Education Department Details Plans to Honor Nation’s Top Cyber Educators

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But the agency needs a special clearance from OMB to meet all relevant deadlines.

Though the Education Department solidified its plans to honor the nation’s top cyber educators through the recently-mandated Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award in May 2020, the Office of Management and Budget will need to provide an urgent clearance to help the agency ensure everything rolls out on time, according to a request for comments set to be published in the Federal Register Tuesday.

“The department is requesting OMB approval of the emergency information collection by September 25, 2019,” insiders wrote in the document. “A regular clearance process is also hereby being initiated.” 

The president issued an executive order in May aiming to grow and strengthen the nation’s cyber workforce. The order encompassed a variety of new initiatives including a President’s Cup competition, the institution of a federal rotational program and multiple awards for government employees and teachers alike. The specific educational award listed in this request for comments aims to honor “one elementary and one secondary school educator per year who best instill skills, knowledge, and passion with respect to cybersecurity and cybersecurity related subjects.”

In the document, Education said certain “conditions” catalyzed its need for emergency clearance. 

The agency aims to announce the award to the public in early October, in recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but it cannot accept nominations until a System of Records Notice is published in the register. Education expects the notice to be published by or before December and it hopes to accept nominations until the end of Jan. 2020. 

“By announcing in October, this allows nominators more time to put together the information required to submit nominations,” it said. 

Any potential nominators will be prompted to continuously check online for details as to when entries can be submitted and Education will review the nominations between February and April 2020. 

Awardees will be recognized in May, during Teacher Appreciation Week. Ultimately, the agency wants the public to weigh in on its schedule and plans. 

“This quick timeline will ensure meeting [the president’s EO directive] to make awards within one year of signing,” the document said.