Rural students’ access to Wi-Fi is in jeopardy as pandemic-era resources recede

COMMENTARY | Internet access among rural students had begun to decline in 2022, putting them at significant educational disadvantage compared with their better-connected peers. This trend is likely to accelerate with the end of the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Schools are vulnerable to breaches—and hackers know it

Schools face unique challenges in shoring up their cyber defenses. Just ask Baltimore County Public Schools. It suffered a successful attack in 2020, and while its cyber protection has improved, it still faces roadblocks.

Biden announces $6B in student debt relief for public service workers

An estimated 78,000 teachers, firefighters and public health workers are among the group of borrowers who will see their debts canceled under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Free school meals for all may reduce childhood obesity

COMMENTARY | Growing research is showing the benefits of universal free school meals for the health and well-being of children, including a slowing in the rise of childhood obesity rates.

If schools won’t ban kids’ cellphones, some lawmakers say, they will

Florida now bans cellphones during class, and lawmakers elsewhere like the idea.

‘Brain gain’ in rural America and who is behind it

Young people leave their homes to explore and learn everywhere, not just in rural America. But rural spaces offer some unique advantages that inspire many to return and bolster their communities.

With AI, anyone can be a victim of nonconsensual porn. Can laws keep up?

States around the country are scrambling to respond to the dramatic rise in deepfakes, a result of little regulation and easy-to-use apps.

School vouchers continue momentum in state legislatures

2023 was considered a landmark year for school choice. It’s a trend that is showing no sign of slowing down, as lawmakers push proposals with fewer restrictions and costly price tags.

Gen Z and millennials have an unlikely love affair with their local libraries

Though they’re sometimes characterized as attention-addled homebodies, younger people see a real value in libraries − one that goes beyond books.

More details emerge on FCC’s cyber program for schools, libraries

Applicants for the $200 million pilot could be required to detail recent attacks and their current cybersecurity posture. The agency is also seeking guidance on how to measure success.

Teachers can’t afford housing, so school districts are building homes

When potential teachers are considering a position, they often want to know what’s available for affordable housing. “If I don’t have an answer for that, I lose that applicant,” one school district superintendent says.

DEI programs at public universities targeted

Republican officials in several states are trying to dismantle diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in state agencies and public colleges. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

Why federal efforts to protect schools from cybersecurity threats fall short

K-12 schools are especially vulnerable to cyberattack because they lack the cybersecurity expertise and funding essential to protecting students' sensitive information.

As state sues Meta, it also urges social media literacy instruction for kids

The key is making sure that children understand the difference between harmful screen time and quality screen time, one observer says.

Cursive makes a comeback—by law—in public schools

‘Keyboarding’ pushed cursive out of favor, but some lawmakers miss the script.

Education linked to better employment prospects upon release from prison

People who get an education while serving time are less likely to return to prison and more likely to enter the job market, an analysis finds.

FCC wants to improve cyber protections for schools, libraries

Faced with a growing number of cyberattacks on school districts nationwide, the agency announced a three-year pilot program to gather data on the best cyberdefenses.

Why advocates for transgender rights are so thrilled with election results

After years of putting transgender issues at the center of the culture wars, several anti-trans candidates were defeated in Tuesday’s state and local elections. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

Student loan repayments will likely crimp tax revenue

Because borrowers will have less discretionary income, states and cities will likely see less tax revenue, a recent Pew report says.

The hazards of facial recognition in schools

New York has banned the emerging technology in its schools, arguing that the concerns surrounding it “are not outweighed by the claimed benefits.” Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.