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State Supt. Ryan Walters testifies at US House Committee Meeting

BOE Ryan Walters
Posted at 3:23 PM, Sep 18, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — State Superintendent Ryan Walters testified at a U.S. House Committee meeting on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Walters was invited to testify in the subcommittee hearing, "Academic Freedom Under Attack: Loosening the CCP's [Chinese Communist Party] Grip on America's Classroom."

During the testimony, he doubled down on his previous statements about China's role in Oklahoma public schools:

Woke indoctrination has allowed exposure into our classroom and this exposure has allowed a hostile foreign government like China to attack our kids and our future. This failure by Nancy Pelosi and the Biden Administration is criminal at its least and traitorous at its worst. Pelosi and her cohorts, by ignorance or willful act have done more damage and destruction to our country, working hand in hand with Communist China.

The role that people like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have played in vilifying parents while directly empowering hostile foreign governments in education is shameful. The woke left has turned a blind eye to the harmful influence that the CCP exerts through programs like Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms. When we allow hostile foreign governments into our education system, we surrender academic freedom and American values.

At our last State Board Meeting, we passed a measure that will allow us to conduct a more thorough investigation into foreign influence in our schools and provide more transparency to the Oklahoman taxpayer.

2 News previously reported, TPS's Booker T. Washington Chinese learning program worked with a Texas organization.

TheInternational Leadership of Texas Charter School uses a method of teaching that lifts the language learning of Spanish, English and Chinese.

The school is concerned by Walters' statements to the subcommittee.

"We don't touch on anything there about the government, the People's Republic of China," says founder and Superintendent, Eddie Conger.

"No one has passed out any communist propaganda, no one had one anything to encourage a particular viewpoint," says Conger.

Former Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist said the program has been successfully used in BTW.

"I think it's important for Tulsans to understand that this is a contract with the International Leadership of Texas, related to the teacher at Booker T. Washington who has worked with this content successfully for 14 years," said Gist.

When speaking with ILTexas leadership they said there is no partnership with BTW. Conger said they had a discussion with BTW, but they did not provide funding to BTW language programs. Meanwhile, the organization says its funding comes from federal and state funds, not from foreign governments.

Other schools and districts have adopted similar programs in recent years.

TPS says its language curriculum is thoroughly reviewed by the Language and Culture Services Team:

Regarding the curriculum that is used in the classroom, you're correct in concluding that it doesn't come from the organizations referenced in this morning's testimony. Our Language & Culture Services Team followed district protocol in previewing curriculum options with our TPS world language curriculum rubric, holding open houses for teacher and community, holding a two-day textbook committee selection process to make final selections for all world language curricula. Again, the teacher's salary and adopted instructional resources are paid for by Tulsa Public Schools.

2 News reached out to Walters' office for sources supporting his claims and are waiting on a response.

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