On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) led his Senate colleagues in a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona expressing concerns over new reports showing millions of dollars from Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-linked entities have flowed into America’s K-12 classrooms. The Senate letter also requests the U.S. Department of Education conduct a nationwide audit to determine the extent of funding from hostile foreign adversaries in schools. The call for an investigation comes amid revelations that, for nearly two decades, the CCP has threatened our national security by using tools such as grants, sister school partnerships, “Confucius Classrooms,” and other state-sponsored programming to compromise the integrity of America’s K-12 educational system.
Joining Senator Scott are HELP Committee Ranking Member Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio).
“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.”
Read the letter to Secretary Cardona here.
This letter builds on Senator Scott’s recent efforts as Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. As the Committee’s top Republican, Senator Scott introduced an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act that requires the Secretary of the Treasury to report gifts and grants given to U.S. universities from the Chinese military-industrial complex. The amendment is a commonsense step to protect American education and sensitive research from the CCP’s actions to influence academic research and engage in intellectual property theft – an issue the U.S. Department of State has warned about since 2020. The Senate voted to include the amendment in the annual defense bill without opposition.