WASHINGTON – This week, 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.
Senator Scott’s work to fight China’s growing aggression includes:
- Introducing the Know Your App Act to increase transparency and provide parents with information to protect their children online in making informed decisions. The bill would require online app stores to display the country where apps are developed and allow users to filter out applications from countries of concern, including China.
- Championing his landmark Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill aimed at combating the country’s fentanyl crisis by targeting the illicit fentanyl supply chain, from the chemical suppliers in China to the cartels that traffic the drugs in from Mexico.
- Fighting for the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act which would prohibit the sale of American crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to any company under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and prohibit the export of any crude oil from the SPR to China.
- Demanding the Biden administration use the free market and economic freedom, such as sanctions, export controls, and investment screening, to counter China. In his role as Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Senator highlighted ways we can utilize these tools strategically and effectively to curb China’s economic aggression.