Today, I am pleased to introduce and launch the “K-12 Cyber Incident Map.” It is a visualization of cybersecurity-related incidents reported about U.S. K-12 public schools and districts from 2016 to the present. Painstakingly assembled from public reports, it was created to begin to build a data-based awareness of the scope and variety of digital security and privacy threats facing K-12 public schools and districts, as well as to shed a light on the need for uniform standards for disclosing cyber incidents affecting schools, students, and educators.
Students in schools implementing personalized learning – by virtue of a receiving a Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant – are less likely to report feeling safe in school, less likely to report that there is at least one adult in the school that knows them well, and less likely to say they feel like they are an important part of their school community.
We have a variety of Apple-, Microsoft-, and Google-powered computers in my house. My daily workhorse machine is a (relatively) mighty, but aging MacBook Air. I could recount the ways that each of them fall short for me or bend your proverbial ear to tell you about the type of computing device I really want. In short, I am sick of feeling like I am not in control of my own computer.
I’ve concluded that this is not the future of personal computing I want, so I am switching to Linux.
Technology-related IT security issues will only continue to grow until there is a concerted effort to address them. This week alone, there has been a spate of K-12 specific reported news and incidents – involving student and teacher data breaches, ransomware, phishing, and hacked accounts. There is a lot at stake in addressing the root cause of these issues, and building support to address them should be in everyone’s interests.
In which I implore us to move beyond claims of “hit jobs” and “fear mongering” to fact based discussions of whether and where new guardrails may be needed to avoid conflicts of interest and the undermining of the democratic underpinnings of public schools brought about by the dramatic, technology-enabled changes remaking U.S. schools.
If there is an Achilles’ heel to a future of robust personalized learning for all K-12 students, it is the uneven attention to the cybersecurity risks facing school information technology assets and data. In this post, I offer emerging lessons about real and perceived information security issues facing schools from the data underlying the K-12 Cyber Incident Map.