Governor Ron DeSantis has suspended the availability of school choice scholarships to four schools that he says have direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
"Through a thorough investigation, FDOE has determined that Lower and Upper Sagemont Preparatory Schools in Weston, Parke House Academy in Winter Park, and Park Maitland School in Winter Park have direct ties to the CCP and their connections constitute an imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare of these school’s students and the public," DeSantis said in a statement on Friday." The Department is working with the non-profit scholarship funding organizations to assist impacted students in finding and enrolling in nearby eligible schools."
Earlier this year, DeSantis signed HB 1, which expanded school choice in the state of Florida. This means parents can opt-out of sending their children to public schools and receive money from the State to send them to another school of their choice. A record number of parents have taken advantage of the school choice scholarships this year. On May 8, 2023, Governor DeSantis signed SB 846 to prohibit any school affiliated with a foreign country of concern from participating in Florida’s school choice scholarship programs.
“The Chinese Communist Party is not welcome in the state of Florida,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We will not put up with any attempt to influence students with a communist ideology or allow Floridians’ tax dollars to go to schools that are connected to our foreign adversaries.”
.@EducationFL has found four schools that have direct ties to the CCP. We are suspending them from Florida’s school choice scholarship programs, effective immediately.
We will not allow Florida’s tax dollars to go to schools with connections to adversarial foreign nations.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 22, 2023
“The Chinese Communist Party has no place in our schools,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “I am grateful for Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for their work to keep students and our communities safe from foreign countries of concern.”
The Chinese Communist Party has no place in our schools.
— Manny Diaz Jr. (@CommMannyDiazJr) September 22, 2023
In a statement to the Sun-Sentinel, a Sagemont spokesperson wrote, “We are regularly acknowledged as one of the best private schools in our area and have a track record of delivering outstanding educational outcomes, which is why parents choose us,” the statement said. “Our schools are locally run, abide by local, state and federal laws, and do not have ties to any government or political party, either foreign or domestic. Our curriculum is accredited, standards-based and academically rigorous.”
Red Broward exposed the Sagemont Preparatory website states “it is part of Spring Education Group. Spring Education, the website says, ‘is controlled by Primavera Holdings Limited, an investment firm (together with its affiliates) principally based in Hong Kong with operations in China, Singapore, and the United States, that is itself owned by Chinese persons residing in Hong Kong.’”
Primavera Capital Chairman Fred Hu writes pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) editorials in the South China Morning Post, according to the Red Broward investigation.
DeSantis has also taken the action of prohibiting state colleges and universities and their employees and representatives from soliciting or accepting any gift in their official capacities from a college or university based in China or another foreign country of concern, or foreign principal, and banning “Confucius Institutes,” which serve as propaganda centers for the Chinese Communist Party.
The Floridian has reached out to the three schools for comment.