North Dakota Orders Cyber Ed for K-12


North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has signed legislation that will mandate cybersecurity education for all K-12 school programs – making it the first state to mandate such cyber education for those grades.

The legislation signed by the governor on March 24 requires that cybersecurity and other computer-based lessons be added to the school curriculum over the next year. School boards and districts will have until July 1, 2024 to create a new computer science plan to integrate into the curriculum.

“Our vision is to integrate and underscore the importance of computer science and cybersecurity instruction into the classes our students take as they move through our K-12 system,” North Dakota School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said in a statement. “Under this bill, the information and knowledge our students need will be part of every grade level, which is appropriate when you consider the role that technology plays in our everyday lives.”

In response to the new law, EduTech – an office of the North Dakota Information Technology organization that supplies IT and computer education to school staff – will brainstorm potential cyber curriculum plans.

The governor said that implementation of the new law tracks with his commitment to advance knowledge of cybersecurity among students and citizens alike.

“Our students have more access than ever to computers and technology devices in our schools. It’s crucial that our students also learn cyber safety skills,” Burgum said. “The ability to manage technology is also important in helping our North Dakota students to get good jobs. Employers look for students who have the skills to take on tech challenges and cyberattacks, and complete daily tasks using technology devices.”

The new law moved through the state legislature with broad support and guidance from a primary sponsor – House Majority Leader Mike Lefor of Dickinson – who Burgum and Baesler thanked for his leadership on the bill.

They credited several other lawmakers for their support including: Rep. Glenn Bosch, R-Bismarck, the House assistant majority leader; Rep. Cynthia Schreiber-Beck, R-Wahpeton, the vice chairwoman of the House Education Committee; Rep. Anna Novak, R-Hazen; Rep. Emily O’Brien, R-Grand Forks; and Republican Senate sponsors Dean Rummel of Dickinson, David Rust of Tioga, and Shawn Vedaa of Velva.

“It was the leadership of this group of sponsors that helped HB 1398 get the overwhelming support it had in the House and Senate,” Baesler said.