Announcement / May 2024

CLTC and U.S. Department of Education Announce Partnership for Advancing Cybersecurity in Education (PACE)

The Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) are proud to announce the Partnership for Advancing Cybersecurity in Education (PACE), an initiative to improve the defensibility and resilience of K-12 digital infrastructure by fostering collaboration between education technology vendors and cybersecurity experts.

PACE will develop actionable insights to improve the resilience of the education technology (edtech) sector in the face of increasing cyber threats to K-12 schools. The PACE EdTech Summit planned for October 2024 will convene cybersecurity experts, edtech vendors, and key edtech stakeholders to discuss the cybersecurity of edtech products, the benefits of secure-by-design principles, and chart a path forward for addressing product vulnerabilities that will improve the security of America’s K-12 digital infrastructure for millions of students and educators.

The PACE initiative is aligned with the 2023 National Cybersecurity Strategy, which calls on the “most capable and best-positioned actors” to “rebalance the responsibility to defend cyberspace to better shield under-resourced organizations from cyber threats.” PACE answers this by bringing together federal and state government and industry stakeholders to address some of the key cybersecurity challenges facing K-12 schools and districts.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten

“By uniting the expertise of cybersecurity professionals with the innovation of key edtech vendors, we can help proactively address cyber vulnerabilities before they lead to ransomware attacks that disrupt students’ learning, school operations, and compromise sensitive student data,” says U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten. “This partnership will develop actionable insights to enhance the resilience of the edtech sector, ensuring that our educational tools are not only effective but secure. By focusing on securing the edtech products that all school districts need for their operations, PACE can help to drive cybersecurity benefits at scale for the 14,000 school districts and the millions of students they serve across the U.S.”

The Partnership for Advancing Cybersecurity in Education (PACE)

PACE will focus on improving the cybersecurity of edtech, a critical lever to improving K-12 resilience for schools across the nation. Edtech tools are fundamental to managing private and confidential information essential to day-to-day school operations, including maintaining confidential student health, contact, financial, and disciplinary records.

Across the 14,000 school districts in the United States, the pandemic-era adoption of new edtech has brought new tools and capacities to the educational missions of K-12 schools. But the rise in tech adoption has also tripled the estimated attack surface for cybersecurity threats. Edtech products, however, are not always designed with cybersecurity considerations in mind and are notoriously susceptible to cyberattacks. For example, 55 percent of K-12 school data breaches between 2016 and 2021 were carried out on edtech vendors. 1 PACE sets out to mobilize edtech companies to enhance the cybersecurity of their products through active engagement and collaboration with the cybersecurity community.

Sarah Powazek

“We are proud to lead this critical partnership between UC Berkeley CLTC and the Department of Education. No student or parent should have to worry about their sensitive information being leaked online,” says Sarah Powazek, Program Director of Public Interest Cybersecurity at CLTC. “This partnership will help protect U.S. schools by strengthening the technology products they most depend on. By collaborating with a few upstream vendors, we have the potential to help K-12 institutions better defend against ransomware attacks that disrupt school operations and compromise sensitive student data.”

For more details or to express interest in attending the PACE EdTech Summit, please contact

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