Education Dept. launches council to stop K-12 cyberattacks

The Government Coordinating Council for the Education Facilities Subsector is intended to mitigate the rising threat of cyberattacks against K-12 schools.
high school
(Getty Images)

In an effort to combat the increase in cyberattacks on K-12 schools, the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday launched the Government Coordinating Council for the Education Facilities Subsector, one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors in the United States. The council aims to foster a more resilient and secure K-12 digital infrastructure through improved communications and shared best practices.

Government coordinating councils are formed to coordinate strategies, activities, policy, and communications across federal, state, and local governments and tailored to each individual industry, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Every council coordinates with the Department of Homeland Security, the sector risk management agency, to protect assets, networks, and systems that are vital to public confidence and the safety and resilience of each sector.

“The GCC embodies our commitment to ensuring the cybersecurity of our nation’s schools,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten said in remarks delivered to K-12 educational leaders. “This initiative represents a monumental step forward in formalizing the partnership between federal, state, and local educational leaders in protecting our K-12 critical infrastructure.”


School districts across the country are experiencing a rising number of ransomware attacks and data breaches, which often expose sensitive health, financial and educational data on students, families and staff.

From 2016-2022, there were 1,619 reported cyber incidents involving public schools and districts, including unauthorized breaches, ransomware attacks, phishing attacks and denial-of-service attacks, according to K-12 SIX, an information-sharing and analysis center.

The government coordinating council’s first meeting included superintendents, school principals, government officials and members of the technology community to outline its goals for strengthening cybersecurity protections in K-12 schools.

“The importance of protecting our schools, students, and educators from cyber threats cannot be overstated—I’m very proud of the work the Department of Education and CISA are doing in this critical area, working collaboratively with the K-12 community,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “It will have a vital role in helping to guide efforts to ensure a safer and more resilient learning environment for our classrooms across the nation.”

Sophia Fox-Sowell

Written by Sophia Fox-Sowell

Sophia Fox-Sowell reports on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and government regulation for StateScoop. She was previously a multimedia producer for CNET, where her coverage focused on private sector innovation in food production, climate change and space through podcasts and video content. She earned her bachelor’s in anthropology at Wagner College and master’s in media innovation from Northeastern University.

Latest Podcasts