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EdTech Community Continues Conversation on 2021 Policy Priorities with FCC and Department of Education

More than 80 education technology leaders from 37 states yesterday returned virtually for meetings in Washington, D.C. with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Education (ED) policymakers to discuss their COVID-19 pandemic experiences and advocate for actionable policies that support digital learning.
This was the second of a two-part 2021 virtual advocacy fly-in and happened just as President Biden announced a more than 40 percent increase in ED base funding as part of his $1.5 trillion budget and schools across the country prepare to utilize the $7.1 billion that was allocated to the FCC for a new Emergency Connectivity Fund in the latest COVID-19 relief package.
In the first part during February, participants spoke with Members of Congress and their staff about how to safely transition to a post-pandemic world, connect all students and close the “homework gap,” fund professional development to help educators leverage technology for learning, and protect student data privacy. The conversation continued on Wednesday, April 14, as the group met with the FCC regarding student connectivity needs and talked to senior ED staff about the implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) and annual funding to support digital learning.
Key outcomes from these discussions include:
  • Federal leaders learned about state and local strategies and need to connect students to broadband and equip them with learning devices during, and beyond, the pandemic;
  • Summit participants learned about the ED’s plans for supporting the implementation of the ARP; and
  • Collaboration among local, state, and federal leaders to meet students’ and educators’ digital learning needs increased.
“We are thrilled to see Congress, the Department of Education and the FCC taking action to help close the homework chasm that students and teachers nationwide continue to face. Our virtual fly-in participants were keen to discuss everything from student data privacy to professional development funding with these key policymakers to help shape edtech policy moving forward and advocate for equitable access to advanced learning technologies,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.
“The American Rescue Plan’s investment in the education system and the President’s FY22 budget request provide an unprecedented opportunity for leaders and educators to envision a new, post-pandemic era that leverages technology as an essential vehicle for effective learning and equitable supports. ISTE, our partner organizations and virtual fly-in participants look forward to continuing to collaborate with federal policymakers on these issues,” said Ji Soo Song, Senior Policy Advisor at ISTE.
“Connecting all students and teachers to digital learning opportunities — no matter where they live — has been, and will remain, a top priority for SETDA’s members. Now more than ever, we need strong local-state-federal partnerships focused on closing the digital divide once and for all. Our members deeply appreciate this invaluable annual opportunity to exchange ideas with SETDA’s school district and federal partners,” said Julia Fallon, Executive Director of SETDA.
“SIIA and our education technology member companies are thrilled to partner with CoSN, ISTE and SEDTA to bring our real-world experiences of the past year to Congress, the Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission. Throughout the pandemic, our members stepped up to provide the tools to facilitate the rapid switch to distance learning, the transition to hybrid learning and the switch to safe learning in the classroom. We are thankful that policymakers have been so responsive to the needs of learners, educators and edtech providers by passing the American Rescue Plan and other relief bills over the past year. We look forward to continued collaboration as these laws are implemented and we address longstanding inequities exacerbated by the pandemic,” said SIIA President Jeff Joseph.
This year’s annual summit, led by CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), ISTE (the International Society for Technology in Education), SETDA (the State Educational Technology Directors Association) and SIIA (the Software & Information Industry Association), took place virtually for the second year in a row due to the impact of COVID-19.
Learn more about the advocacy work of CoSNISTESETDA and SIIA. To speak with senior representatives of these organizations, please contact Heidi Payter at hpayter@fratelli.com.
About CoSN
CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in the digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education. cosn.org
About ISTE
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a nonprofit organization that works with the global education community to accelerate the use of technology to solve tough problems and inspire innovation. Our worldwide network believes in the potential technology holds to transform teaching and learning. ISTE sets a bold vision for education transformation through the ISTE Standards, a framework for students, educators, administrators, coaches and computer science educators to rethink education and create innovative learning environments. ISTE hosts the annual ISTELive, one of the world’s most influential edtech events. The organization’s professional learning offerings include online courses, professional networks, year-round academies, peer-reviewed journals and other publications. ISTE is also the leading publisher of books focused on technology in education.
About SETDA
Founded in 2001, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal association representing U.S. state and territorial educational technology and digital learning leaders. Through a broad array of programs and advocacy, SETDA builds member capacity and engages partners to empower the education community in leveraging technology for learning, teaching, and school operations.
About SIIA
SIIA is the only professional organization connecting more than 700 data, financial information, education technology, specialized content and publishing, and health technology companies. Our edtech membership develops and delivers software applications, digital instructional content, online and distance learning services, online assessment, and related technologies for millions of learners around the world.

 

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Voting is lifeblood of democracy, says SIIA

Voting is the lifeblood of our nation’s democracy. SIIA joins our member companies and leaders across corporate America in supporting efforts to make it easy to vote, and difficult to commit fraud, while ensuring confidence in secure, accessible and fair elections.

Tragically, many current efforts to secure elections will hamper the ability for all Americans to exercise this critical Constitutional right. These proposals will have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and others who have long suffered from actions – lawful and unlawful – that deny or restrict their vote. Our democracy works best when all of our nation’s citizens have the opportunity to participate – when every citizen has a voice and a vote. Ensuring equal and fair voting access is aligned with our organizational values of reducing racial inequality and increasing economic opportunities for all.

About SIIA: 

SIIA is the only professional organization connecting more than 700 data, financial information, education technology, specialized content and publishing, and health technology companies. Our diverse members manage the global financial markets, develop software that solves today’s challenges through technology, provide critical information that helps inform global businesses large and small, and innovate for better health care and personal wellness outcomes – they drive innovation and growth. For more information, visit siia.net.

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SIIA Welcomes News that Negotiations for a Refreshed Privacy Shield Have Intensified

SIIA Welcomes News that Negotiations for a Refreshed Privacy Shield Have Intensified
And Calls on European Regulators to Give Time and Space for Negotiations to Conclude 

For Immediate Release 

SIIA Contact: Suzy Wagner

Washington, DC  (March 26, 2021). Yesterday, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders announced that the U.S. Government and the European Commission have intensified negotiations to enhance the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. SIIA welcomes this news and urges other European regulators and policymakers to implement a moratorium on enforcement actions and regulatory guidance to give these critical negotiations time to conclude.

In July 2020, the Court of Justice for the European Union released its decision in the Schrems II case, which struck down the Privacy Shield Framework over concerns about U.S. laws authorizing data collection for national security purposes. The results were quick and painful: the lawful mechanism for more than 5,000 companies  — many SMEs — was immediately shut off, forcing business operations to quickly shift to other lawful mechanisms for transferring personal data, such as standard contractual clauses. Since then, European regulators have begun restrictively interpreting the Schrems II opinion to require the cessation of many  transatlantic data transfers via standard contractual clauses. This threatens the continuity of business operations, consumer access to digital goods and services, and public health initiatives.  

SIIA President Jeff Joseph notes: “If restrictive and inflexible interpretations of the Schrems II decision continue unchecked, the result will be a catastrophic disruption of transatlantic data flows to the detriment of European and American businesses and consumers alike. The impact of the ongoing restrictions to data flows is broader than “Big Tech.” Transatlantic data transfers are used every day for routine business purposes, including payroll, other HR functions, access to cloud services, and delivery of digital goods and services to consumers, among others.  We need transparent and reasonable data transfer mechanisms that balance the preservation of privacy with the ability to engage in reasonable and necessary business transactions.

“The ongoing negotiations between the U.S. Government and the European Commission are best-suited to address the delicate diplomatic, regulatory, trade, and human rights considerations at play. We welcome the news that the negotiations for an enhanced Privacy Shield Framework have intensified, and we call for a moratorium on regulatory actions and guidance that could disrupt these negotiations by unduly restricting data transfers. As allied democracies that respect data privacy and the rule of law, we are optimistic that the U.S. and EU can and will resolve the concerns identified in the Schrems II case if given a meaningful opportunity to do so.”

About SIIA: 

SIIA is the only professional organization connecting more than 700 data, financial information, education technology, specialized content and publishing, and health technology companies. Our diverse members manage the global financial markets, develop software that solves today’s challenges through technology, provide critical information that helps inform global businesses large and small, and innovate for better health care and personal wellness outcomes – they drive innovation and growth. For more information, visit siia.net.

Diversity drives innovation

SIIA President Speaks Out Against Racism

We were stunned by the recent senseless killing of eight people in Atlanta, six of them Asian Americans. It is not known with certainty at this time if the killer’s motive was based on race, but it is hard to ignore that race was at play and that there has been a pronounced increase of hate crimes toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in recent months. Silence is complicity. Those of us with public voices should use our platform to denounce hate and injustice when we see it. Fighting for equality, justice and an end to racism of all sorts is not just the morally correct thing to do, it is critical for the health of the industries we represent and our national economy overall. Innovation and economic growth spring from our ability to access the talents of all Americans, regardless of ethnicity, gender choice, political persuasion, faith or any other personal identity that others may use to divide us. We continue to make strides within our own organization to promote diversity, equity and inclusion and help our members deal with these complex but critical issues. More can always be done. Indeed, we can, and must, do better as a society.  But know that we will always speak out against racism and hate in all forms. Our hearts go out to those who were lost, and those who have suffered unjustifiable and horrific indignities.

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SIIA Applauds Passage of the American Rescue Plan

SIIA Applauds Passage of the American Rescue Plan
Congress passes historic relief package benefitting America’s economy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SIIA Contact: Suzy Wagner 

Washington, DC (March 10, 2021) The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal association for the software, information, and digital content industries, President Jeff Joseph issued the following statement in response to today’s COVID relief bill: 

“SIIA applauds swift action by Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan to get our nation’s economy back on track and help our educational system move to a post-pandemic world. 

“The ongoing pandemic will have a long-term impact on schools and our nation’s learners. We know that students require even more support from our education system. Our members have worked with educators to help students learn at-home, in-person, and in hybrid environments, with technology solutions playing a significant and meaningful role in allowing students to progress in their studies during the pandemic. The funds for education and the $7 billion in money for connectivity will help address long standing equity issues in education exacerbated by the pandemic and help America’s learners as we transition into the ‘new normal.’

“We are also pleased the American Rescue Plan provides support for local governments that face budgetary stress as they have shouldered much of the burden in keeping our communities protected from the spread of this virus. We also are grateful the Plan provides support for the unemployed and funding to increase vaccinations to help begin rebuilding our economy and get America back to work.”

About SIIA: 

SIIA is the only professional organization connecting more than 700 data, financial information, education technology, specialized content and publishing, and health technology companies. Our diverse members manage the global financial markets, develop software that solves today’s challenges through technology, provide critical information that helps inform global businesses large and small, and innovate for better health care and personal wellness outcomes – they drive innovation and growth. For more information, visit www.siia.net.