A total of 18 Republican senators wrote to United States Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona this week with an unusual demand: an investigation into school funding owing to supposed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence.
The letter followed a report from the conservative Parents Defending Education organization, a non-profit dedicated to privatizing public school management and removing teachings on racism, gender identity and more. Nevertheless, the investigation purported to detail nearly two decades of CCP efforts through grants, sister school partnerships and more to compromise the U.S. educational system, and it struck a nerve with the senators, who called for a nationwide scrutinization of the extent of funding from hostile foreign adversaries in elementary and secondary schools.
“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,” wrote the senators. “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, in addition to the PRC, may have already gained access to our K-12 schools.”
The effort was led by U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Jim Risch (R-ID). In their letter, they went so far as to label the CCP the greatest threat to modern American security, and accused any inroads into American education as an expansion of communist propaganda.
“Parents deserve transparency and policymakers must know the extent of the problem so we can work on solutions to protect both our students and our national security,” the senators wrote.
They asked for a response by Sept. 8, 2023, with details on such an audit and the scope of its review.