CCP-Aligned Confucius Institute Continuing to Indoctrinate Oklahoma Students, State Superintendant Warns

Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters is raising the alarm about an apparent effort by CCP sympathizers to propagandize students in his state.
CCP-Aligned Confucius Institute Continuing to Indoctrinate Oklahoma Students, State Superintendant Warns
A Confucius Institute at the University of North Florida in this file photo. The institute has since been closed by the university. (Huang Yuntian/The Epoch Times)
Ryan Morgan
Steve Lance

Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters is raising the alarm about an apparent effort by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sympathizers to propagandize students in his state.

In July, the organization Parents Defending Education (PDE) published a report detailing partnerships various public school boards around the country had entered into with the CCP-aligned Confucius Institute. The PDE report indicated the Confucius Institute had provided $17.9 million to 143 U.S. school districts between 2009 and 2023. While many Confucius Institute partnerships have been shut down under increasing Western scrutiny, the PDE report indicates several school districts have continued their partnerships with the CCP-aligned program, including Tulsa Public Schools.
In an Aug. 2 video post on the X social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Mr. Walters drew particular attention to a Confucius Institute partnership with public schools in Tulsa.

“We found out that our biggest school district, which is also our poorest performing district, Tulsa Public Schools, was taking money from the Communist Party in China to teach these Confucius Institutes,” Mr. Walters said, elaborating on the allegations during an interview with NTD News’ “Capitol Report” on Tuesday.

The PDE report specifically alleges the Confucius Institute is indirectly funding the Tulsa schools through a third-party organization, the International Leadership of Texas Global.

“They have been funneling this money through a nonprofit to have schools teach about Chinese government and Chinese history, and they literally censor the content,” Mr. Walters said. “They tell the schools they can only teach certain aspects of it, and it is this view that in communist China, there are no problems there and it’s this great form of government.”

NTD News reached out to both the Confucius Institute and the International Leadership of Texas Global for comment. Neither organization responded by the time this article was published.

‘We Are Going to Put an End to This’: Walters

Mr. Walters credited former President Donald Trump with helping to counter the Confucius Institute’s influence in the United States. In August of 2020, while President Trump was in office, the U.S. State Department designated the Chinese organization to be a foreign mission of the Chinese regime. Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision to designate the Confucius Institute as a Chinese government mission was intended to better prepare U.S. schools and to ensure that U.S. students are able to continue their Chinese language and cultural studies “free from the manipulation of the Chinese Communist Party and its proxies.”

Despite this effort, Mr. Walters said the pressure on the Confucius Institute has lessened in recent years, allowing partnerships like the one with Tulsa Public Schools to persist.

“We are going to put an end to this,” Mr. Walters said. “We have required the school district turn over all materials and all dollars that they have taken on this program. And we’ve said there’s no school that should be taking money from communist China to teach indoctrination to our kids.”

Mr. Walters said he’s also worked to prevent the Confucius Institute from continuing to fund partnership programs through third-party organizations.

“I passed a measure through in Oklahoma that says not only do you have to tell me as the State Superintendent, when you take any money from a foreign government, you also have to show us all dollars you take through nonprofits because we’ve got to be able to see where’s money coming into our schools?” he said.

Mr. Walters also argued in favor of legislation to require schools to be more transparent about what they’re teaching.

“We don’t have the transparency over education that we should, we don’t have the accountability over our schools. We’ve seen the critical race theory, the radical gender ideology. We haven’t got a hold of these problems, and so the communist government is able to easily push these things in under the cover of a nonprofit, and also, you’ve got these types of courses going on with our kids,” he said. “And again, our schools continue to fight parents being involved and being able to see what’s going on.”