information and ideas from any device.”

Discovery Education’s K-12 platform, Experience, connects educators to a vast collection of compelling high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and professional learning resources. Together these resources give educators a variety of tools to facilitate instruction in any learning environment and create lasting educational impact.…Read More

OverDrive Education Provides Free Resources to Schools Receiving COVID-19 Relief Funds

Toolkit facilitates district decision making to eliminate barriers to reading and increase equity

CLEVELAND – May 14, 2021 – The federal government has approved billions of dollars of relief funds for schools, but some educators are unclear where the funds originate and how they should be used. Today, OverDrive Education announced a new effort to guide school districts through the process of understanding and using Education Stabilization Funds (ESF). Interested schools can access the full collection of resources in the K-12 Funding Champion Toolkit.

Since March 2020, the U.S. Department of Education has allocated nearly $193 billion in K-12 COVID-19 relief funding to states. The government funds, also known by legislative acronyms CARES, CRRSA, ARP and ESSER, can be used in a variety of ways ranging from improving ventilation, expanding after-school programs and purchasing digital resources like ebooks and audiobooks.…Read More

CASEL Releases Recommendations for SEL Investments with American Rescue Plan (ARP) Dollars

CHICAGO, IL – The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 represents a $123 billion infusion in K-12 education, including support for social and emotional learning (SEL). To assist leaders and policymakers in this opportunity, CASEL has released a new policy brief, The Three Highest Priority Investments to Make in SEL with American Rescue Plan Dollars. Originally developed for the Recovery to Reinvention series led by PIE Network and Bellwether Education Partners, the brief includes specific guidance for district leaders, local policymakers, and state policymakers.

Decades of research have demonstrated the effectiveness of SEL for supporting students’ academics, behaviors, mental health, and long-term success. The ARP’s historic levels of K-12 dollars offer a critical opportunity to invest a long-term foundation for evidence-based, systemic implementation of SEL that fully supports students and schools through the pandemic and beyond. Investments in SEL align to the ARP expenditure guidelines, and policymakers can help optimize resources by ensuring investments are evidence-based, sustainable, and responsive to the needs of all students, including those in historically marginalized communities. 

There are three key areas where investments of ARP dollars could most effectively bolster systemic implementation of SEL: …Read More

7 ways to focus stimulus spending on students with disabilities

Schools and districts are poised to receive an influx of federal dollars that should support students with disabilities and make equity a priority, ensuring that outdated and ineffective special education systems are updated and held to high-quality standards, according to a new report from the Center for Learner Equity.

Students with disabilities and those with special needs are some of the worst-hit during the pandemic, with virtual learning preventing students from accessing vital in-school therapies and programs.

In March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, which invests $130 billion into education–including $3 billion for IDEA–and gives schools and districts access to funds to directly meet student needs, including students with disabilities and those impacted by socio-economic constraints.…Read More

Here’s what you need to know about Betsy DeVos, likely Education Secretary

With his nomination of billionaire Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education, President-elect Donald Trump seems to be making good on his campaign promise to promote school choice.

Trump has proposed a $20 million fund to support school choice for students, namely through charters and vouchers. DeVos, who has no professional experience working in schools, is a vocal proponent of school choice and vouchers. Currently, she chairs the American Federation for Children, which promotes school vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs.

[Read the higher education version of this story here.]…Read More