Washington, D.C.- Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14), and Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) introduced the Combatting the Lies of Authoritarians in School Systems (CLASS) Act to protect American educational systems from influence from Communist China or the People’s Republic of China.
This legislation is in response to a report from Parents Defending Education which unearthed contracts for “Confucius Classrooms” between 143 K-12 schools and a Chinese government entity across 34 states and DC, including New York. These funds come with incentives from the schools, including fully funded teacher exchanges, Chinese language programs and opportunities for American students to learn in China.
“American students are being force fed Chinese Communist Party propaganda as school systems nationwide accept significant funding from CCP linked financial institutions. In New York alone, China’s infiltration into New York schools totaled to a shocking $375,575 in CCP connecting funding. 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,” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. “I am proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation, The Combatting the Lies of Authoritarians in School Systems (CLASS) Act, with my colleagues Rep. Dave Joyce and Rep. Ed Case to block Communist China from having a seat in any American classroom.”
“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,” said Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14). “This bipartisan legislation is a crucial step in preventing China’s influence from spreading into the American education system. Thank you to Chairwoman Stefanik and Congressman Case for their support in protecting our young minds in Ohio and across the country.”
“The People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party have demonstrated repeatedly that there are no boundaries in the deliberate spread of propaganda and disinformation, including the classrooms of the world,” said Congressman Ed Case (HI-01). “We can and should value real cultural exchange to foster mutual goodwill and understanding, but we must be eyes wide open to exploitation of our best intentions in our most valued institutions.”
“It would be naïve to think the Chinese Communist Party has any interest in furthering the academic development of American students. 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,” said Director of Federal Affairs for Parents Defending Education Action, Michelle Exner. “A recent report released by our partner organization ‘Parents Defending Education’ showed over the past decade that nearly $18 million in China-linked funding has been found in 143 school districts across the country. This is a serious security concern that should alarm families and government leaders alike. That is why we commend the work of Chairwoman Elise Stefanik and Representative David Joyce for their work in quickly spearheading a comprehensive bill that will address this urgent matter. The People’s Republic of China has no business involving itself in our classrooms and we are confident this bill will make considerable progress in protecting students, their families, and America’s security.”
Stefanik continues to hold Communist China accountable for their overt attempts to buy influence in American schools. In August 2023, Stefanik joined a letter with her New York colleagues to New York Governor Kathy Hochul following the release of Parents Defending Education’s report demanding answers on accountability for this funding. Stefanik also led the Halting Academic Liaisons To (HALT) our Adversaries Act to prohibit U.S. institutions of higher education from receiving federal funding if these colleges or universities maintain partnerships with any entity controlled by Communist China.