Top Oklahoma official alleges teachers unions, China are cheerleading anti-Americanism in schools

Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters said that "woke" administrators are also contributing to the problem. 

Published: August 12, 2023 7:06am

Updated: August 13, 2023 12:00pm

Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters says teachers unions and China-funded interests are pushing anti-Americanism in the public schools and it is coming at the expense of students' skills in math and reading.

"You hear it from the NEA [National Education Association]," Walters said on the Thursday edition of the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show. "They want every bit of anti Americanism funneled into our schools. They want to undermine American institutions."

Teachers unions have gotten some pushback from concerned parents nationwide over the years, specifically post COVID-19 where unions were advocating for masks and continued remote learning. Some parents even said they felt like they had no voice in their children's education during that time. 

Walters said that woke administrators also contribute to the problem. 

"We've got woke administrators," he added. "You know, we have an administrator at Tulsa Public Schools that continues to push every left-wing ideology. We caught them with critical race theory in their schools. We caught them with this radical gender theory in their schools."

He explained that if kids are constantly being taught this ideology, they fall behind in important basic subjects such as math and English. 

"It's no coincidence that Tulsa Public Schools is the lowest performing district in the state," Walters said. "There have been 15 school sites that have less than 5% of their kids reading proficiently. Again, it's not a coincidence when your administrators push ideology and push leftism, you neglect basic math and basic reading."  

Walters also warned that since Joe Biden took office, he has seen a marked increase of Chinese funding encouraging Marxist influence in the U.S. education system.

Federal lawmakers have previously pushed legislation addressing the activities in institutions of higher learning by The Confucius Institute, a PRC-funded, 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity based in Washington, DC, whose stated mission according to the Congressional Research Service, is in part "to help improve China’s international image or reduce what PRC officials view as misconceptions about China."  

In August 2020, the Trump Administration designated the Confucius Institute as a “foreign mission” of the PRC. The designation requires the nonprofit to regularly file information about its operations with the Department of State. In June of this year, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl) introduced legislation prohibiting any Pentagon funding for colleges that host Confucius Institutes. 

"We have already seen instances of the curriculum intentionally censoring any kind of criticism of the Chinese government. We see certain topics off limits in these courses about China," he said. "It is very intentional here while they are instructing our students, as we've seen over decades, the belief in our school systems to undermine American exceptionalism, undermine American greatness."

Tulsa Public Schools and the National Education Association did not immediatetly respond for comment.

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