The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System in Georgia announced that it would be using Panorama Education’s Social Emotional Learning surveys for students and staff, costing more than $95,000 that the district said would be paid for using federal CARES Act funds.
The district said that the survey will include questions on challenging feelings, positive feelings, self-management, social awareness, grit, learning strategies, school engagement and valuing school, school climate, sense of belonging, and teacher-student relationships.
Panorama Education, the controversial organization founded by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s son-in-law, has reportedly been data mining students through its surveys.
Parents of students attending other schools throughout the country that have also used Panorama's surveys reported discovering that the organization's surveys included intrusive questions, including those about an individual's gender, sexual orientation, views on racial issues, and whether they receive free and reduced lunch. The schools then send the students' information to Panorama, and parents are unable to access their child's data, according to RealClearEducation.
"They are data mining and psychologically profiling our kids," a New Jersey parent told the news outlet of Panorama. "The questions they are asking are absolutely inappropriate in a school setting. Schools have sold our children’s privacy to a data analytics company that is tracking attendance, behavior, and family’s financial status."
And while Panoroma has previously been linked to critical race theory, the Georgia school district, acknowledging news reports showing connections between the two, claimed that the organization is in no way affiliated with the doctrine or any of its supporters.
The district said that Panorama Education is "not affiliated with any particular academic or legal philosophy, including critical race theory" and that Panorama is "does not sell critical race theory to schools." It added that the organization is "not a tool for teaching critical race theory."
Parents Defending Education slammed the district for using Panorama's SEL surveys in their schools while their students continue to struggle with traditional subject material.
"This district falls well below the state average for its reading and math outcomes with 31% of students scoring proficient in both subjects," Erika Sanzi, Director of Outreach for Parents Defending Education, said in a statement to Townhall. "District officials can't point to any evidence that these increasingly intrusive surveys are beneficial to students and $95,000 of taxpayer money would be much better used on actually teaching more students to read and do math."