3 pillars: Time to comment on K-12 cybersecurity standards

An estimated 500,000 jobs in today's cybersecurity workforce could surge to 1.8 million in the coming years
By: | May 27, 2021
In the early grades, students should be introduced to concepts of cyber-hygiene, such as not sharing passwords and evaluating the trustworthiness of websites.In the early grades, students should be introduced to concepts of cyber-hygiene, such as not sharing passwords and evaluating the trustworthiness of websites.

Superintendents and their teams still have time to share their input on the first set of proposed nationwide cybersecurity learning standards, which will be published in August.

The deadline is June 4 for educators to offer ideas for CYBER.ORG’s K-12 cybersecurity learning standards, which span digital hygiene in kindergarten to digital citizenship in middle school to college and career preparation in high school.

The standards have taken on urgency in the wake of the ransomware attack on the Colonial pipeline and the Solar Winds hack of the federal government, says Kevin Nolten, CYBER.ORG’s director of academic outreach.

“One of the biggest gaps we in cybersecurity see is a lack of standards, a lack of guidance for what teachers should teach at each grade level,” Nolten says.

There are an estimated 500,000 jobs in today’s cybersecurity workforce, a figure that could surge to 1.8 million in the coming years, Nolten says.

The standards are built on three pillars:c computing systems, digital citizenship, and information and network security.

In the early grades, students will be introduced to concepts of cyber-hygiene, such as not sharing passwords and evaluating the trustworthiness of websites.


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Students would learn about privacy, such as how the weather apps on their smartphones can track= their location.

In middle school, students would focus on digital citizenship and coding, while in high school they would begin to chart pathways into the wide range of cybersecurity degrees and careers, Nolten says.

The standards will also guide administrators in creating opportunities for high school students to earn industry certifications before graduation.

“I see this as a national security issue,” Nolten says. “Our society depends on a cyber-literate population, it depends on a workforce that can prevent the cyberattacks that are happening each and every day.”


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