Dear Governors: Protect Children & American Curriculums from Foreign Influence

Our partner organization, Parents Defending Education, released an investigation on July 26 into Chinese government ties to American K-12 schools. Through records requests and publicly available information, it was discovered that 143 school districts across the United States have engaged in contracts to establish Confucius Institutes and Classrooms, including in three of the nation’s top science and technology high schools.

PDE Action respectfully requests investigations into ties between public schools and Chinese government sponsored programs, such as Confucius Classrooms. While it’s vital for American students to have opportunities to learn world languages and cultures, schools should not give the Chinese government unfettered access to K-12 classrooms. This has the potential of posing significant security risks to students, families, and our national interests.

Through its Ministry of Education, the Chinese government’s ties to American K-12 schools is one facet of the Chinese Communist Party’s larger soft-power effort to influence policies in nations throughout the world. According to the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, developing its Confucius Classroom network in the United States is a top priority for the Chinese government. They openly acknowledge this is a way to advance their strategic goals around the world. In a Chinese state media article from 2016, the Chinese Communist Party “lauded” Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms for promoting its Belt and Road Initiative.

In several cases, Parents Defending Education found that university Confucius Institutes provided the foundation for Confucius Classrooms at nearby school districts. In 2020, the State Department designated Confucius Institutes—the university counterpart of Confucius Classrooms—a “foreign mission” of the Chinese Communist Party. As Parents Defending Education notes in its report: “Confucius Institutes are funded in part by the Chinese government under guidance from the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, ‘the Chinese Communist Party’s overseas propaganda and influence operation.’” Li Changchun, the former chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, in 2009 boasted that Confucius Institutes are “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.”

PDE Action hopes you will take this opportunity to audit schools’ ties to the Chinese government—which is inseparable from the Chinese Communist Party. American students should not be subjected to Chinese Communist Party propaganda under the guise of Chinese language and culture programming.

PDE Action wrote to Governors Katie Hobbs of Arizona, Gavin Newsom of California, Jared Polis of Colorado, Ned Lamont of Connecticut, John Carney of Delaware, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Andy Beshear of Kentucky, Maura Healey of Massachusetts, Wes Moore of Maryland, Janet Mills of Maine, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Joe Lombardo of Nevada, Kathy Hochul of New York, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Tina Kotek of Oregon, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, Daniel McKee of Rhode Island, Bill Lee of Tennessee, Greg Abbott of Texas, Spencer Cox of Utah, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, Phil Scott of Vermont, Jay Inslee of Washington, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Jim Justice of West Virginia, Mark Gordon of Wyoming as well as Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington DC.

Letter to Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs

Letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom

Letter to Colorado Governor Jared Polis

Letter to Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont

Letter to Delaware Governor John Carney

Letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Letter to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

Letter to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

Letter to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker

Letter to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear

Letter to Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey

Letter to Maryland Governor Wes Moore

Letter to Maine Governor Janet Mills

Letter to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Letter to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

Letter to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper

Letter to New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu

Letter to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

Letter to Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo

Letter to New York Governor Kathy Hochul

Letter to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

Letter to Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt

Letter to Oregon Governor Tina Kotek

Letter to Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro

Letter to Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee

Letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee

Letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Letter to Utah Governor Spencer Cox

Letter to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin

Letter to Vermont Governor Phil Scott

Letter to Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Letter to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers

Letter to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice

Letter to Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon

Letter to Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser