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Landmark bill targets hidden foreign funds in schools as officials warn of CCP influence

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EXCLUSIVE: A new House bill introduced Friday seeks to mandate that parents be informed of any foreign-sourced or funded curricula as a stipulation of their child’s school receiving federal support.

The subject has grown in significance in recent months as states like Oklahoma have sought to blunt the influence of programs purportedly connected to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) such as “Confucius Classrooms.”

In Congress, members of the House Education & Workforce Committee put forward the bill Friday afternoon and expect to move it through the legislative process soon, lawmakers involved told Fox News Digital.

The TRACE (Transparency in Reporting of Adversarial Contributions to Education) Act will require schools to allow parents the opportunity to review any curriculum that has been provided by or purchased with foreign funds.

CHINESE INFLUENCE IN SCHOOLS LEADS TO GROWN CONCERNS, OKLAHOMA OFFICIAL SAYS

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It will also require that schools notify parents of any foreign contracts or financial transactions they partake in.

The legislation is also intended as a compliment to the Parents Bill of Rights, legislation crafted by Rep. Julia Letlow, R-La. that passed the House in 2023. That legislation would give parents more than a dozen stipulated “rights” that provide more access to and transparency over their child’s daily learning.

Friday’s bill also stipulated parents be notified of how many school employees, if any, are being compensated by another country or “foreign entity of concern” and whether foreign actors have donated to the institution.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., chairs the House Education Committee, and said Friday the TRACE Act will keep parents better informed.

“We know that significant investments from foreign nations are flowing into America’s K-12 schools, possibly impacting decisions regarding personnel or curriculum,” Foxx said.

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“As it stands, school administrators are not required to share where their funding comes from. That’s unacceptable.”

Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fla., chief sponsor of the TRACE Act, said U.S. schools are for “education, not espionage” and that parents should be in control.

“We cannot allow our students — the future of our great nation — to be corrupted by foreign adversaries who are systematically and aggressively attempting to influence our nation’s K-12 schools,” Bean said.

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“Yet this is what happens when our institutions of learning accept the Trojan Horse of foreign funding. My bill aims to solidify the rights of parents to know how foreign influence may be impacting their child’s classroom and deter the ability of foreign nations to reach America’s youth.”

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In 2023, Oklahoma’s top elected education official also called for congressional action to blunt foreign influence in schools and pledged to be on the front lines of pushing back against untoward interference in children’s education.

Oklahoma Superintendent of Education Ryan Walters said at the time it is a national security risk to allow foreign influence in U.S. schools, particularly without public or parental knowledge. His comments came after his office investigated a school district that had been utilizing the “Confucius Classroom” programs.

On Friday, Walters spoke to Fox News Digital on the broader subject of foreign interference in schools and referenced his probe into the Tulsa school system at the time, which he said has since been resolved.

In a statement to Fox News at the time, Tulsa Public Schools said the district “has no Confucius classroom programs in its schools.” In a report from The Oklahoman, the district reportedly funded a professional development class for a Chinese language teacher at one high school, which was facilitated through a Confucius Classroom Coordination Office at an outside, Texas-based organization.

Walters said the school was technically correct at the moment it claimed it did not host any such program because the timing followed the state’s announcement of a forthcoming ban.

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“What we found shocking was that the funding was hidden from parents, that it was actually the Chinese Communist Party that was funding a nonprofit that was working directly in the school,” he said Friday.

He said Oklahoma has led the nation in investigating foreign influence in domestic curricula, pointing out that Florida later followed his lead in issuing similar directives.

“What we’ve done here in my agency is not allowed districts to partner with countries that are antagonistic towards the United States, as determined by our national security groups,” he said.

Walters said Oklahoma requires parents to know “who is teaching my kids” and what they are being taught.

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He warned that, without such oversight, there remains the risk of foreign influence from malign nations in the same way that Mao Zedong’s “Little Red Book” manipulated and indoctrinated a generation of Chinese students.

An order from Walters dated Aug. 29, 2023, provided to Fox News Digital demanded superintendents statewide provide his office with a list of foreign governments or organizations that provided funds or “in-kind services” to districts and their dollar amounts. 

Walters said he gave schools about two weeks to come into compliance in that regard.

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Southwest

American tourist taking video over cliff survives 50-foot fall

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Slick moss at the edge of a Switzerland cliff turned an attempted panoramic shot into a near-death scenario for one American tourist. 

Logan Moore, 25, took a wrong step last week while attempting to capture the breathtaking view at the top of a mountain hike in Interlaken, Switzerland on his phone. 

Two weeks earlier, the Arizonan took a one-way flight with his cousin for the backpacking trip of a lifetime.

“I took a video the second before I fell,” he told Fox 10 Phoenix. 

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He plummeted 25 feet, hitting his head on a rock and losing consciousness. 

A clip of the video Logan Moore took just seconds before tumbling 50 feet down a cliff in Switzerland. (Fox News)

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“That platform on my back and that momentum sent me into the crevice where I fell another 25 feet headfirst into the crevice and where I got stuck at the bottom,” Moore said.

Moore said that when he came to at the bottom of the crevasse, he wasn’t sure he’d make it out alive. 

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AZ man survives head first fall in Switzerland

Rescuers are pictured extracting Moore from the crevasse after his fall. (Fox 10 Phoenix)

“I accepted what it is and kind of said some goodbyes. At that point, I didn’t know if I was going to make it out. Then, once I heard my cousin’s voice and my friends overhead, I knew that they weren’t going to go anywhere until I was freed,” he recalled.

Within 20 minutes, the Switzerland mountain rescue team was overhead in a helicopter. Rescuers rappelled down to find Moore and began the descent to where he fell. 

“Then he was able to put the harness around my legs and over my left shoulder, and they had to bring me up about ten feet and then traverse a little bit, like 10 feet because it was so skinny, the crevice was so small,” Moore said.

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AZ man survives head first fall in Switzerland

Moore’s recovery could take anywhere from three to six months, he said. (Fox 10 Phoenix)

Moore was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for a shattered right shoulder, a broken left scapula, two fractured vertebrae and multiple bruises and lacerations, according to a GoFundMe for his medical expenses set up by his family. 

Now, Moore has returned to the Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in his home state of Arizona to recover. 

Logan Moore

Moore sustained a shattered right shoulder, a broken left scapula, two fractured vertebrae and multiple bruises and lacerations. (Fox 10 Phoenix)

His mother, who flew overseas to her son’s side after the accident, told Fox 10 Phoenix that he is “probably the luckiest kid on the planet.”

“I am beyond grateful for that rescue team,” she said.

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Moore told the outlet that his recovery could take anywhere from three to six months – nonrefundable tickets to the upcoming Olympics are his motivation to heal, he said. 

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Los Angeles, Ca

Cybertrucks could be coming to your local police department

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Cybertrucks could be coming to your local police department

Some police departments in Southern California are already using Tesla Model Y electric vehicles as patrol cars. Now, Cybertrucks could be next, according to UP.FIT, a Hawthorne-based company that outfits police departments.

“I can confirm that we have several departments in California, specifically Southern California, that have expressed interest in ordering our new UP.FIT Next-Gen Patrol Cybertruck,” Fleet Director James Hedland told KTLA.

That’s all the company can say – for now. Hedland wouldn’t reveal which departments have ordered Cybertrucks due to contracts they have with their clients.

Recently, the company helped Anaheim’s police department by modifying a fleet of Tesla Y patrol cars as part of a pilot program.

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“We had to seek out alternative vehicle options, which led us to explore utilizing Teslas as police vehicles,” Anaheim Police Chief Rick Armendariz said in an April press release.

UP.FIT specializes in fitting Teslas for fleet use and just introduced the world’s first Tesla Cybertruck police vehicle. The photos posted online have gone viral — with some commenters saying this is taking us one step closer to the types of police equipment seen in Sci-Fi films.

“The UP.FIT Cybertruck Next-Gen Patrol vehicle represents a significant engineering leap into the future and we’re excited to offer law enforcement agencies the future of policing,” said Ben Schaffer, CEO of Unplugged Performance.

An UP.FIT spokesperson says Cybertrucks integrate Tesla’s superior electric vehicle technology with a range of warning lights, sirens, a PA system, and upgraded computer systems.

The new patrol cars even getting a nod from Elon Musk himself on X (formerly Twitter).

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Currently, UP.FIT has begun taking orders for the Cybertruck Next-Gen Patrol, with deliveries expected by late 2024.

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Southwest

Texas federal court strikes down Biden admin protections for LGBTQ students

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A federal judge on Tuesday struck down federal protections for LGBTQ students, saying the Biden administration attempted to rewrite the federal law.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, said officials tried to re-write federal law barring sex discrimination in schools, applying it to LGBTQ students, Reuters reported. The ruling came amid a lawsuit filed by Texas’ Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton.

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas.  (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Paxton argued that legal guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education three years ago was invalid because the agency lacked the power to adopt it and that it could not be enforced in Texas.

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“Joe Biden’s unlawful effort to weaponize Title IX for his extremist agenda has been stopped in its tracks,” Paxton said in a statement. “Threatening to withhold education funding by forcing states to accept ‘transgender’ policies that put women in danger was plainly illegal. Texas has prevailed on behalf of the entire nation.”

It said schools could be denied federal funding for discriminating against students based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. Examples of discrimination include requiring students to use bathrooms and other facilities that correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth.

“To allow Defendants’ unlawful action to stand would be to functionally rewrite Title IX in a way that shockingly transforms American education and usurps a major question from Congress,” wrote O’Connor.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) building

A federal court ruling has made it more difficult for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).  (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images))

Fox News Digital has reached out to the Department of Education and Justice Department. 

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In April, the DOE adopted regulations applying Title IX to LGBTQ students. Tuesday’s decision does not affect those rules, which Texas and other states are challenging in court, Reuters reported. 

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