A federal court on Monday dismissed an attempt by the company behind a major after-school service program to block the Obama administration’s efforts to reinstate a program that gives schoolchildren the chance to use the internet for after-care services.
The lawsuit filed by the National Association for School Administrators (NAASA) was backed by a bipartisan coalition of parents, business leaders, and advocacy groups, arguing that the program was a critical piece of Obama’s school-reform agenda.
The program, known as “After School Tech,” was announced last summer by President Obama, who called it an important tool to help schools build their “digital resilience.”
“This is the first time in our nation’s history that we are putting an after-the-school program on a major federal government initiative,” the president said in a statement.
“This program will make schools safer and better prepared for the future.
I am pleased to announce that it will be back in action soon, and this time we are making the change quickly.”NAASB President Tom Williams said in the statement that the federal court decision to dismiss the case “shows that the courts are not going to be silent when our children’s privacy is violated.””
We will continue to push to keep the after-School Tech program on life support and, as President Obama has stated, we will make sure that it continues to be the cornerstone of the school day,” Williams added.
But the administration’s move to reverse the Obama-era decision to extend the program, which is currently available in 36 states and Washington, D.C., was met with swift opposition from business groups, who said that expanding the program to cover more states would not only jeopardize access to after-day care services, but also hurt schools.
The Obama administration announced in August that it was ending the program for a limited time to allow for a “transitional period” for the federal government to review its privacy and data protection laws, and it has been extended through December 31, 2020.
But the program has not been extended to states that have not yet repealed their privacy laws.
In the lawsuit, NAASA argued that the Obama Administration had a “moral duty” to ensure that schools had access to internet after-hours programs that would allow students to “get the skills and tools they need to get through the school year.”NAAsA has argued that this is “a critical piece” of the Obama re-election effort.
The Trump administration is expected to issue its final proposal for a cybersecurity plan soon, but the Obama campaign said on Monday that the administration was “actively considering ways to protect children from cyberattacks and other threats.”
“As President Trump said during his campaign, we are going to keep our promises to our children,” Williams said.