U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s son-in-law is a co-founder of an educational data mining company that promotes the tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a report at Becker News observed Wednesday.
The report noting Garland’s family ties to CRT comes in the wake of the attorney general’s memorandum directing the FBI to mobilize against parents who oppose CRT and mask mandates in K-12 schools and speak out about their concerns.
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As the New York Times reported, in 2018, Garland’s daughter, Rebecca, married Alexander “Xan” Tanner, co-founder and president of Panorama Education, a Boston-based software and analytical data services company that boasts its founders were once “student activists.”
The Times wedding announcement states:
The bride’s father, Judge Merrick B. Garland, took part in the ceremony, giving a tribute to the couple … The bride’s father is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in Washington. Her mother advises government and nonprofit groups on voting systems security and accuracy issues.
Panorama produces data mining surveys for schools, including “equity and inclusion surveys” and conducts “professional development” training in the areas of equity and inclusion for teachers and administrators.
The company states about its survey:
The Panorama Equity and Inclusion Survey provides schools and districts with a clear picture of how students, teachers, and staff are thinking and feeling about diversity, equity, and inclusion in school. The survey can help schools and districts track the progress of equity initiatives through the lens of students and staff, identify areas for celebration and improvement, inform professional development, and signal the importance of equity and inclusion to the community.
“By asking students, teachers, and staff to reflect on their experiences of equity and inclusion in school, education leaders can gather actionable data to understand and improve the racial and cultural climate on campus,” Panorama states, adding:
Any middle or high school community that values diversity, equity, and inclusivity can use this survey. The student questions are designed to be developmentally appropriate for grades 6-12.
In June 2020, Panorama co-founder and CEO Aaron Feuer wrote in a company blog post titled “Our Stand Against Systemic Racism”:
We are angered and heartbroken by the murder of George Floyd last week, yet another act of violence against a Black person in America, and yet another consequence of this long history of systemic racism in America.
This must change. As millions of people across the country stand up to protest this system of racism and oppression, we stand with them.
We say decisively: Black people matter. Black students matter. Black educators matter. Black teammates matter. Black lives matter.
“We commit to dismantling systemic racism, we commit to embodying and spreading anti-racist practices, and we commit to building systems of opportunity and possibility for students of color,” Feuer continued, elaborating:
Education represents one of the most important levers for change in America. At worst, our education system can perpetuate oppression and injustice, withholding opportunity from children of marginalized communities, and allowing racism to continue unchecked. At best, our education system can combat racism, open up opportunities for children, and help every student take pride in their identity. We now serve 10 million students and 1,500 school districts. That puts us in a unique position to make change to our institutions through our partnership with school districts.
“This school year will be an especially important moment for racial equity in education, as our nation’s children begin to recover from a pandemic that has disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in American society,” Feuer wrote, urging readers to review a “call to action” by DeSoto, Texas, Independent School District Superintendent Dr. D’Andre Weaver.
“Let me repeat his words,” Feuer emphasized. “A reimagined education system is our antiracist protest.”
In the section on “Social and Emotional Learning,” sandwiched in between questions about if a student feels “like you belong at your school” and “Do you have an Individualized Learning Plan?” is Question 67: “Do you know that Rhode Island state law allows Rhode Island residents who are US Citizens to pre-register to vote at age 16?”
A Techcrunch press release dated September 2 indicates Panorama raised “$60 million in a Series C round of funding led by General Atlantic.”
According to the release, Panorama’s existing backers include the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a group formed by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Chan.
The release continues:
Panorama declined to reveal at what valuation the Series C was raised, nor did it provide any specific financial growth metrics. CEO and co-founder Aaron Feuer did say the company now serves 13 million students in 23,000 schools across the United States, which means that 25% of American students are enrolled in a district served by Panorama today.
Over 50 of the largest 100 school districts and state agencies in the country use its platform. In total, more than 1,500 school districts are among its customers. Clients include the New York City Department of Education, Clark County School District in Nevada, Dallas ISD in Texas and the Hawaii Department of Education, among others.
Garland’s memorandum was released just days after a letter to President Joe Biden from the National School Board Association (NSBA) sought federal law enforcement help to cope with frustrated and concerned parents the group likened to “domestic terrorists.”
NSBA asked Biden to issue an executive order that would serve to protect school officials and school board members from parents after review of “appropriate enforceable actions against these crimes and acts of violence under the Gun-Free School Zones Act, the PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute, the Conspiracy Against Rights statute.”
NSBA complained in its letter that parents are objecting to the teaching of concepts of Critical Race Theory.
“This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class,” the group asserted.
Last month, however, the United States Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution during its annual convention in which its members pledged to support the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools.
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the nation’s mayors support the implementation of CRT in the public education curriculum to help engage our youth in programming that reflects an accurate, complete account of BIPOC history,” the mayors stated.
In July, the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers’ union, also moved to openly promote the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools and to oppose any bans on instruction in both the Marxist ideology and the widely discredited New York Times’ “1619 Project.”
The union agreed to “research the organizations attacking educators,” doing what it referred to as “anti-racist work,” as well as to “use the research already done and put together a list of resources and recommendations for state affiliates, locals, and individual educators to utilize when they are attacked.”
NEA dismissed the outrage of grassroots parents, claiming the main critics of Critical Race Theory are “well-funded” conservative groups.
“The attacks on anti-racist teachers are increasing, coordinated by well-funded organizations such as the Heritage Foundation,” the union said. “We need to be better prepared to respond to these attacks so that our members can continue this important work.”