Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office announced on Friday the suspension of school choice scholarships for four schools due to their alleged “direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party.”
In a news release from the governor’s office, it stated, “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.”
The release also highlighted a law signed by DeSantis in May that prohibits private schools in Florida from participating in an educational scholarship program if they are owned or operated by a person or entity domiciled in, owned by, or in any way controlled by a foreign country of concern or foreign principal. The law references another law that designates China as a “country of concern.”
“The Chinese Communist Party is not welcome in the state of Florida,” declared DeSantis in the release. “We will not tolerate any attempt to influence students with a communist ideology or allow taxpayer dollars to fund schools connected to our foreign adversaries.”
The affected schools are part of a multi-brand education network called Spring Education Group. According to the schools’ websites, the group is controlled by Primavera Holdings Limited, an investment firm based primarily in Hong Kong with operations in China, Singapore, and the United States, owned by Chinese individuals residing in Hong Kong.
In addition to this action, DeSantis has recently signed bills prohibiting Chinese citizens from buying land in Florida and directing the state’s Department of Management Services to create a list of prohibited applications owned by foreign principals or foreign countries of concern, including China, that pose cybersecurity and data privacy risks.
In August, a federal judge denied a request by Chinese citizens to halt the land ownership law.
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