Cyber Education: Achieving Obama’s Vision
President Barack Obama has said that America faces “few more urgent challenges than preparing our children to compete in a global economy.” Being able to understand and make use of the world’s vast telecommunications infrastructure is certainly part of that preparation. So it was no surprise when the White House issued its Cyberspace Policy Review last May that the document contained a call for the nation to “initiate a K-12 cybersecurity education program for digital safety, ethics, and security; expand university curricula; and set the conditions to create a competent workforce for the digital age.”
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the president’s cyber education pronouncement. Given recent media attention on cyberbullying, inappropriate texting, and teenagers’ hacking into school computers to change grades, it would be reasonable to think that cybersecurity is a topic being widely discussed in schools. But that is not the case.
Today, fewer than 10 states have implemented a comprehensive cybersecurity curriculum in K-12 schools. A recent Zogby International study conducted for the National Cyber Security Alliance, and supported by Microsoft, further found that America’s young people are not receiving adequate instruction to use digital technology, and are ill-prepared to make decisions regarding online safety, security, and ethics.