North Dakota Becomes First State to Require K-12 Cybersecurity Education

All K-12 students in North Dakota will be taught cybersecurity education due to a signed state law.


North Dakota made history by becoming the first state in the US to require cybersecurity education for all K-12 students after Governor Doug Burgum signed the HB 1398 into law last March 2023.


The legislation stipulates that to receive a high school diploma in North Dakota, students must complete at least one course in computer science or cybersecurity.


Additionally, schools and districts across the state are obligated to develop and endorse a plan integrating computer science and cybersecurity education by July 1, 2024.




North Dakota’s cybersecurity education law is a major step forward for its PK-20W Initiative, which is a concerted effort among three of its state agencies to ensure every citizen is cyber-educated.


Additionally, this law builds upon North Dakota’s achievement of being the pioneer state to implement cybersecurity and computer science standards for all grade levels.

“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,” said North Dakota School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler in a statement.


Moreover, the cybersecurity education law says that the department of public instruction will facilitate a $300,000 grant program. This program will allocate funds to school districts, career and technology centers, libraries, and adult education centers that provide computer science and cybersecurity courses to adults between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2025.


This initiative comes at a critical time when the cybersecurity workforce is facing a severe shortage of professionals, particularly within schools and districts. These educational institutions are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats and have emerged as key targets of cybercriminals. Strengthening and broadening the pool of cybersecurity professionals is among the objectives outlined in the White House’s National Cybersecurity Strategy, which aims to sustain funding for initiatives like the Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program.


As the cybersecurity workforce shortage worsens in the education sector, prominent school systems such as the Los Angeles Unified School District and Minneapolis Public Schools have experienced severe cyberattacks that resulted in the leakage of files, containing sensitive student information, by ransomware groups.


Baesler previously told K-12 Dive in November that training students in the cybersecurity field will provide more opportunities for them to help serve their communities. When she speaks with students throughout North Dakota, she said, she tells them they could be “a soldier of defense on the front lines,” which could include protecting data in schools or other public sectors.


Schedule a Cybersecurity Upgrade Assessment


How strong are your digital defenses against sophisticated threats? Need some help assessing your strength?


Sign up for a cybersecurity assessment and shed light on your school’s capabilities. Fortabyte Cyber Solutions can help you incorporate AI-based protection and fortify your network from cyber attacks.


Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.