Republican Senators including Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Miguel Cardona urging him to address growing concerns surrounding the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) influence in American public schools.
After reports from Parents Defending Education showcased Chinese entities funneling millions of dollars into America’s K-12 classrooms, the right side of the upper chamber is calling for an investigation.
“We write to express deep concerns regarding an alarming new report describing how millions of dollars of funding from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have flowed into America’s K-12 classrooms. The report found that programs vetted and managed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have infiltrated 34 states nationwide, impacting more than 170,000 students across 143 school districts,” penned Sens. Rubio, Scott, and their colleagues. “We urge you to conduct a thorough, nationwide audit to determine how much funding from hostile foreign governments has flowed to America’s K-12 schools. We also urge you to analyze the extent to which other hostile foreign governments and the PRC may have already gained access to our K-12 schools.”
They would go on to condemn “Confucius Classrooms” and “Confucius Institutes,” calling them a “foreign mission.”
“For nearly two decades, the CCP has engaged in efforts to extert influence on American schools and our education system. Through grants, sister school partnerships, ‘Confucius Institutes,’ and other state-sponsored programming, the CCP has worked to gain access to America’s education system to advance its own agenda. In a 2016 article, Chinese state-run media reported that the CCP considers Confucius Institutes “important channels” to promote and advance the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2020, the U.S. Department of State designated Confucius Institutes as a ‘foreign mission’ of the Chinese government and Congress took steps to restrict U.S. Department of Defense funding from universities that host such institutes,” wrote the senators.
In March, Sen. Scott introduced legislation to prevent federal funds from going to colleges and universities with ties to the CCP.
In his press release, Sen. Scott said, "For years, I have been warning of the threat from Communist China, which continues to steal U.S. technology and intellectual property in its quest for world domination."
In February, Representative Mike Waltz (R-FL) had similarly warned of CCP-owned or CCP-backed private schools in the United States attempting to establish Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs, calling it "troublesome."