A curriculum company with links to Attorney General Merrick Garland sells local educators on its “woke” education materials and shows them how to stick state and federal taxpayers with the bill.
Panorama Education, founded by Garland’s son-in-law Xan Tanner, produces teaching materials focused on systemic racism, oppression, white supremacy, and intersectionality, all under the rubric of “Social-Emotional Learning.” The multimillion-dollar company’s marketing plan appears to be to get educators to buy in and then show them how to pay for it all with government grants.
“International SEL Day is a perfect opportunity to tell your policymakers that committing to dismantling systems of oppression and advancing equity-centered SEL is important to you,” the Panorama “toolkit” reads. “Reach out to your local, regional, state, and national policymakers.”
Panorama’s curriculum materials have angered some parents across the nation who see critical race theory and similar approaches as teaching K-12 children that they are either victims or oppressors based on their skin color. Garland enraged parent groups this week when he assigned the FBI to help address what he called a spike in “harassment” and “threats of violence” toward school board members. Some parent groups believe it was an effort to chill them from objecting to controversial curricula, which the DOJ denies.
Panorama’s curriculum is as profitable as it is controversial. The company’s revenues are not public, but it boasts that it “supports 13 million students in 21,000 schools” and has garnered tens of millions of dollars from investors. But most of its money appears to come from taxpayers, and Panorama uses educators to leverage it.
One 2021 Zoom workshop on “SEL as Social Justice: Dismantling White Supremacy Within Systems and Self” included numerous “calls to action” for the hundreds of teachers and others attending. At least five slides provided explicit talking points for educators to use to promote Panorama’s approach to government officials.
“My name is [NAME] and I’m your constituent. I’m writing to you today to implore you to fight for our children who are being oppressed in our community of [CITY, TOWN, STATE, REGION, or COUNTRY],” the Panorama toolkit advises educators to tell officials. “Promoting racially and culturally inclusive K-12 social-emotional learning programming is one way that our school communities can work to confront structural racism. … I urge you to consider anti-racist SEL as an integral part of addressing complex policy issues that face our children such as oppression.”
Panorama also recommends asking legislators to support certain bills, providing an example of what to say: “If you come across any upcoming bills that provide funding for SEL and/or resources for dismantling systemic oppression, I implore you to champion it — both locally and nationally.”
In one of the Panorama “Think, Type, Tweet” slides, the education company provides information on how to contact elected officials, from the president down to local leaders.
Panorama also recommends that educators “tweet at your policymaker with a blurb from your advocacy letter,” and it even provides a link that auto-generates a tweet to tag elected officials, which reads, “Educators know that developing the whole child matters. On International #SELDay, I’m calling for my legislators to advocate for #SEL and support bills that dismantle systemic oppression. @_______ @________ (cc: @PanoramaEd) #wholechild #edequity.”
Panorama also has lengthy guidance on how schools can apply for federal funding to spend on its products.
“Panorama is committed to helping schools and districts find funding sources for new tools that can support students,” it states. “We’ve compiled resources that may be helpful in identifying sustainable funding sources for your school or district.”
The education company suggests that schools apply for funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools Act; the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund; the American Rescue Plan; and the Education Department’s Title I, II, and IV to spend on Panorama.
Elizabeth Breese, the vice president of marketing at Panorama, told the Washington Examiner that there is no conflict between what the company does and its co-founder’s powerful connections.
“The only relationship between Panorama Education and Attorney General Merrick Garland is that Panorama’s co-founder Xan Tanner is AG Garland’s son-in-law,” she said.
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Original Author: Jerry Dunleavy