Dear State Superintendents: Protect Student and School Data from Foreign Adversaries

Press Releases

The Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently held a hearing to address China’s repeated, hostile cybersecurity attacks targeting American servicemembers, critical infrastructure, businesses, and other vital U.S. institutions:

●  Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, reported that CCP hackers accessed computer systems of two dozen critical infrastructure entities in the United States. The hackers attempted to access an electric grid in Texas to install malware that could “disrupt or damage the infrastructure.”1

●  The Chinese government has successfully hacked and collected data on American businesses and the military. FBI Director Christopher Wray, who testified at the hearing, noted that China’s hacking operation is bigger than that of every other country in the world combined.2

●  The FBI recently thwarted Chinese hackers who targeted critical infrastructure, including “our communications, energy, transportation, and water sectors,” with malware embedded into internet routers, Wray said during his testimony.

The Chinese government’s infiltration of American infrastructure and institutions extends to education. More than 140 school districts in the United States fostered relationships with the People’s Republic of China and CCP-affiliated entities, according to a report we released last summer called Little Red Classrooms.3 Our report includes school districts in your state.

One of the most alarming incidents noted in the report came from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia—the nation’s top high school. A nonprofit entity operating out of the school received more than $1 million from CCP-affiliated entities and gave Chinese diplomats access to laboratory equipment. With the information gleaned as part of this partnership, the Chinese government established a string of schools in China built on Thomas Jefferson’s model, called “Thomas Schools.”4

In light of this hearing, and the increased awareness of the Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration into American schools, Parents Defending Education formally requests your state department of education to probe school districts’ servers for potential signs of malware, hacking, security breaches, or data collection at the hands of the Chinese government.

Americans deserve to know if hackers, acting at the behest of the Chinese government, have embedded malware into school computers, servers, or internet routers. Parents deserve to know if an adversarial foreign nation has access to their child’s school data. It is vital for your department to take immediate action to ensure that your schools, your students, and their families are safe.

As Representative Krishnamoorthi rightly noted in the hearing, China’s cybersecurity threats are intended “to potentially harm us in a time of conflict.” Leaders at the state and federal level must step up to protect American citizens—including American schoolchildren—from the persistent cybersecurity threats posed by the Chinese government.

Let’s make one thing clear: China’s interest in the American education system is not for the benefit of the American children. Rather, it’s part of the communist regime’s long-term strategy to soften American and global sentiments toward its own political goals.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance to you in this matter. We appreciate your consideration and hope you will take this opportunity to do what you can to protect students in your state.


Alex Nester
Investigative Fellow
Parents Defending Education


1 & 2. Hearing Notice: The CCP cybersecurity threat to the American homeland and national security. Select Committee on the CCP. January 31, 2024

3. Little Red Classrooms. Parents Defending Education. July 27, 2023

4. The Thomas Schools of China. Home – Thomas International Schools


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Letter to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond

Letter to Colorado Commissioner of Education Susana Córdova

Letter to Connecticut Commissioner for the State Department of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker

Letter to Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Holodick

Letter to Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz

Letter to Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods

Letter to Illinois State Superintendent of Education Tony Sanders

Letter to Iowa Education Director McKenzie Snow

Letter to Kentucky Interim Commissioner of Education Robin Fields Kinney

Letter to Maine Commissioner of Education Pender Makin

Letter to Maryland Interim State Superintendent of Schools Carey Wright

Letter to Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey Riley

Letter to Michigan State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Rice

Letter to Minnesota Commissioner of Education Willie Jett

Letter to Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert

Letter to New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut

Letter to New Jersey Acting Commissioner of Education Angelica Allen-McMillan

Letter to New York Commissioner of Education Dr. Betty Rosa

Letter to North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt

Letter to Ohio Department of Education and Workforce Director Stephen Dackin

Letter to Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters

Letter to Oregon Department of Education Director Dr. Charlene Williams

Letter to the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Khalid Mumin

Letter to Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Angélica Infante-Green

Letter to Tennessee Commissioner of Education Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds

Letter to Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath

Letter to Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson

Letter to Vermont Interim Secretary of Education Heather Bouchey

Letter to Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Coons

Letter to Washington State Superintendent of Education Chris Reykdal

Letter to West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools Michele Blatt

Letter to Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly

Letter to Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder

Letter to Washington, D.C. Superintendent of Education Christina Grant