Posts Tagged ‘safety’

U.S. Department of Education Launches Government Coordinating Council to Strengthen Cybersecurity in Schools 

The U.S. Department of Education (Department), in coordination with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), launched the Government Coordinating Council (GCC) for the Education Facilities Subsector, a pivotal step forward in the national effort to enhance cybersecurity across K-12 educational institutions. This new council signifies an unprecedented level of collaboration between federal, state, tribal, and local governments to protect schools from cybersecurity threats. The Education Facilities Subsector is part of the Government Facilities Sector, one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors defined in Presidential Policy Directive 21. 

In recent years, the PK-12 cybersecurity landscape has become increasingly complex, with school districts across the country experiencing ransomware attacks that shut down schools and data breaches that expose sensitive health, financial, and educational data on students, families, and staff. The formation of the GCC is a direct response to these challenges, aiming to foster a more resilient and secure K-12 digital infrastructure through structured dialogue and shared best practices. 

Biden-Harris Administration Announces More Than $6 Million in New Grants to Address Community Violence and Impacts on Student Mental Health

On January 11, Vice President Kamala Harris announced $6.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education (Department) to address community violence. The funding is being awarded to seven school districts across the country as part of the Project Prevent grant program. The Vice President will make the announcement in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she will be joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence and expand access to mental health services for students. 

“Every child deserves the freedom to live safe from gun violence in their school and throughout their community. President Biden and I are committed to protecting this freedom and continuing to address an epidemic of gun violence that has become the leading cause of death for children across America,” said Vice President Harris. “With today’s announcement, we are reaffirming our Administration’s dedication to preventing this senseless violence and keeping our children, families, and communities safe. As we call on Congress to pass commonsense gun safety policies, we are proud to fund proven solutions like those supported by Project Prevent that help schools increase access to mental health and other resources for their students.” 

In the States: Office of Civil Rights Enters Agreements with California and Iowa School Districts

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

OCR Enters Resolution Agreement with (California) Davis Joint Unified School District

This week, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that the Davis Joint Unified School District in California has entered into a resolution agreement to ensure that its restraint and seclusion policies and practices do not deny students with disabilities a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

CoSN Releases New Resources on Cybersecurity Mitigation

Historically, school and district information technology units have positions designed to enable and support devices and connectivity, but not cybersecurity. Cybersecurity represents a comprehensive challenge facing all staff in K-12 organizations and requires the creation of a culture of cybersecurity within each K-12 organization.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released two new resources for K-12 schools and districts seeking to address the need for advanced cybersecurity skill sets within their technology teams.

Department of Education Releases Plans, Grants for Safer Communities

Department of Education logo

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

This week, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden launched their “Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour.” The tour kicked off in Tennessee with a visit highlighting ways states and districts are recruiting and preparing qualified, profession-ready educators into the classroom. Later in the week, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff joined the Secretary in Pennsylvania with visits highlighting how community schools are helping students recover academically and get the mental health supports they need, celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, and raise awareness about the Administration’s actions to provide debt relief to millions, including teachers and administrators through Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Public Broadly Supports School Security Measures – But Not Armed Teachers and Staff

The 54th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools demonstrates broad support for school security measures, with 80% of respondents supporting armed police officers on duty while classes are in session. When it comes to arming teachers and staff, however, support falls to only 45%.

Despite the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022, overall attitudes are similar to the 2018 PDK Poll, which asked the same questions of public school parents after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

 AACTE Commends Congress for Passing Gun Control Legislation

On behalf of AACTE , President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement after Congress passed, and President Biden signed into law, the first gun control measures in approximately 30 years in response to the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 students and two teachers were killed, and due to other gun violence in our communities:

“The actions of Congress since the Uvalde school shooting on May 24 are long overdue. According to the Washington Post, at least 185 children, educators and others have been killed by gun violence at U.S. schools since the Columbine massacre in 1999, in which two teenagers killed a dozen students and one teacher.

Celebrating 50 Years of Title IX

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 being signed into law. Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government. Specifically, it states: 

No person in the United States shall, based on sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 

Dept. of Education Sends Aid to Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

This week, the House Appropriations Committee has been busy marking up the first 6 of 12 government funding bills for FY2023. The process is expected to be almost, if not completely, partisan. In the upper chamber, the Senate Appropriations has not reached an agreement on how much to spend on defending and non-defense discretionary funding, ultimately delaying forward movement. 

Statement from National Education Organizations on Gun Violence Prevention Package in Senate

The 17 organizations above representing the full breadth of the national K-12 education community, including school superintendents, administrators, educators, school mental health providers, school staff and parents, call on Congress to swiftly pass legislation that will address the senseless epidemic of gun violence in this country.  

Schools and educators alone cannot bear the full burden of addressing the public health crisis of gun violence. The answer to stopping gun violence in our schools is not to arm our educators or to focus solely on better addressing the mental health crisis. As a nation, we must take a hard look at the various societal factors that are contributing to our high rates of gun violence and suicide and commit to meaningful action.

Secretary Cardona Testifies Before House Education and Labor Committee, Defends Priorities


U.S. Department of Education logoThis weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. 

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend and were able to spend time with family and friends to unofficially kick off the summer and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden spent part of their holiday weekend in Uvalde, Texas to grieve with the community following the horrific act of gun violence that left 19 children and two teachers dead, and several others injured. The massacre in Texas comes just days after an 18-year-old man shot 13 people, killing 10 at a supermarket in the heart of a predominately Black community in Buffalo. Since the start of 2022 there have been 27 school shootings with injuries or deaths. Since the tragedy in Uvalde, less than one week ago, there have been 14 mass shootings across the U.S. Memorial Day weekend alone — spanning Saturday, Sunday, and the federal holiday on Monday- there have been at least 11 mass shootings.

Following the news of the senseless act of violence in Uvalde, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spent the week begging his GOP colleagues to consider a bill that would strengthen background checks on those seeking to buy guns. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) did the same. Senator Murphy was in office in 2012 when a gunman killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He took to the Senate floor on Tuesday evening, pleading with Members of Congress to act now on gun reform.

AACTE Urges Congress and Local Leaders to Protect Students and Educators in our Schools

On behalf of AACTE (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement after the most recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which at least 19 students and two teachers were murdered.

“Our nation has experienced yet another senseless act of violence in our schools. By one estimate, since 1999, at least 554 children, educators, and school staff have been victims of school shootings and 311,000 children have been exposed to gun violence at school. This is simply unacceptable. It is long past time for policymakers to take action to protect our students, educators, and school staff from such violence. We can and must do more. 

What is clear is that no progress has been made toward keeping guns, especially semi-automatic  weapons, out of the hands of those that seek to cause devastation. As a result, more children and their teachers are murdered. This must stop. We implore Congress to pass sensible, life-saving, gun-reform legislation, which the vast majority of the American public overwhelmingly supports.

Cardona Urges LEAs to Consider Students with Disabilities When Lifting COVID-19 Mandates

Front view of schoolboy looking at camera while sitting at desk in school  against school kids in backgroundThis weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.    

We have received confirmation that the president will release his budget request on Monday, March 28 — signaling the official “kick-off” to the FY2023 appropriations season. Advocates are anxiously awaiting to see the line item requests for the Department of Education and will work diligently in the coming months to secure meaningful investments to address the critical shortage of educators and lack of diversity across the field. Stay tuned for more details to come in next week’s Washington Update.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Urges LEAs to Recognize the Critical Importance of Supporting Students with Disabilities

This week, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent an eight page letter to school district officials and parents urging LEAs to recognize the critical importance of supporting students with disabilities. The document comes as many districts are rolling back their COVID-19 mitigation efforts following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The letter is intended to help school district personnel and families design learning opportunities for all students, including students with disabilities. The document reviews key strategies, including Leveraging the IEP or Section 504 Processes to Ensure Protections are In Place to Protect In-Person Learning; Continuing Use of Layered Prevention Strategies to Keep School Communities Safe; and Ensuring Students Receive Education and Services in the Least Restrictive Environment.

Congress Condemns Threats of Violence Against HBCUs

happy male african american college student using tablet computerThe House of Representatives and Senate both recently passed resolutions condemning threats of violence against historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). 

Over the past several months, numerous bomb threats have been called in to HBCUs causing the colleges to cancel classes; disrupting campus environments; and increasing anxiety of students, faculty, and staff.  At least 18 HBCUs received bomb threats on February 1, 2022, the first day of Black History Month. Unfortunately, to date no one individual or group has been found responsible for these reprehensible acts. 

As the resolutions (H.Con.Res. 70/S.Res.534) note, HBCUs were established in response to discriminatory practices that excluded Black Americans from pursuing an education in the United States and they educate and produce a significant share of the nation’s Black leaders and innovators.

Leaders Urge White House to Extend Moratorium on Student Loan Repayment

Young male college student holding a sign of student loan

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.  

We are now hearing that the President’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2023 will likely be sent to Congress the last week of March or first week of April. The release of the budget signals the official “kick-off” for the FY 2023 appropriations cycle. Advocates will continue to work diligently to secure meaningful investments to support rebuilding and diversifying the special educator and specialized instructional support personnel.

Top Democratic Leaders Urge Biden Administration to Extend Student Loan Repayment Pause

Top Democratic leaders, including Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) who chairs the Senate education committee, are urging the Biden Administration to extend the moratorium on federal student loan repayments until at least the start of 2023. In a statement, Senator Murray noted the importance of fixing the “broken student loan system” and that borrowers are “struggling with rising costs, struggling to get their feet back under them after public health and economic crises, and struggling with a broken student loan system — and all this is felt especially hard by borrowers of color.”