Cybersecurity pathway wins preliminary approval

The State Board of Education (SBOE) took preliminary steps to establish a cybersecurity pathway as an option under the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) endorsement, part of the state’s current graduation program. The pathway will include existing technology applications and career and technical education courses as well as two new courses.
Cybersecurity is an evolving discipline focused on safeguarding computers, networks, programs, and data from unauthorized access. Students can earn endorsements under the foundation high school graduation program by completing a coherent sequence of related courses in a specific area of interest.
The Texas Legislature in 2017 passed House Bill 3593 requiring the SBOE to adopt or select five technology application courses on cybersecurity to be included in a new pathway. A committee of secondary and postsecondary educators and business and industry representatives were selected to make recommendations for proposed curriculum standards for new cybersecurity courses and for the cybersecurity pathway.
At its January-February meeting, the SBOE approved for first reading and filing authorization proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter B, Graduation Requirements, §74.12, Foundation High School Program, and §74.13, Endorsements. One of the amendments to this rule adds the cybersecurity pathway, which requires students pursuing this endorsement to take Foundations in Cybersecurity and Cybersecurity Capstone courses and two additional courses to be selected from:
• Computer Science I
• Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles
• AP Computer Science A
• Digital Forensics
• Computer Maintenance
• Internetworking Technologies I-II or
• Networking.

Another amendment to the graduation requirements adds International Baccalaureate film courses as options for satisfying the fine arts graduation requirement.
A public comment period will open shortly on the proposed amendments.
The board also approved for first reading proposed Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for the two new courses – Foundations of Cybersecurity (one credit) and Cybersecurity Capstone (one credit).
Final adoption of the changes to the graduation program and the TEKS for the new courses is expected to occur at the April 2-5 SBOE meeting.

Based on the board’s preliminary action, the Texas Education Agency has notified districts that school districts and charters will be eligible to receive weighted funding for students enrolled in courses during the 2018-2019 school year that are proposed for inclusion in the cybersecurity pathway.