Jindal to Expand Cybersecurity Education: Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) plans to expand cybersecurity training and education by partnering with Louisiana State U. (LSU) to establish a cyber research center. In addition to providing students with an opportunity to expand their cybersecurity knowledge, the LSU Transformational Technology and Cyber Research Center will enhance the K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum. Over the next three years, the center aims to raise $30 million in research and development contracts from federal and private entities.
Patrick Invests in Technology Infrastructure, School Access: Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signs a bill that provides funds for information technology infrastructure. The new program includes $38 million for increased access to high-speed Internet in schools and rural areas, as well as $50 million for the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to expand broadband connectivity in western Massachusetts. Additionally, the law allows MassIT, the state’s primary information technology division, to invest in new projects that streamline access to government services.
New Effort to Improve High School Emergency Training: Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) signs a bill to expand emergency training opportunities for high school students. The law requires high schools to train students in the use of CPR defibrillation through a nationally recognized training program (for example, those run by the American Heart Assn. or the American Red Cross). The law aims to increase the number of available training opportunities to expand the number of students trained in CPR and defibrillator use.
State Looks to Expand School Breakfast Program for Low-Income Students: Gov. Susana Martinez (R) supports expanding the state’s “Breakfast After the Bell” program to middle school and high school students. The program, which currently serves elementary school students, requires schools to provide free breakfast to students if 85% or more qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. The program aims to improve students’ focus on learning by providing healthy meals and would apply to both public and charter schools.
More Supportive Services for Military Families, Children: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signs legislation to lower the cost of education and services for veterans, active service members, and their families. Additionally, the new law will expand supplemental burial assistance the state provides to military families when a servicemember dies from injuries inflicted in combat. The law also aims to ease the transition of changing schools for the children of military families by making educational and immunization records more readily available. Cuomo also announces funding for the state’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School program grants. The model, which depends on partnerships among school districts, industry leaders, and colleges and universities, allows high school students to earn an associate’s degree to prepare them for high-skill jobs. The program offers participants a chance to be first in line for jobs at participating information technology companies, does not charge tuition or fees, and is funded through a competitive grant process.
Bills to Increase High School Graduation Rate: Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signs two bills to increase high school completion rates. The law establishes a dropout prevention and recovery pilot program in eight schools by increasing access to support services. For dropouts and students at risk of dropping out, the program will offer crisis intervention assistance and will advise students on alternate paths to a degree, including competency-based courses.
Governor’s Groups Focus on Children’s Issues: Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announces creation of a cabinet dedicated to children’s issues. Additionally, he establishes the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success, which will focus on improving children’s health and education. The cabinet and council plan to draw high-level officials from various agencies to drive collaborative work on issues such as access to pediatric care and early childhood education. The new groups will provide opportunities for the health and education secretaries to coordinate statewide efforts and work closely with local agencies to increase the well-being of children.
$30M to Bolster Mental Health, Children Services: Gov. Scott Walker (R) launches the expansion of a range of mental health programs following the passage of a budget allocating $30 million for mental and behavioral health services. Wisconsin has created coordinated service teams to help children access comprehensive behavioral health services and to help their parents take a more active role in their care. Residential peer-run respite centers that employ individuals who have recovered from mental health conditions themselves are scheduled to open later this year. Finally, the Governor has created an Office of Children’s Mental Health, which will work to improve children’s access to mental health care.