HALL MONITOR: “YES” on Protecting  Education from Malign Foreign Influence Act (S.3443)

Name: U.S. Senate Bill 3443, Protecting Education from Malign Foreign Influence Act of 2023.

Summary: Increases foreign funding reporting requirements for elementary, secondary, and higher education and prevents K-12 schools and school staff from entering into contracts and relationships with adversarial foreign governments or their agents, officials, or other designated persons.

Status: Introduced in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Bill Sponsor: Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the bill on December 7, 2023. Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Tim Scott (R-SC) joined as original cosponsors.

A sponsor is a legislator who presents a bill to the legislature to be considered for a vote.

Bill Breakdown: 

The bill would lower the threshold for universities to disclose contracts and gifts from foreign sources from $250,000 to $50,000. It would also prohibit K-12 public schools from entering into contracts with individuals acting on behalf of a foreign adversary, such as the Chinese Communist Party. It extends this requirement to teachers and staff as well as the school itself. It also prevents schools and school staff from receiving gifts from, entering into contracts with, or otherwise maintaining relationships with adversarial foreign governments and their agents, including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, or countries designated by the Secretary of State in the future. It restricts federal funding to schools that do not develop policies to prohibit these relationships, including at Bureau of Indian Education schools and private schools, and requires the U.S. Secretary of Education to provide annual reports to Congress regarding relationships of concern.

The bill also increases reporting requirements and restricts federal funding to universities that engage in relationships with foreign adversaries, and requires the federal government to ban such funding and relationships in service academies, Department of Defense Education Activity Schools, and Bureau of Indian Education Schools.

Why does PDE Action support this bill? 

The presence of a foreign adversary in K-12 classrooms is a significant vulnerability to our national security and to the interests of our nation’s school-aged children. Parents deserve to know if adversarial governments have access to and influence over their children’s education and data. The federal government has a responsibility to defend our schools from security concerns from foreign governments.

PDE Action’s partner organization, Parents Defending Education, recently published a report detailing CCP funding, curriculum, and student data access in K-12 classrooms, and PDE Action has urged Congress and state governors to act swiftly in protecting students from harmful influence from foreign adversaries.