by Vivian Jones
College Board, the entity responsible for developing SAT and AP tests, will sever financial ties with the Chinese Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) at the end of the year.
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, and six other U.S. senators sent a letter to College Board CEO David Coleman last week, asking for clarification of the board’s financial relationship with Hanban and the extent of Chinese government influence on test development and guest teacher placements in the U.S.
College Board has received an annual grant from Hanban since 2006 to support teaching and learning of Chinese language and culture in U.S. schools, College Board Senior Vice President Elissa Kim said in response the senators’ letter.
College Board no longer will pursue grant funding from the Chinese, Kim said.
“2020 is the final year in which the College Board will receive or pursue any grant funding from Hanban,” Kim wrote.
Kim said the board worked with Hanban to build school districts’ Chinese language programs, but as programs are becoming more established, the board’s work with Hanban has reduced in scope.
“I want to state unequivocally: Hanban and the Chinese government has never had any influence on the content of College Board curricular or educational programs; indeed, no foreign entity has such influence, nor will they ever,” Kim wrote.
The U.S. Department of State designated the central Confucius Institute organization in the U.S. as a foreign mission of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in August.
“The [Chinese Communist Party] will continue looking for other avenues to gain influence in the American education system, and we must remain vigilant and push back against Chinese influence,” Blackburn said in a tweet Monday afternoon.
Joining Blackburn in correspondence with the College Board were Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas; Josh Hawley, R-Missouri; Kelly Loeffler, R-Georgia; Mike Lee, R-Utah; James Lankford, R-Oklahoma; and Marco Rubio, R-Florida.
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Vivian Jones reports on Tennessee and South Carolina for The Center Square. Her writing has appeared in the Detroit News, The Hill, and publications of The Heartland Institute.