DeSantis Halts School Choice Scholarships for Florida Schools With Ties to CCP

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he was cutting school choice scholarships to four schools that the Florida Department of Education has determined to have “direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party.”

“We will not allow Florida’s tax dollars to go to schools with connections to adversarial foreign nations,” DeSantis declared.

“Through a thorough investigation, [the Florida Department of Education] has determined that Lower and Upper Sagemont Preparatory Schools in Weston, Parke House Academy in Winter Park, and Park Maitland School in Winter Park have direct ties to the CCP and their connections constitute an imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare of these school’s students and the public,” reads a news release from the governor’s office.

The release alsonoted a billDeSantis signed into law in Maybarring private schoolsin the state from “participating in an educational scholarship program” if they are “owned or operated by a person or an entity domiciled in, owned by, or in any way controlled by a foreign country of concern or foreign principal.” The law then references a differentlaw that lists Chinaas a “country of concern.”

“The Chinese Communist Party is not welcome in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in the release. “We will not put up with any attempt to influence students with a communist ideology or allow Floridians’ tax dollars to go to schools that are connected to our foreign adversaries.”

The schools are allegedly part of something called the Spring Education Group which is controlled by Primavera Holdings, an investment firm, “owned by Chinese persons residing in Hong Kong.”

Park Maitland School has denied any connection to the CCP. 

“Our schools are locally run, abide by local, state, and federal laws, and do not have ties to any government or political party, either foreign or domestic. Our curriculum is accredited, standards-based, and academically rigorous,” the spokesperson also said.

The House held a hearing last week to look into the question of the CCP’s influence in American classrooms. The hearing focused on things like Confucious Classrooms which the lawmakers said had ties to the CCP and had received millions in various government funding and was operating in classrooms across the country. Lawmakers raised the question of a national security threat and influence on the students.

Meanwhile, by contrast, the Biden team is cutting initiatives like the Trump DOJ initiative aimed at checking the malign influence of China. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) excoriated Attorney General Merrick Garland for this action when Garland was being grilled before the House Judiciary Committee last week. Gaetz asked why would you cut out something that was working? He then pointed out all the Chinese money that has gone into Biden family-related bank accounts through shell companies. Garland claimed to not know anything about the shell companies and claimed they were broadening out their approach by cutting the initiative, which didn’t make a lot of sense.

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