Posts Under: Ed Tech

FY20 Budget Proposal Zeros Out Critical Programs for Education Technology

The proposed FY20 budget slashes funding for critical education technology programs at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The proposal outlines a number of priorities and makes a number of cuts to other programs reflecting the Administration’s desire to cut federal spending at ED. While it is unlikely that Congress will pass a budget that looks similar to this proposal, the FY20 budget cycle may be more contentious than previous years with the White House promising to follow the deal that was negotiated in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011 enacted a series of complex mechanisms that has an impact on the federal budget. Government wide cuts, applicable to both mandatory and discretionary spending, were triggered after a failure to make a deal on deficit reduction in 2013. These cuts have been delayed a number of times but it seems the White House may push to keep the sequestration cuts intact this budget cycle as described in this ...

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FY19 Appropriations – Education Funding Increases

Federal funding of the U.S. Department of Education is set at $71.5 billion for FY19 with the President’s signature on H.R. 6157. The funding is an increase from FY18 levels by $581 million.  The conference report recommends the Department of Education to award no less than 20 new grants between $100,00 and $1,000,000 in an Open Textbook Pilot. A 12-institution consortium led by UC Davis was awarded $4.9 million for open STEM textbooks under the FY18 appropriations Open Textbook Pilot which limited the amount of grant funds to $5 million. The Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants received a $70 million increase over FY18. The Department of Education also announced a state survey to examine the early implementation of these grants in all states. The survey will be conducted in Spring 2019. Other key funding streams are outlined below:

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FERPA and California’s New Privacy Law

In what can be compared to a modern-day technology sprint, California’s legislature introduced and passed far-reaching privacy legislation - the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) - in less than a week. The multi-year effort by privacy advocates, technology companies, network providers and others before introduction ended in the final push in the legislature was completed in the just six days. This far-reaching legislation will have impact across many different business sectors when it goes into effect on January 1, 2020 requiring for-profit businesses, not just technology companies, to provide the consumer access to the personal information collected about her, the opportunity to delete the data, and to allow her the opportunity to opt-out of the sale of personal information to third parties (or, if under the age of 16, the ability to opt-in). Much like the software development process, the California legislature has acknowledged the need to fix the “bugs” ...

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FTC Enforcement of COPPA Shows that Current Law is Working

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) signaled they are serious about enforcing current law with the announcement of the $650,000 fine and 20-year consent decree settling a complaint brought against toy maker, VTech, for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). VTech will pay the fine and is required to not violate COPPA.  It also must implement a comprehensive data security program subject to independent audits for 20 years. The FTC found that VTech, through its internet-connected toys, collected personal information from children under 13 without providing appropriate notice nor obtaining proper consent from the child’s parent. VTech, according to the complaint, did not use reasonable security measures required by COPPA despite stating they do in the available privacy policy. The toy maker suffered a major security breach in 2015 where hackers accessed unencrypted parent and child personal information, including photos and chat logs. ...

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Continued Misunderstandings of the Student Privacy Pledge

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has filed suit against Google for violation of the K-12 School Service Provider Pledge to Safeguard Student Privacy.  The suit will work its way through the legal system and a judgement made based on its merit, but it is important to point out that the suit contains some important misunderstandings about the student privacy pledge. The complaint alleges that Google violated the student privacy pledge because it collected information about students who are using general purpose services. The pledge, however, only applies to applications, services, or web sites “designed and marketed for use in United States elementary and secondary educational institutions.” In addition, the complaint suggests that the pledge is violated because Google uses layered privacy policies (for its general purpose services and a more restrictive policy for its educational services) and educational websites related to its privacy policies (google.com/e ...

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New Instructional Materials Adoption Toolkit

The instructional materials marketplace has changed markedly over the last few years. More school districts are shifting from physical textbooks to digital and online resources and increasingly are utilizing openly licensed resources [or open educational resources (OER)] to supplement commercially developed materials. In addition, commercial materials developers have even begun to incorporate OER within their own content and have started to curate OER for schools.

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