The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) has a worthy goal—to support local news and preserve strong, independent journalism. But to do so, the bill would compel large online platforms to publish and pay for content that they do not wish to carry, which offends basic and long-established principles of constitutional law. SIIA’s letter urging the Judiciary Committee to reconsider advancing the JCPA can be found here.
In Spring 2020, teachers packed up their classrooms without a clue about when they would return. Some returned many months later to in-person lessons. For others, they closed up their classrooms and, shortly thereafter, said goodbye to the teaching profession.
The onset of the pandemic forced many teachers around the world to do their job with unfamiliar tools, at a time of immense professional and personal challenge, and very few boundaries between their work and home life. Despite the difficulties, classrooms were up and running within days- if not the very next– thanks to their tenacity and dedication. Some of the pressing issues teachers faced were social-emotional in nature, such as student engagement, participation and attendance, and connecting with students. These difficulties can be cited as just some of the barriers that contributed to the spike in teacher attrition rates seen since the start of the pandemic.
There are an estimated 36,500 unfilled teaching positions nationwide currently with a combination of factors fueling the shortage. According to a survey conducted by McGraw Hill, 76% of teachers reported that COVID-19 related staffing shortages have been common. Compounded with issues of burnout– which 90% of teachers consider to be very serious because of the pandemic– and additional workload-related challenges (i.e. teachers wearing more hats than they can keep on) due to COVID related shortages, this has escalated to more than half of teachers considering leaving the profession sooner than anticipated.
Responses to the Shortage
At the federal level, the White House announced new actions to address the teacher shortage (this fact sheet details public and private actions). On top of the changes already made to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) – which ensures educators can access loan forgiveness they are eligible for – they encourage states to use federal relief funds to competitively boost teacher salaries, and,through the Department of Labor, have committed to prioritizing the education sector in the next round of apprenticeship grant funding. On the private sector front, talent and job platforms – Ziprecruiter, Handshake and Indeed – announced they would offer support through creating an online job portal for educator specific jobs, helping college students gain access to the benefits of teaching, and facilitating virtual hiring fairs nationwide (respectively). In addition, national teacher unions and state organizations have partnered to offer expanded pathways to enter the field and professional growth. The public-private actions support the President’s call to address school teacher and staffing shortages.
The U.S. Department of Education has made a push to help combat the shortage by encouraging states to use federal relief funds to fill in gaps caused by shortages. The Department released a fact sheet that outlines a call to action to partner with states to support the recruitment and the retention of teachers. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona called on states to invest in measures that increase the number of teachers in the pipeline including establishing apprenticeship programs, creating evidence-based residency programs and competitive pay and loan forgiveness measures. Examples of how to answer this call to action are outlined by the Learning Policy Institute, a think tank focused on improving education related policies. They illuminate the flexibility states have with federal dollars and provide specific areas states can use funds to bolster strategically.
Aside from leveraging this funding, states have varied in their response – through mostly short-term solutions – to the shortage. An increasing number of districts in Missouri and Texas have switched to four day school weeks. Other measures include widening the pool of applicants that are eligible to teach in classrooms; Arizona is allowing prospective teachers to simultaneously begin training while still completing their bachelor degree,and most notably, Florida is allowing military veterans who meet a minimum criteria (set by the state) to earn five year teaching certificates. Pennsylvania has launched a comprehensive Foundation of Our Economy Strategy program to ensure there are enough educators to meet the projected demand by 2025 via expanding access to high-quality teacher preparation and professional development opportunities. New York has adjusted certification requirements to allow teachers to finish training with 50 hours of in class teaching instead of 100, and the District of Columbia, along with districts in Connecticut and North Carolina are offering signing and retention bonuses to attract teachers to their schools that need them most. States are heavily leaning on emergency stop gap measures as they quickly try to staff as many open positions as they can.
The ed tech industry is leaning in to support teachers and students as well. D2L, which offers a learning management system for K-12 school districts, released a blog on how to help support K-12 teachers. They emphasize the need to support teacher’s individual strengths and the importance of a collaborative approach to prevent overwhelming individual teachers. edWeb, a community of over 1 million educators ranging from pre-K to post-secondary who engage in professional learning, launched Jobs4Ed where employers can freely share opportunities and recruit talent from their worldwide community. The Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, released a policy agenda which outlines a detailed multipronged approach to bolster teacher recruitment from the ground up including adding competitive benefits for teacher pay and retirement.
As the 2022-2023 school year gets underway teacher shortages will likely remain a top concern for districts and parents – with 76% of parents concerned about the shortage above all else according to a survey commissioned by Lexia Learning, a Cambium Learning Group company. Increased efforts to attract and retain teachers will continue with states using everything at their disposal to fill much needed positions across the country. With the projected shortage of teachers to reach 300,000 by 2025, a joint effort – across the learning ecosystem– will be needed in facing what is yet to come.
The highly anticipated text of the federal consumer privacy bill that has been in the works for months was released in early June. The American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) – H.R. 8152 – is the product of months of negotiation, compromises and input from industry experts on all sides.
The newly introduced 120-page bill authored by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS.), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Rep. Bilirakis (R-FL), and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), is historic as it is the first bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation with a fighting chance of becoming law. We’ve gone through and pulled out a few points worth paying attention to as discussions continue to get underway. You can also review our thoughts on why privacy legislation is important here.
*Note this does not include all sections listed in the bill.
What are the Politics at Play?
The politics at play might be just as important as the bill itself as it has a direct impact on whether or not the bill passes. The bill authors include three of the “four corners”– Sen. Wicker, Rep. Pallone, Rep. McMorris Rodgers– otherwise known as the Chair and Ranking Member of the House and Senate committees that have jurisdiction over consumer privacy issues. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the fourth corner, released her own privacy bill, the Consumer Online Privacy Act late last year and is in the process of working on further updates to her draft. This is important to note because this is a large piece of legislation to pass, and will require bipartisan agreement from, at minimum, all four corners. Without it, getting the necessary committee votes needed to pass the bill into law becomes that much harder.
What does the ADPPA Do?
The ADPPA is an attempt to create a federal consumer privacy law in the United States. Similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a federal consumer privacy law would outline the requirements and regulatory business practices for how personal information is collected, stored, transferred, managed, and deleted from everyday users and consumers in areas that are not covered by sectoral privacy laws like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It intends to provide consumers control over how personal information is shared, and would create new practices that allow individuals to be better informed on who has their information and access to it in a way that is easy to understand.
Who Will Need to Comply with ADPPA?
The short answer is most businesses and nonprofits. Both collect information from consumers as a part of their necessary business practices and legal obligations and are not currently covered by a sectoral privacy law. The bill does include certain limited exemptions for smaller businesses that are under a certain revenue or consumer data use threshold.
Some high level compliance points are outlined below:
- Covered Entities: A covered entity is defined as “any entity or person that collects, processes, or transfers covered data” (with some exceptions). The legislation expands FTC oversight on privacy from businesses to now include nonprofits and common carriers. Covered entities are required to adhere to a number of important practices, including:
- Abiding by data minimization requirements so that businesses are only using data that is proportionate and reasonable to the purpose it is intended for;
- Abiding by new requirements for processing sensitive personal information;
- Incorporating transparency policies that are clear, conspicuous and easily accessible;
- Establishing certain individual rights and obligations for consumers to access their data. (Section 2(1)(9) of the ADPPA.); and
- Baking in privacy by design, to ensure that the technology and data used are proactively working to mitigate privacy risks.
In addition, the bill requires covered entities to develop responsible data security practices, create corporate accountability through the hiring of a chief privacy officer to oversee data privacy efforts, and bake in responsibilities for larger entities to establish impact assessments to balance and test any privacy benefits of new technologies using algorithms with their respective harms.
- Special Considerations for Children’s Data: Up until now, children’s data has largely been governed by the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and, in some cases, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). COPPA applies to companies with actual knowledge they are collecting information from children under the age of 13. The ADPPA would require companies to extend certain protections to children under a certain age, which is pertinent to companies whose data, products, and services are used by and impact minors. The legislation also bans targeted advertising to those under the age of 17.
The aim of the bill is clear: lawmakers want Americans to have broad privacy rights that they have not had prior to this legislation and more companies to be complying with a baseline standard for responsible data use.
Who Enforces the Law?
The bill outlines three main enforcers of the law. At the federal level, the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) would be the enforcing agency, and at the state level, the State Attorneys General would have the right to enforce. To help the FTC enforce this law in particular, a new agency would be established within the FTC and begin enforcing the Act within one year of becoming law. State Attorneys General can also enforce the law, but must first inform the FTC before taking any actions. There is also a proposed third enforcer of the law: individual consumers. The current version includes a private right of action– the ability for private individuals to pursue legal action– as a mechanism of enforcement as well. This would not take effect until four years after the ADPPA passes. Further, individuals would still need to notify the FTC before taking action to give them an opportunity to intervene.
What Action Has Happened on the Bill So Far?
The latest on the bill was a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee markup on June 23rd which resulted in a favorably subcommittee vote. A few of the key points raised focused on civil rights and preventing discrimination via algorithms, the guardrails for protecting sensitive data – especially the data of those under 17 – and the scope of the agency that would be in charge of enforcing the law. As indicated at the hearing, more changes are anticipated in the coming weeks.
Prior to the markup, the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a hearing on an earlier discussion draft of the bill on June 14th. Questions were raised on how to more clearly define who must comply with the law and what their obligations are to prevent mix ups that would unnecessarily complicate daily functions across the digital ecosystem. The initial hearing led to the updated version which now also addresses the need for a business to government (B2G) exception, exclusions to the definition of biometric information, and a limitation on the requirement for algorithmic impact assessments.
So, what do we anticipate as next steps?
While encouraged by the progress that has been made, more clarity on the following is still anticipated:
- Protection of children’s personal information;
- Treatment of “inferences” and related data that can be derived from or combined with publicly available information;
- Clarification of the scope of data minimization for covered entities;
- Refinement on the algorithmic impact assessments;
- Refinement on the scope of sensitive covered data and impact on targeted ads;
- Limitations on the PRA provision;
- Strengthened preemption section.
Questions remain as to whether the Senate will introduce its own federal consumer privacy bill, or if the Senate Commerce Committee – the majority side that is led by Senator Cantwell – will back the House version of the legislation.
The ADPPA is a guidepost for what a comprehensive federal privacy law might look like if passed by Congress this year. Considering the large swaths of business that will be affected, this is only the beginning and there are sure to be rewrites and various iterations before the bill is in an agreeable form that would pass both chambers of Congress.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that whatever the final version of the bill, it will be a significant change in terms of newfound restrictions and rights on both the business and the consumer, especially across states that don’t have current consumer privacy laws on the books – which is all but five.
Last week, SIIA hosted a joint Advocacy Day in partnership with the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN), International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). Advocacy Day brings together state administrators, district leaders, vendor partners and others– for a day of discussions focused on the latest in ed tech policy.
The morning kicked off with interviews with three (of the four) FCC Commissioners. Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner Nathan Simington and Commissioner Geoffrey Starks sat down for one-on-one interviews sharing their thoughts on the current landscape offering insights on broadband access, device connectivity, cybersecurity and other topics. The Chairwoman highlighted her newest proposal to allow E-rate funds to connect school buses to WiFi. Chairwoman Rosenworcel has publicly advocated for the FCC to take a more active role in helping close the homework gap–a term which she coined—and discussed the major benefits of her proposal for students, especially for those who live in rural areas. Commissioner Simington, who sat down with SIIA’s Victoria Akosile, emphasized the importance of device capabilities for connectivity and the importance for partnerships and information sharing to address issues unique to ed tech. Simington, who came to the Commission from The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (), underscored the value of including education technologists and other technology experts guiding decision makers in the right direction on key issues. Noting those on the ground working at the state and district level have a better perspective of where resources can be utilized more efficiently, he invited advocates to get in touch and share insight with the FCC and other leaders to inform their process, especially as they update broadband maps of the nation to understand the levels of coverage.
Following the interviews with the Commissioners, Office of Educational Technology Deputy Director Kristina Ishamael gave remarks and officially announced the RFP to revise the National Educational Technology Plan is officially open for comment. The plan which was last revised in 2017, will serve as the blueprint for the nation in navigating the use of ed tech in the classrooms, which has been a staple in many classrooms and will continue to be an important part of delivering quality and inclusive classroom and online learning. Assistant Secretary of Education Roberto Rodriguez wrapped up the morning session thanking the ed tech advocates by recognizing the important role ed tech plays in providing equitable learning experiences.
The afternoon session continued on the Hill where more than 50 advocates from 21 states met with policy makers and their staff, connecting on critical issues for ed tech including funding for E-Rate, student data privacy, closing the homework gap and funding professional development and learning opportunities. Read the joint press release on the event here.
For more information on SIIA’s ed tech advocacy efforts please contact Pam Golden at firstname.lastname@example.org.