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The Chinese Communist Party Has No Place in Our Children’s Classrooms

As a parent and former Secretary of State, I know that American security and prosperity depend on our ability to inculcate in each new generation of Americans a genuine understanding of why the American way of life matters.  That is why I have previously spoken out against woke, corrupt teachers unions and activists, and emphasized the need to secure the rights of parents to direct their children’s education.  The threat to our classrooms goes beyond domestic politics, though, as a new report released this week shows.

The report released by Parents Defending Education – a non-profit dedicated to pushing back against woke indoctrination in the classroom and securing the rights of parents – details that some of America’s best high schools in science and technology have ties to Chinese government-affiliated programs.  In total, 143 school districts across the United States have engaged in contracts to establish Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms, with the total funding for these programs nearing $20 million.  As recently as 2019, 519 Confucius Classrooms were operating in the United States.  Like Confucius Institutes, the Confucius Classrooms program is overseen by Hanban, an arm of China’s Ministry for Education which is wholly subservient to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

No one should be naïve enough to believe that the Chinese Communist Party wants American school kids to get a good education.  The CCP is only interested in advancing their dangerous and pernicious type of dictatorial control and will even manipulate our children to accomplish its goals.

As I’ve written here before, the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party to all Americans is not confined to its military ambitions alone; it touches every facet of American life, which unfortunately includes our school system.  One school district “entered into an agreement with the North China Electric Power University,” a Chinese school that works directly with the Chinese government’s energy sector to push China’s global energy initiatives. Another received more than $1 million in financial aid from Chinese government-affiliated entities over a decade. And since 2009, school districts near 20 U.S. military bases have developed ties with the CCP.

The CCP’s influence efforts within our K-12 schools are linked to its influence efforts within our higher education system.  Between 2013 and 2020, U.S. universities accepted nearly $1 billion in Chinese donations; and between 2004 and 2019, the CCP spent $150 million to fund Confucius Institutes at universities and colleges across America.  A Harvard professor was arrested in 2020 for lying about his participation in China’s “Thousand Talents Plan,” a plan designed to recruit prestigious academics around the world to further the CCP’s national ambitions. More examples of this sort of engagement abound.

In the Trump Administration, we worked to curtail this influence for the good of our students and national security.  We designated Confucius Institutes in the U.S. – the parent organization overseeing all the Confucius Institutes in America – as what they are – outposts of the Chinese government.  As such, we asked that all institutions of higher education that did business with these CCP-funded programs disclose their relationship to the federal government.  Over 100 such institutions were active when the Trump Administration took office; as of this past June, only ten were left.

It is clear that this transparency must be extended to our K-12 institutions. Federal and state officials must take immediate action to ensure that our children receive a high-quality education free of foreign interference or propaganda.  The Department of Education should audit how much money has flowed from the CCP to K-12 schools across America. At the same time, parents should continue to hold school boards and districts accountable for what is taught in their children’s classrooms.  Parents have a right to know if their children are being made to participate in programs that America’s chief adversary is funding.

Combatting Communist China’s influence in our nation’s schools serves all Americans and should be a bipartisan effort. I’m proud of the Trump Administration’s work to accomplish this goal throughout our higher education system.  We must act with even greater urgency to ensure the CCP is not funding our K-12 schools.

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