Communist nation has channeled $17M into more than 143 K-12 districts – sparking GOP probe
China is funding America’s public schools to the tune of $17 million dollars, it has been revealed, with Republicans now probing the disturbing donations.
The report by Parents Defending Education states that the close coordination between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and U.S. schools to establish Confucius Classrooms has historically included 143 school districts in 34 states and Washington, D.C.
In addition, at least seven contracts are still active in Texas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington.
The report called ‘Little Red Classrooms’ reveals that $17 million has been funneled from CCP-connected financial institutions into U.S. K-12 schools, through Confucius Institutes and other cultural and language programs.
It also states that the CCP has ‘ties to school districts near 20 U.S. military bases’ and three of the nation’s top science and technology high schools have been infiltrated.
‘While the United States is not officially part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese state media has touted the work done by Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms to further the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence,’ the report continues.
China has facilitated these relationships through grants and sister school partnerships going back to 2009. Programming and funding has varied between school districts, the report adds.
PDE President Nicki Neily said in a statement that the ‘alarming evidence’ uncovered by the investigation should ‘concern parents, educators, and policymakers alike.’
The report has been given to state and federal lawmakers in the hopes that it will spur action.
Rep. Jim Banks is demanding the Education Department take action with ‘urgency’ in in order to terminate these ‘disturbing’ partnerships, he says in a letter to Sec. Miguel Cardona on Wednesday obtained by DailyMail.com.
‘The Chinese Communist Party is not a trustworthy partner. Accepting funding and influence from our greatest adversary is a threat to America’s children and national security,’ Banks told DailyMail.com.
He wrote in the letter that the U.S. must ‘take every measure’ to strengthen its defenses against China including by ‘blocking their ability to propagandize in America’s K-12 schools.’
The congressman – who sits on the newly-established House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party – is asking for immediate action from the Biden administration.
He also noted that under former President Donald Trump, the State Department in designated Confucius Institutes a ‘foreign mission,’ which helped shut down some of these ‘dangerous programs.’
Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., told DailyMail.com the report is ‘alarming’ because ‘we truly don’t understand the full extent of Communist China’s meddling in our education system.’
‘Not only is the CCP trying to promote their propaganda through education programs but are using Chinese shell companies to outright buy American private schools around the country.’
He is urging state governments, along with federal assistance, to start ‘cracking down on the targeting of our children.’
Waltz has also sounded the alarm on Chinese-owned schools in the U.S. with Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs.
He has asked the Pentagon to survey those schools because he views it as a grave national security threat.
Sen. Roger Marshall told DailyMail.com that the Parents Defending Education report should ‘alarm’ every American parent, especially because the CCP is targeting schools to close to military bases.
The Kansas senator introduced a new bill Tuesday that would prohibit federal agencies from funding research in China or ‘any entity’ owned by China.
‘From buying our farmland to setting up CCP police stations here on U.S. soil, stealing our intellectual property, spying on our military bases, and now buying their way into our children’s K-12 schools, it is past time for this administration to wake up and realize what we are up against,’ he told DailyMail.com.
According to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Pentagon is prohibited from providing money to ‘institution[s] of higher education that hosts a Confucius Institute’ after October 1, 2023.
As a result, since the 2021 NDAA passage, over 100 U.S. universities shut down their Confucius Institutes.
As of March 2023, the National Association of Scholars counts a total of 13 Confucius Institutes in the U.S. – with over 108 closing or in the process of closing.
House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mike Gallagher worked to have Alfred University in New York’s Confucius Institute closed in recent weeks.
The university obtained a five-year $13.5 million taxpayer-funded research grant in 2022 to by the Pentagon to conduct hypersonic weapons research.
Gallagher took issue with national security concerns he had about millions in Pentagon funds going to a CCP-linked university.
In a June 13 letter obtained by DailyMail.com, university attorney Robert Fisher responded to Gallagher saying Alfred University has decided to close the Confucius Institute ‘as of June 30, 2023.’
Gallagher told DailyMail.com regarding PDE’s report that the CCP cannot be allowed to ‘influence the American education system,’ adding ‘America’s children deserve better.’
There are four additional universities who host a Confucius Institute and have been awarded a DOD grant – University of Toledo, University of Utah, St. Cloud State University and Wesleyan College.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told DailyMail.com that it’s ‘ridiculous’ there aren’t measures ‘protecting our children from CCP influence.’
‘Learning languages and cultures critical to national security, like Chinese, is essential, but it shouldn’t come with Communist propaganda and influence,’ he added.
In 2019, the FBI found that ‘foreign state adversaries seek to illicitly or illegitimately acquire U.S. academic research and information to advance their scientific, economic, and military development goals.
FBI Director Chris Wray outlined the threat in a 2020 speech, saying China pays scientists at U.S. universities to ‘secretly bring our knowledge and innovation back to China—including valuable, federally funded research.’
Written by Kelly Laco for the Daily Mail ~ July 30, 2023