Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 15
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS > Tracking news and ideas in educational technology
Schools Seek to Build
related education efforts.
The idea is that both the public and
private sectors need more people capable of designing, building, operating,
and securing the information-technology systems that are now essential
to the functioning of everything from
small businesses to public utilities to
the United States' national-security
infrastructure. That requires a strong
grounding in advanced mathematics
and computer science, as well as specialized skills in fields as diverse as
cryptography, software development,
and network engineering.
But there are challenges.
Creating curricula and programs
that can keep up with rapidly changing technologies isn't easy. Neither is
squeezing another new obligation into
schools' already-strained budgets and
schedules. Efforts to stitch together
the patchwork of existing cybersecurity-education efforts remain a work
"Cybersecurity is at the center of
a lot of discussions right now, but we
still have a lot of work to do," said Stephen Parker, the legislative director
for education and workforce issues at
the National Governors Association,
which has made the issue a top priority this year.
the gap by recommending new publicprivate partnerships-both to better
secure the country's informationtechnology infrastructure and to train
150,000 new cybersecurity workers.
At all levels of government, related
programmatic efforts have similarly attempted to straddle multiple
In Washington, there are cybersecurity education and workforcetraining initiatives supported by
the departments of Education, Energy, Homeland Security, and Labor;
the federal Office of Personnel Management; the National Security
Agency; and the National Science
Foundation, with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education
(NICE) at the National Institute for
Standards and Technology in the
Douglas Collier for Education Week
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
There's also an ongoing debate
about whether cybersecurity education should prioritize nationalsecurity or workforce-development
In January, the White House appeared headed in the former direction. President Donald Trump
seemed poised to sign an executive
order that included a provision directing the U.S. secretaries of the
departments of Defense and Homeland Security to review the country's
cybersecurity education efforts and
make recommendations for improvement, according to a draft published
by The Washington Post. Trump put
the order on hold, however.
Secretary of Homeland Security
John Kelly later told Congress the
order had undergone significant revision. A later draft published by the
Lawfare blog eliminated altogether
the provision related to education and
The resulting uncertainty is generating anxiety. Privacy advocates
worry that civil liberties might suffer
if national security agencies are put
in charge of the country's cybersecurity education. Groups focused on
private-sector-industry needs describe
the country's shortage of skilled cybersecurity workers as a crisis that
demands federal attention.
Such tensions have ebbed and
flowed for years.
In December, a national cybersecurity commission established by President Barack Obama sought to bridge
FROM TOP: Sophomore Jaylon
Lucas, left, and freshman
Joseph Williams assemble
a Boe-Bot robot while
attending a cyber literacy
class at Plain Dealing High
School in Louisiana.
A Boe-Bot is in the final stages
of assembly. The robotic
kits are used to help teach
students programming and
engineering skills needed
for cybersecurity jobs.
federal Department of Commerce
playing a coordinating role.
At the state level, leaders such as
John Hickenlooper, the Democratic
governor of Colorado, and Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan, have also pushed forward their
own cybersecurity initiatives. Numerous states now have cybersecurity-focused career-and-technical programs,
as well as dual-enrollment programs
that allow high school students to
earn college credits by taking cybersecurity coursework at area colleges.
And under the leadership of
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a
Democrat, the National Governors
Association last July launched a cybersecurity initiative dubbed "Meet
the Threat." The effort brings together
educators and employers. One early
outcome of their discussions: a shared
desire to introduce computer-science
education to young children, through
coding games and competitions.
Such opportunities in the K-12
arena are only going to grow, said Bert
Steele, a consultant with the nonprofit
Cyber Innovation Center. "There's an
absolute hunger to get this kind of
content into the classroom," Steele
said. "Everybody realizes how relevant
it is in today's society."
The Cyber Innovation Center was
launched in 2007 to attract cybersecurity jobs and prepare cybersecurity
workers in northwestern Louisiana.
The center's founders quickly realized, however, that such initiatives
would ultimately depend on K-12
schools. Their response was a project
called the National Integrated Cyber
Education Research Center, which develops and shares cybersecurity lessons and resources with K-12 teachers around the country.
Now funded by the federal Department of Homeland Security, the center's curricular materials have been
approved by 17 states..
At the high school level, for example, the group's "cyberliteracy" course
blends civics lessons with hands-on
activities involving robotics and computer programming. Students might
use microcontrollers to build a robotic
minesweeper, then take part in class
discussions on constitutional privacy
"We need to make sure students
know how to live and operate in cyberspace," said Kevin Nolten, the center's director of academic outreach.
"That includes hard skills, like network programming and security, but
also humanities, such as cyberlaw
It's just one of many cybersecurity
education initiatives supported by
several federal and state government
At the federal level, for example, the
National Science Foundation works
with the Office of Personnel Management to provide "CyberCorps" scholarships to students training to become cybersecurity professionals, and
with the National Security Agency, to
fund free "GenCyber" summer camps
for K-12 students and teachers.
The NSA also works with the
Homeland Security Department to
designate degree-granting cybersecurity programs at more than 200 colleges and universities as Centers of
And DHS is involved in a number
of other undertakings. The department, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology
at the Commerce Department, as
well as the office of the secretary of
defense, played a pivotal role in the
development of the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, which
provides a detailed breakdown of
the skills required for a wide range
of cybersecurity-related work. DHS
also maintains an online directory of
Despite all the activity, the scale
and quality of K-12 cybersecurity
education remains spotty.
According to an analysis of national data by the nonprofit group
Change the Equation, less than
one-fourth of high school seniors
say they've ever taken a computer
science course, let alone a more
technical and highly specialized
class focused on cybersecurity. Lowincome, black, and Native American
students are much less likely than
Asian and white students to attend
a school offering computer science.
Staffing shortages are one big barrier to improvement, said Vince Bertram, the president and CEO of Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit that
provides computer science curriculum
to 4,000 K-12 schools across the country and plans to unveil a yearlong
cybersecurity course for high schools
in fall 2018.
Another challenge is how quickly
the cybersecurity field changes.
The programming languages
taught today may well be irrelevant
by the time a current high schooler
hits the job market.
Emerging technologies such as
autonomous vehicles also present new security threats. And the
growing tension between privacy
and security is only getting more
pronounced: Should the focus of
K-12 cybersecurity education be
training students who can develop
strong encryption systems capable of protecting users' privacy,
even against government surveillance-or students who can crack
consumer-encryption systems in
the name of national security?
It remains uncertain where the
Trump administration will land on
such questions. For the time being,
it's not even clear when the president
might move ahead with his cybersecurity plan, or if education and workforce issues will be included.
Regardless of what happens in
Washington, Bertram is among those
pushing for cybersecurity education
to proceed full steam ahead.
"Cybersecurity is absolutely critical to our national security, and job
growth is absolutely critical to our national economy," he said. "We should
not need an executive order to create
urgency around this work."
EDUCATION WEEK | March 22, 2017 | www.edweek.org | 15
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 22, 2017
Education Week - March 22, 2017
The Hard Work of Making School ‘For Everybody’
Parents See Benefits in Spec. Ed. Vouchers But No Silver Bullet
Trump Education Dept. Has Yet to Hit the Gas
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Cybersecurity Skills in Demand
News in Brief
Social Media Connects Students to Authors
Fifth graders, from left, Braiden Roy, Pendarrin Cayer, and Lindsay Strout wave to an author visiting them via Skype in Oxford, Maine.
Arts Standards Stress Broad Concepts, Include Media Arts
Plan to Shut Detroit’s Failing Schools Reveals Lack of Options
Kentucky’s Schools Are Poised for a Massive Shake-Up
ESSA Rules’ Rollback Complicates States’ Planning Process
Tuning Up the Message No Easy Lift as Ed. Secretary Settles In
Deep Cuts Proposed for Ed.Dept.
Chris Doyle: Fake News Isn’t New
Nancy Grasmick: The Brain-Health Effect
Q&A With Gary Younge: Seven Bullets a Day
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Tyrone C. Howard: Why Are We Criminalizing Black Students?
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Cybersecurity Skills in Demand
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 2
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 3
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - News in Brief
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Report Roundup
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Fifth graders, from left, Braiden Roy, Pendarrin Cayer, and Lindsay Strout wave to an author visiting them via Skype in Oxford, Maine.
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 7
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Arts Standards Stress Broad Concepts, Include Media Arts
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Plan to Shut Detroit’s Failing Schools Reveals Lack of Options
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Kentucky’s Schools Are Poised for a Massive Shake-Up
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 11
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 12
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 13
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 14
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 15
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Tuning Up the Message No Easy Lift as Ed. Secretary Settles In
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Deep Cuts Proposed for Ed.Dept.
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 18
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 19
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 20
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 21
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 22
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 23
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Nancy Grasmick: The Brain-Health Effect
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Q&A With Gary Younge: Seven Bullets a Day
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Readers React
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 29
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 30
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 31
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Tyrone C. Howard: Why Are We Criminalizing Black Students?
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - CW4