CCP Funds Confucius Classrooms Across U.S.
A quick look at the website for the International Leadership of Texas (ILTexas) gives a picture of a prosperous free-charter school serving over 23,000 K-12 students at 22 physical campuses across Texas. ILTexas Schools operates as a third-party nonprofit that can mask funding ties to the Chinese Communist Party, and subsequently to the schools they serve. They may provide salaries for Chinese teachers and funding for Chinese cultural programs for the students. One of their most successful after-school programs at the University of Oklahoma is patterned after an ILTexas model.
For 14 years, Tulsa Public Schools (TPS), the largest school district in Oklahoma, has hosted an ILTexas Chinese-language and cultural program at one of its most prestigious magnet schools. In 2022, a newly elected school board member, E’Lena Ashley, was the first to vote against renewing the contract to continue the Confucius Institute’s center. The move by Ashley prompted an investigation by Oklahoma State School Superintendent Ryan Walters to investigate the Confucius classrooms. He gave his report at a Sept. 19, 2023, meeting in Washington, D.C. At that Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee meeting, Walters said he discovered a series of nonprofits that sponsor the TPS programs, all of which maintained an active connection with the CCP. Walters noted that the federal government’s 2020 crackdown on the programs at the university level had not diminished the number of Confucius Institutes, as the CCP merely changed the emphasis to K-12.
A bit of background: In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the CCP’s ambitious global infrastructure plan, the Belt-Road Initiative. As a rising world power, China would invest in projects in over 150 countries that would showcase China’s position as a rising world power while expanding its influence. The projects would culminate in 2049, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
While most developments consist of brick-and-mortar projects, many do not. The CCP’s massive influence in U.S. education recently came under scrutiny from Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., who sounded an alarm about the CCP’s purchase of strategically located U.S. military academies through the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Waltz also raised concerns about the schools’ use of communist curricula.
Such infringement should rouse every American citizen. Looking at the history of the CCP’s invasion of the U.S. education system, we can gather insight into how to pray for God’s protection over our students.
In 2004, the CCP began establishing Confucius Institute “cultural” centers on U.S. college and university campuses. By 2014, 188 centers existed. The Trump administration demanded that the State Department and FBI scrutinize the institutes for promoting Chinese communist propaganda and stealing intellectual property, causing the numbers to diminish. Even after the Biden administration rescinded the Trump effort, the centers continued to dwindle. But they did not disappear. Many renamed themselves as a Center for Language and Education Cooperation, redirecting their focus to establishing nonprofit centers in our K-12 schools. The CCP boasts such “cultural centers” in over 500 U.S. K-12 schools today. Other Confucius Institutes began working with the United Front Work Department, allowing them to function as an arm of the CCP on higher education campuses. Recently, several congressional Republicans expressed their concerns over the CCP’s influence on primary and secondary school education through these newly formed “cultural” centers.
“The Chinese government is betting that if it takes away the name ‘Confucius Institute’ and tweaks the program’s structure, no one will be the wiser,” said Rachel Peterson, a research fellow at the National Association of Scholars.
Along with their public school endeavors, the CCP also focused on U.S. private schools. On Jan. 31, 2023, Rep. Waltz sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressing concerns over the CCP’s purchase of private schools across America.
Waltz requested audits on two military academies with locations that present national security risks. The Florida Preparatory Academy, a coeducational college-prep school for grades 5-12, houses an Air Force ROTC program. That school is near the Melbourne, Florida, space technology hub. Newopen Education Group purchased the military school in 2017. Newopen is a China-based company that describes itself on LinkedIn as “the most influential and valuable education group in China.” Newopen manages two universities, five middle schools, two primary schools, and 31 kindergartens.
The New York Military Academy, which President Trump attended as a young man, runs an Army JROTC program 6 miles from West Point. The academy, purchased in 2015, is owned by the Research Center on Natural Conservation, backed by China-based Fang Holdings Ltd.
The military academies are the tip of the iceberg. In December 2017, Primavera Capital, a China-based private equity firm, purchased the California-based Stratford School K-12 system for approximately $500 million. Stratford boasts 30 locations — five in Southern California, and 25 in the Greater Bay Area.
Waltz’s alarm over the CCP’s attempts to influence the next generation of our citizens is something that even President George Washington expressed as long ago as 1799. Writing about the dangers of American youth being educated in foreign schools that do not hold to the values of our republic and freedoms, he said: “It has always been a source of serious regret with me to see the youth of these United States sent to foreign countries for the purpose of education … contracting too frequently, not only habits of dissipation and extravagance, but principles unfriendly to Republican Government, and to the true and genuine liberty of mankind: which thereafter are rarely overcome” (Schroeder, p. 74, 1989).
Turning our concerns into prayers, we dare to believe that God will protect and redeem education in America.
Share your prayers below for the protection of children across America.
Nancy Huff is an educator with a mission to equip believers to pray strategically for the cultural mountain of education. She is the author of Taking the Mountain of Education: A Strategic Prayer Guide to Transform American Schools; Safety Zone: Scriptural Prayers to Revolutionize Your School; and Decrees for Your School. She leads groups for prayer at key educational locations across the U.S. Find out more by visiting TakingTheMountainOfEducation.com. Photo Credit: Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash.
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