Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) office on Friday announced the suspension of school choice scholarships to four schools over their alleged “direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party.”
“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,” reads a news release from the governor’s office.
The release also noted a bill that DeSantis signed into law in May barring private schools in the state from “participating in an educational scholarship program” if they are “owned or operated by a person or an entity domiciled in, owned by, or in any way controlled by a foreign country of concern or foreign principal.” The law then references a different law that lists China as a “country of concern.”
“The Chinese Communist Party is not welcome in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in the release. “We will not put up with any attempt to influence students with a communist ideology or allow Floridians’ tax dollars to go to schools that are connected to our foreign adversaries.”
The schools are part of “a multi-brand education network” called Spring Education Group. The group says it is “controlled by Primavera Holdings Limited, an investment firm (together with its affiliates) principally based in Hong Kong with operations in China, Singapore, and the United States, that is itself owned by Chinese persons residing in Hong Kong,” on the schools’ websites.
DeSantis has also recently signed bills that ban Chinese citizens from buying land in Florida and make the state’s Department of Management Services “create a list of prohibited applications owned by a foreign principal or foreign countries of concern, including China, which present a cybersecurity and data privacy risk.”
A federal judge denied a request by Chinese citizens to halt the land ownership law back in August.