Browsing: Education

How hackers infiltrated federal agency

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In addition to the standard two forms of identification, offer letter and contact information, new hires at the U.S. Department of Education are required to bring along a certificate of completion for cybersecurity training course. A recent internal investigation shows why that training is probably a pretty good idea. In a previously undisclosed probe into a 2011 “spear phishing” campaign, hackers targeted senior staff and managed to break through the department’s security protections to steal data from the department. Much about the incident, which was described in documents released through a Freedom of Information Act request by Federal Times, remains…

Survey: Many agencies still sluggish on FOIA changes despite White House push

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Two years after President Obama pledged a new dawning of governmental sunshine, barely half of 90 federal agencies say they’ve made concrete changes in their handling of Freedom of Information Act requests, according to survey findings released Sunday. While 49 agencies reported changes to their FOIA processes, the remainder either said they had no information or did not respond to the Knight Open Government Survey. In a similar round-up last year, only 13 agencies reported changes, so this year’s numbers reflect a large uptick. Still, “at this rate, the president’s first term in office will be over by the time federal agencies…

Extreme Makeover: Federal Edition

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A trio of federal agency heads strapped on hard hats and lent their support to Sunday’s episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which featured two building projects just outside the nation’s capital. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined show host Ty Pennington for a tour of the two projects, in which the popular ABC program built a new home and community center that will be used to provide after-school programs to at-risk youths in Prince George’s County, Md. Chu praised the projects for incorporating green technologies such as solar panels, bamboo floors,…

Senate approves dozens of nominees

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The Senate approved dozens of President Barack Obama’s nominees this morning before departing for the holidays. The Senate will return on Jan. 21. Approved nominations include: Adele Logan Alexander as a member of the National Council on the Humanities; Paul T. Anastas as an assistant Environmental Protection Agency administrator; Anne Slaughter Andrew as ambassador to Costa Rica; Alberto Fernandez as ambassador to Equatorial Guinea; Michael Khouri as a Federal Maritime Commissioner; Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis as ambassador to Hungary; David Daniel Nelson as ambassador to Uruguay; John Norris as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Robert Perciasepe as deputy…

Can you tell me how to prevent the spread of swine flu?

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For 40 years Sesame Street has been teaching children their letters and numbers, but this year the residents of the famed street are teaching kids a new lesson: how to prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu virus, better known as swine flu. The White House, the Homeland Security Department, the Health and Human Services Department and the Education Department have teamed with the makers of Sesame Street to produce four public service announcements to teach children and families healthy habits that will prevent the spread of the potentially deadly virus. The PSAs can be viewed at www.flu.gov. The 20-second…

2010 Budget: Program cuts

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During a news briefing this morning at the Old Executive Office Building to roll out his 2010 budget, President Obama provided a little more detail about some of the nearly $2 trillion in proposed cuts he mentioned during his joint session to Congress on Tuesday. The highlights — or lowlights, depending on your view: Nearly $200 million at the Interior Department by cutting programs to clean up abandoned coal mines that have already been cleaned up. Nearly $20 million by modernizing programs and streamlining bureaucracy at the Agriculture Department. Tens of millions of dollars by cutting an Education Department student…

Senate confirms seven Cabinet nominees

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President Barack Obama’s Cabinet now has eight official members. The Senate voted by voice vote just before 4 p.m. today to confirm the following seven nominees: Steven Chu for Energy, Arne Duncan for Education, Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, Peter Orszag for director of the Office of Management and Budget, Ken Salazar for Interior, Eric Shinseki for Veterans Affairs and Tom Vilsak for Agriculture. His Cabinet already included Robert Gates, whom Obama asked to stay on as Defense secretary. But things aren’t moving so quickly for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s secretary of state nomination. After her smooth hearing before the Senate…