A new report from Parents Defending Education (PDE) puts forth evidence of Chinese Communist Party funding in several public school programs, revealing pro-China influence and messaging. PDE outlines that since 2009, nearly $18 million of CCP funding has contributed to school programs across a total of 34 states and Washington D.C.
In the state of New York, 12 public schools were included in the PDE’s findings, prompting seven members of the House of Representatives to address a letter to the state’s governor, Kathy Hochul. Led by Rep. Brandon Williams (NY-22), the letter detailed concerns surrounding evidence of CCP funding in particular programs in school systems and the New York Department of Education.
In response to the findings, Rep. Williams introduced legislation in the 118th Congress called the “Stop Funding Our Adversaries Act of 2023” (H.R. 1800). In a corresponding statement, Williams said the legislation “strengthens protection on America’s shores and bans American taxpayer dollars from funding any research with China’s Communist Party.”
In this same statement, Nicole Neily, President of PDE, said, “Transparency and accountability in public schools is not a partisan issue, and we hope the governor uses the powers at her disposal to investigate the extent of these programs in New York public schools.”
As Neily said, this is not a partisan issue, but it is a pervasive one. The Confucius Institute has set up shop in 143 active and inactive districts, as well as 20 military bases across the country. CCP-funded programs like College Board and Asia Society have also worked with the Confucius Institute to “tailor Chinese culture and language immersion programs to U.S. school districts,” accompanied by perks like “fully funded teacher exchanges, Chinese language programs, and opportunities for American students to learn in China.”
A report from the Education Resources Information Center at the Department of Education found that in exchange for CCP funding, “the College Board has given China strategic access to American K-12 education,” claiming the Confucius Institute “served as a recruiter for Chinese government programs, and helped the Chinese Communist Party design and gain control over American teacher training programs.”
Hanban, the headquarters of the longtime scrutinized Confucius Institute, released a report admitting that “Confucius Institutes have become a vital force for international cooperation under the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative,” which is an infrastructure project the CCP developed to further its global influence. The U.S. has no official role in the program, and China using Belt and Road to assert itself on the world stage presents threats to American interests abroad.
Republican representatives continue to demand answers from Gov. Hochul but have yet to hear back. The New York State Education Department did not return The Federalist’s request for comment.