'The Chinese Government Set Up In Schools To Spread Communism': Walters Testifies To US House Committee

Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters testified in front of a US House committee on Chinese influence in Oklahoma schools, bringing comments and concerns from committee members.

Tuesday, September 19th 2023, 4:28 pm

State Superintendent Ryan Walters testified to a US House committee on China's influence in our schools.

Walters called out Tulsa Public Schools, claiming they received funds from the Chinese government.

Tuesday, he doubled down on that claim in front of Congress.

Walters testified in front of the US House Education and Workforce Committee on potential Chinese influence in schools.

“The Chinese government actively set up in schools in higher ed and K-12 to spread communism and undermine the United States,” Walters said.

Walters spoke specifically about Tulsa Public Schools, but did not provide proof during his testimony.

“That school district maintains an active connection with the CCP through a program called Confucius Classrooms,” Walters said.

Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) pointed out that Walters’ testimony focused a lot on the influence of outside funding on the education system, questioning Walters about consistency.

“Are you aware PragerU, the non-accredited education site to which you just announced your partnership, has received millions of dollars from outside oil and gas companies. And that’s okay?” Grijalva said. 
“They promote American values without indoctrination,” Walters said.
“Well, so much for consistency,” Grijalva said.

Other Democrat representatives argued this could result in a negative perception of Chinese-American citizens.

“Instead, we can and should discuss how we can provide students with an accurate and well-funded education without promotion of conspiracy theories, fear mongering or feeling anti-Asian-American discrimination,” Representative Suzanna Bonamici (D-OR) said.

Walters claims Chinese interference in schools is a national security concern. He called on Congress to take action.

“Pass a law to ban schools from accepting money from hostile foreign governments, and prohibit schools from entering into data-sharing agreements with hostile foreign governments,” Walters said.

He is also urging Congress to require districts to report any foreign funds or nonprofit money accepted. Oklahoma voted to require this during its last state board meeting.

“Hopefully, we can take action as they’ve done in Oklahoma, and across the nation, of what they’ve done to counteract,” Representative Aaron Bean (R-FL) said.

In a statement, Tulsa Public Schools said:

"Contrary to accusations, the district takes no funds from the Chinese government and has no Confucius Classroom programs in its schools."

What is a Confucius Classroom?

A Confucius Classroom, according to the University of Southern California China Institute, was a K-12 program that grew out of Confucius Institutes, which were set up in universities. Both Confucius Classrooms and Institutes sought, “ to promote study of Chinese culture and language and to forge positive bonds with educators and students,” USC said.

At its peak, there were around 120 Confucius Institutes in America. Only 30 remain open, according to USC.

The Chinese Government provided funding for these programs. According to Parents Defending Education, $17,967,565.12 was sent to US schools from 2009 to 2023.

Are there Confucius Classrooms in Oklahoma?

The University of Oklahoma had a Confucius Institute that closed amid scrutiny in 2021, according to the OU Daily

Parents Defending Education claims that Tulsa Public Schools had a Confucius Classroom in Carver Middle School until 2021.


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