Gann Files Bill to Protect Oklahoma Students from Hostile Foreign Governments

Jan 18, 2024
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, said he is taking a proactive step toward safeguarding Oklahoma’s public school students with the introduction of House Bill 3112. The bill would prohibit schools and school districts from accepting financial donations or gifts from countries designated as "hostile" or "Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)" by the United States Secretary of State.

On Sept. 21, 2023, Superintendent for Public Instruction Ryan Walters issued a report to the Legislature from his testimony to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. He described the involvement of the Chinese Communist Party in Oklahoma public education.

The hearing titled "Academic Freedom Under Attack: Loosening the CCP's Grip on America's Classrooms," covered the investigation that began under the Trump Administration, and the work of Parents Defending Education. Gann said the hearing uncovered the covert efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to influence young people in the United States through the nation's universities and K-12 systems of public education.

"One of the most disturbing statements in the report was, 'The Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF), a Chinese-based organization sponsored by the CCP, is directly mentioned ten times in a contract that Tulsa Public Schools signed with the Confucius Classroom Coordination Office (CCCO) within the nonprofit IL Texas Global," Gann said.

"We must never allow an avowed enemy of America and of freedom direct influence over the education of our children," he said.

HB3112 would prevent school districts from accepting funding from hostile foreign governments beginning in the 2024-25 school year going forward. In addition to the prohibition, the bill mandates that school districts annually report any receipt of donations or gifts falling within the specified criteria. These reports will be required to be submitted through the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System used by schools and the state Department of Education, ensuring transparency and accountability in financial transactions.

The bill contains an emergency clause, so it would take effect immediately upon being signed into law. It will be eligible to be considered when the regular legislative session starts. Feb. 5. 

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