- Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 12:05PM - 1:30PM
- SLB Room 128
- Open To The YLS Community Only
- Add to Calendar:
Spurred by private investment in the education market, elementary and secondary schools are increasingly relying on technology for teaching, learning, assessment, and school operations—often involving the collection and sharing of sensitive data about students, families, and school staff. While there are real benefits to the embrace of technology and data use by K-12 schools, the FBI recently noted it also comes at a cost to digital privacy and security. Other federal and state agencies—including both the IRS and the U.S. Department of Education—have begun to issue related warnings to school district leaders.
Evidence assembled by EdTech Strategies in maintaining the K-12 Cyber Incident Map (https://k12cybersecure.com/map) reveals that school districts and their vendors have not been immune to the same types of data breaches and cybersecurity incidents routinely plaguing even the most technologically advanced and well-resourced corporations and government agencies. In fact, there have been hundreds of publicly-disclosed cybersecurity-related incidents in K-12 schools since 2016 alone, resulting in mass identity theft, the loss of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, and the loss of significant instructional time. Parent, educator, student, taxpayer, and policymaker trust in education technology is increasingly at risk.
Make no mistake: keeping K-12 schools ‘cyber secure’ is a wicked problem – one that is assured to get worse until we take meaningful steps to address it. It also can’t be solved solely by an infusion of money, new technologies, new policies and regulations, or an awareness campaign; all are likely necessary, but how they are implemented and evolve over time will matter most of all.
Douglas A. Levin is president and founder of EdTech Strategies, LLC, a Washington-DC based consulting firm working at the intersection of education, technology, public policy and innovation. Previously, he served as executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association and held leadership positions with the American Institutes for Research and the National Association of State Boards of Education. He holds a B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. in Sociology from the George Washington University.