The left-wing education company co-founded by Merrick Garland’s son-in-law used a training session for teachers focused on “systemic racism,” recommending an article that referred to Trump rally-goers as “examples of white supremacy” akin to the Ku Klux Klan.
Panorama Education, co-founded by Xan Tanner, who is the group’s president, claims it has made its way into thousands of schools in the U.S., selling race-focused student and teacher surveys and conducting training on systemic racism and oppression, white supremacy, unconscious or implicit bias, and intersectionality, all under the rubric of “Social-Emotional Learning.” The company makes it clear that “SEL” is just a “vehicle” for achieving its goals related to “equity.”
One 2021 workshop by Panorama is titled “SEL as Social Justice: Dismantling White Supremacy Within Systems and Self” and includes a slide that highlights a 2020 article titled “How White Supremacy Lives in Our Schools.” The article was written by Altagracia Montilla, a self-described “freedom-dreamer, facilitator, and strategist committed to dismantling oppressive systems” who says she helps build “antiracist” work spaces, and the piece trashed supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“The rise in images of overt white supremacy in the media feeds into the confusion about white supremacy,” the article began. “While the Ku Klux Klan and MAGAs at half-empty Trump rallies (not that these are mutually exclusive groups) are in fact examples of white supremacy, they are not the only examples.”
The article said “murderous police officers” were another symbol of white supremacy, and continued: “Most of white supremacy is much more insidious: the school to prison pipeline, redlining, the opportunity gap, and voter suppression. White supremacy is everywhere, pertinent and pervasive, woven into the fabric of our society and reflected in every institution and organization in the U.S. including schools.”
The piece said “one of the purposes of listing characteristics of white supremacy culture in schools is to point out how schools consciously or unconsciously use these characteristics as their standards making it difficult, if not impossible, to open the door to other cultural norms and standards.” The examples of “white supremacy” in schools included “Perfectionism,” “Worship of the Written Word,” “Paternalism,” “Defensiveness,” and “Right to Comfort.”
The article went even further.
“The reality is while schools may say they’re invested in diversity and equity, they really only celebrate students who adapt or conform to the cultural norms rooted in white supremacy,” the article concluded. “Naming and identifying the characteristics of white supremacy culture in schools so we shift from accepting these characteristics as norms towards recognizing them as destructive — is the first step to working toward building schools that value all students.”
A Washington Examiner review detailed the ideas pushed by Panorama and some of its ties to left-wing ideological groups, and the education company lays out guidance and instructions for how advocates and activists can push lawmakers to adopt SEL in their schools and how school districts can use taxpayer funds to pay Panorama for its services.
Garland’s memo this week warned of a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against schools and said the DOJ will “discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate.” While the memo did not reference any specific threats or acts of violence against school officials, it came just days after the National School Board Association likened such attacks to “a form of domestic terrorism.”
The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment on whether Garland had a conflict of interest due to his son-in-law’s role.
Elizabeth Breese, vice president of marketing at Panorama, told the Washington Examiner the company is “not affiliated with any particular academic philosophy, including critical race theory.” She also claimed “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.”