• Chinese Communism In Our Classrooms?

    August 7, 2023
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     Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

    If the last three years have been nothing else for America's parents, they have been illuminating regarding what is going on in our public schools. While schools were closed and lessons were virtual, parents saw their children being taught subjects that they were never aware of before. Critical Race Theory, Gender Ideology and a variety of other non-academic subjects were at the top of the list as well. While parents watched, they saw their children being taught a twisted, exclusively negative version of American History that would make any Communist propagandist proud.

    Many wondered where these lessons came from. A group called Parents Defending Education thinks they know. Many of the lessons came from China. PDE did research on the issue and sent a letter to House Education & Workforce Committee Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C.; House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.; and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas detailing their findings.

    The group discovered that 143 school districts across the United States have contracted to established Chinese Confucius Institutes and Classrooms. Twenty of these districts were located near U.S. Military Bases. These schools received over $17 million dollars in funding for "cultural and language programs." The Confucius Institutes and Classrooms claim to be programs to teach U.S. children about China in an effort to encourage understanding and acceptance of the Chinese culture. In reality, they spend more time portraying the United States in a negative light while promoting Chinese Communism.

    "The fact the Chinese government had so much access to American classrooms, students, and curriculums should worry families," PDE senior adviser Michele P. Exner wrote to McCaul. 

    "The Chinese government has long touted their Confucius programming as a way to advance their strategic goals around the world. In 2009, former Chinese Communist Party Senior Chairman Li Changchun admitted that Confucius Institutes were an ‘important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up’ and in 2017 Chinese government officials lauded the programs as a way to push China’s Belt and Road initiative," the Foxx letter continued. "Security concerns with these China-led courses in America’s schools are well documented." Confucius Institutes were located in American Universities.

    PDE also pointed to a pair of Chinese nationals who taught Mandarin at Appoquinimink School District in Delaware during the 2012-2013 school year. "According to a district webpage, these teachers underwent a ‘rigorous selection process’ in China. This includes interviews with Chinese government officials ‘at the national level,’" according to Exner, who also serves as PDE Action’s director of federal affairs. 

    The letter to McCaul noted that "34 states and the District of Columbia have had schools that have engaged in financial exchanges with the Chinese government or affiliated entities ranging from a few thousand dollars to more than a million dollars per contract," according to PDE findings. 

    "Since 2009, the Chinese government has used Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms to push their agenda in schools around the globe. Chinese Communist Party officials have openly stated how they are using these educational partnerships established under the guise of ‘cultural and language immersion programs’ to expand China’s overseas propaganda campaign," Exner wrote. 

    PDE informed Rogers that Confucius Institutes and Classrooms were operating in schools in the vicinity of the following U.S. military bases including U.S. Naval Academy, Buckley Air Force Base and Space Force, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Dover Air Force Base, Fort Bliss, Fort Liberty, Fort Knox, Naval Station Great Lakes, Hanscom Air Force Base, Hill Air Force Base, Lackland Air Force Base, Langley Air Force Base, Los Angeles Air Force Base, MacDill Air Force Base, McGuire Air Force Base, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Nellis Air Force Base, Naval Station Norfolk, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Naval Base San Diego. 

    "Allowing China to have unfettered access to America’s schools poses significant security risks to students and their families. It becomes even more dangerous when this is happening near sensitive locations containing information critical to our national security," Exner wrote. 

    A similar letter was sent to 33 additional governors on Wednesday morning, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

    PDE's "Little Red Classrooms" report details more examples that the group finds deeply concerning, breaking down the $17,967,565 spent across 143 school districts in 34 states plus the District of Columbia. 

    There are four Maryland schools on the list of Confucius schools:

    Confucius Classrooms | Global Maryland, University of Maryland (umd.edu)

    • Centennial High School(link is external) in Ellicott City, MD, is a public 9-12 school that provides an environment for developing responsibility, integrity, self-respect, and respect for others; for nurturing a desire to be a lifelong learner; for fostering a sense of community; and that upholds an emphasis on academic and personal excellence. 
    • Garrison Forest School(link is external) in Owings Mills, MD, is a private girls’ school with K-6, middle, and high school programs. GF challenges students to strive for academic excellence and grow into independent and creative thinkers; cultivates students with a resilient sense of self; and creates a diverse and inclusive community.
    • Paint Branch Elementary School(link is external) is a public, K-6 school in College Park, MD, not far from the University of Maryland. Paint Branch ES is committed to ensuring that all students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to become productive citizens and lifelong learners.
    • Washington Yu Ying Public Charter Elementary School(link is external)
      , in Washington, D.C., is a K-5 school. Yu Ying aims to spark the fire of lifelong learning by providing a world class education for students, and was the first public school in Washington, D.C. to offer Chinese language immersion.

    There are those pushing back in the United States and internationally. In Oklahoma, State Superintendent of Education Ryan Walters exposed Chinese influence in the Tulsa Public Schools:

    Oklahoma Superintendent Accuses Tulsa Public Schools Of Taking Money From Chinese Government (newson6.com)

    In Sweden, the Institutes were closed nationwide in 2020:

    Sweden has closed all Confucius Institutes and Classrooms - Scandasia

    Confucius Institutes were defunded on U.S. college campuses in 2019 by a bill in the U.S. Senate.

    The recent revelation about the Confucius Classrooms comes at a time when U.S./China relations are contentious. It also coincides with a report about U.S. Naval personnel leaking classified military information to the Chinese:

    Two U.S. sailors charged with sharing military info with China (navytimes.com)

    As reported by many outlets, this is just one possible example of strong Chinese influence in our military and government.

    As tensions grow between China and the U.S., it's likely that many more of the Confucius Classroom programs will be closely examined. However, the American public should be aware of what is going on in their children's schools.

    “The alarming evidence uncovered by our investigation should concern parents, educators, and policymakers alike. Families deserve to know who is influencing the American education system so that they can make informed choices about what their children are learning behind closed doors.”-Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily

    And, those with children in the private schools should also be on the lookout.

    “We truly don’t understand the full extent of Communist China’s meddling in our education system . . . Not only is the CCP trying to promote their propaganda through education programs but are using Chinese shell companies to outright buy American private schools around the country.” Florida Representative Mike Waltz, Daily Mail

    From Turning Point USA:

    The Chinese government has also been tied to several land purchases across the U.S., including land surrounding military bases. As of 2021, China-controlled companies owned more than 380,000 acres of American agricultural land. Some governors have moved to prevent the CCP from purchasing land in their states, such as in Florida and Montana, with several others considering similar bans after weighing the threat to American farmers and food supply.

    Lawmakers have urged the Department of Education to take action against the CCP’s initiatives in U.S. public schools, and are conducting threat assessments in an attempt to fully understand the harm that these programs can cause the American education system now and in the future.

    Additional Source Links:

    China's Infiltration of American Education: $17 Million in CCP Funds Sent to K-12 Schools - TPUSA LIVE

    'Alarming evidence' links China's Communist Party to American K-12 schools, anti-indoctrination group claims | Fox News

    Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) (chinadaily.com.cn)



    Jan Greenhawk

    Jan Greenhawk is a former teacher and school administrator for over thirty years. She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Maryland. She also spent over twenty-five years coaching/judging gymnastics and coaching women’s softball.
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