September 19th, 2023

by Jeremiah Poff

EXCLUSIVE — A bipartisan group of lawmakers that includes Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced legislation Tuesday to ban schools from receiving federal funds if they receive money from the Chinese Communist Party.

The Combating the Lies of Authoritarians in School Systems Act would require any school that receives federal funding to refuse funding from the Chinese Communist Party or the People’s Republic of China and represents the latest example of bipartisan agreement on confronting Chinese influence in the United States. The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. David Joyce (R-OH) and David Case (D-HI).

“American students are being force-fed Chinese Communist Party propaganda as school systems nationwide accept significant funding from CCP-linked financial institutions,” Stefanik said in a statement to the Washington Examiner, citing $375,575 in CCP-connected funding in New York alone. “No price can be put on the minds of our next generation. As the new school year begins, Communist China cannot be allowed access to our classrooms and students.”

In addition to addressing Chinese influence in K-12 schools, the legislation also creates new reporting requirements that would mandate that all K-12 schools report any funding from foreign sources to the Department of Education. A similar requirement for colleges and universities has been in place for decades.

“As students across the country start the new school year, the Chinese Communist Party is hard at work attempting to influence their curriculum. China’s attempts to interfere in American classrooms represent a direct threat to the national security of our country,” Joyce told the Washington Examiner in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation is a crucial step in preventing China’s influence from spreading into the American education system.”

The new bill comes over a month after the parent activist group Parents Defending Education released a report detailing how numerous school districts across the country had participated in programs called Confucius Classrooms, which were put on by Confucius Institutes affiliated with nearby colleges.

The report found that 143 schools had participated in the Confucius Classrooms programs across 34 states and Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education is holding a hearing on the concern with Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily among those set to testify.

In a statement to the Washington Examiner, Michele Exner, the director of federal affairs for Parents Defending Education Action, praised the legislation and said it would “make considerable progress in protecting students, their families, and America’s security.”

“It would be naive to think the Chinese Communist Party has any interest in furthering the academic development of American students,” Exner said. “China’s involvement in our schools has long been an effort to spread their propaganda globally, a fact that officials in their own government have openly admitted. Unfortunately, we are just starting to understand how extensive their efforts to infiltrate U.S. classrooms have been.”

See the full Washington Examiner article here.