For-profit

Panorama Education

Website:

www.panoramaed.com

Website:

https://www.panoramaed.com/

Location:

Boston, Massachusetts

Type:

For-profit Education Services

Formation:

2012

CEO:

Aaron Feuer

Panorama Education is a Boston-based education service company that combines the use of data and surveys to help develop curriculum for than 1,500 school districts across 50 states. [1] The company’s curricula have been criticized by right-leaning journalists and political figures for allegedly promoting the radical-left ideology of critical race theory. [2]

Alexander ‘Xan’ Tanner, son-in-law of Biden administration U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, is the co-founder, board member, and former president of the firm. [3]

Founding and History

Panorama Education was founded in 2012 by two Yale graduates, Aaron Feuer and Alexander ‘Xan’ Tanner. Since its formation, the company has worked with 21,000 schools and 1,500 school districts in all 50 states. [4] Major school districts such as the Dallas Independent School District in Texas and Orange County Public Schools in Florida have worked with Panorama. [5]

Funding

The company began by raising funds with Y Combinator, the start-up investment firm, and quickly raised additional start-up funds, including from Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup: Education fund. [6] Since then, the firm has raised a large amount of capital, reportedly collecting a total of $92.7 million in outside funding, with a significant proportion of the money coming from prominent investment firms and venture capital groups, as well as progressive entrepreneurs. [7] In 2017, Panorama raised $16 million in private funding from sources including the Emerson Collective, Spark Capital, Owl Ventures, SoftTechVC, and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. According to data released by the nonprofit OpenTheBooks, Panorama has also received more than $27 million in payments from state governments and public-school systems from 2017 to 2020. [8]

Services

Panorama Education offers surveys and data analysis to school districts to keep track of student development and measure learning success rates. The company places emphasis on “social emotional learning” (SEL) and claims that with its tools, schools have been able to increase graduation rates, increase student feelings of belonging, and reduce disciplinary incidents. [9] The company also offers a variety of free-to-access guides and strategies developed by company partners to utilize after a school’s student data has been collected. [10]

One partner that has developed curriculum for the “Panorama Playbook” includes Teaching Tolerance, which is now called Learning for Justice. Learning for Justice is a project of the left-of-center Southern Poverty Law Center, a “watchdog” group that regularly conflates mainstream right-of-center groups and people with violent extremists and promotes gender and “anti-racist” theory in the classroom. [11]

Controversy Over Critical Race Theory

Panorama Education claims that it does not promote critical race theory. [12] However, media reports have identified Panorama content focused on race. The Daily Mail reported that Panorama ran a free online workshop entitled “SEL as Social Justice: Dismantling White Supremacy Within Systems and Self” that included an article entitled “How White Supremacy Lives in Our Schools” among its recommended resources for teachers. The essay identified rallies supporting President Donald Trump as being comparable as symbols of white supremacy to the Ku Klux Klan. [13] [14]

This workshop is no longer available on the Panorama website, and in fact most workshops from prior to 2021, including several that discuss race and racism in schools, such as “Expert Q&A: Leading Adult SEL to Combat Systemic Racism & Implicit Bias in Schools” and “Live Workshop: Strategies for Addressing Racism with Students and Caring Adults” have been scrubbed from the online list of available resources, unless accessed using archived versions of the website. [15]

Connection to Attorney General Merrick Garland

Cofounder and former president Alexander “Xan” Tanner is the son in law of Biden administration U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Critics drew attention to the relationship after Garland ordered the FBI to investigate alleged threats against school boards from parents who disapproved of efforts to implement critical race theory-inspired curricula in schools. [16] The Washington Examiner, a right-leaning news outlet, editorialized that Garland should resign from his position due to the egregious nature of his memo ordering the FBI to investigate parents upset at their school boards, or at the very least recuse himself given the apparent conflict of interest stemming from having a close family member’s firm implicated in the controversy. [17]

Leadership and Staff

Alexander “Xan” Tanner is the cofounder, board member, and former president of Panorama Education. He formed the company with fellow Yale graduate Aaron Feuer in 2012. [18] In 2018, Tanner married Rebecca Garland, the daughter of Attorney General Merrick Garland. [19] Tanner stepped down as president in December of 2020 and went to work as a Democratic Party canvasser in Georgia and Ohio. [20]

Aaron Feuer is the cofounder and CEO of Panorama Education. He formed the company with fellow Yale graduate Alexander Tanner in 2012. [21] Feuer has contributed to the left of center PAC ActBlue. [22]

References

  1. “Our Story.” Panorama Education. Accessed October 13, 2021. https://www.panoramaed.com/about ^
  2. Nester, Alex. “GOP Congressman Questions Garland’s Ties to Woke Learning Company.” Washington Free Beacon. October 14, 2021. https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/gop-congressman-questions-garlands-ties-to-woke-learning-company/. ^
  3. Andrzejewski, A. “Panorama Education, Owned By U.S. AG Merrick Garland’s Son-In-Law, Contracted With 230,000 Public Schools & Raised $76 Million From Investors.” Forbes. October 12, 2021. Accessed October 13, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/10/12/panorama-education-owned-by-us-ag-merrick-garlands-son-in-law-contracted-with-23000-public-schools-for-social–emotional-climate-surveys/?sh=6317f0f4e60b ^
  4. “FAQs | Panorama Education.” Panoramaed.com. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.panoramaed.com/faqs. ^
  5. Andrzejewski, A. “Panorama Education, Owned By U.S. AG Merrick Garland’s Son-In-Law, Contracted With 230,000 Public Schools & Raised $76 Million From Investors.” Forbes. October 12, 2021. Accessed October 13, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/10/12/panorama-education-owned-by-us-ag-merrick-garlands-son-in-law-contracted-with-23000-public-schools-for-social–emotional-climate-surveys/?sh=6317f0f4e60b. ^
  6. Lapowsky, Issie. “How Panorama Education Scored Funding From Zuckerberg.” Inc.com. October 28, 2013. Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.inc.com/issie-lapowsky/how-three-recent-grads-landed-zucks-bucks.html. ^
  7. Panorama Education. Crunchbase. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/panorama-education/company_financials ^
  8. Andrzejewski, A. “Panorama Education, Owned By U.S. AG Merrick Garland’s Son-In-Law, Contracted With 230,000 Public Schools & Raised $76 Million From Investors.” Forbes. October 12, 2021. Accessed October 13, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/10/12/panorama-education-owned-by-us-ag-merrick-garlands-son-in-law-contracted-with-23000-public-schools-for-social–emotional-climate-surveys/?sh=6317f0f4e60b. ^
  9. “Panorama Education | Supporting Student Success.” Panoramaed.com. Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.panoramaed.com. ^
  10. “Social Emotional Learning Assessment | Panorama Education.” Panoramaed.com. Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.panoramaed.com/social-emotional-learning-sel. ^
  11. Learning for Justice. “Lessons.” Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.learningforjustice.org/classroom-resources/lessons. ^
  12. “FAQs | Panorama Education.” Panoramaed.com. Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.panoramaed.com/faqs. ^
  13. Lepore, Stephen M. “Resource from Garland’s Son-in-Law’s Firm Trashed Trump Supporters.” Mail Online. October 10, 2021. Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10076865/Firm-founded-Garlands-son-law-gave-resource-calls-Trump-supporters-white-supremacists.html. ^
  14. Montilla, Altagracia. “How White Supremacy Lives in Our Schools.” Medium. June 25, 2021. https://medium.com/@altagraciamontilla/how-white-supremacy-lives-in-our-schools-e541c5b3355. ^
  15. “Education Webinars and Virtual Workshops.” Panorama Education. Archived from the original November 1, 2020. Accessed October 25, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20201101011636/https://www.panoramaed.com/webinars ^
  16. Andrzejewski, A. “Panorama Education, Owned By U.S. AG Merrick Garland’s Son-In-Law, Contracted With 230,000 Public Schools & Raised $76 Million From Investors.” Forbes. October 12, 2021. Accessed October 13, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/10/12/panorama-education-owned-by-us-ag-merrick-garlands-son-in-law-contracted-with-23000-public-schools-for-social–emotional-climate-surveys/?sh=6317f0f4e60b. ^
  17. Washington Examiner. “Merrick Garland Should Really Resign, but the Least He Can Do Is Recuse Himself.” October 17, 2021. Accessed October 25, 2021. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/merrick-garland-should-really-resign-but-the-least-he-can-do-is-recuse-himself. ^
  18. Andrzejewski, A. “Panorama Education, Owned By U.S. AG Merrick Garland’s Son-In-Law, Contracted With 230,000 Public Schools & Raised $76 Million From Investors.” Forbes. October 12, 2021. Accessed October 13, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/10/12/panorama-education-owned-by-us-ag-merrick-garlands-son-in-law-contracted-with-23000-public-schools-for-social–emotional-climate-surveys/?sh=6317f0f4e60b. ^
  19. Lepore, Stephen M. “Resource from Garland’s Son-in-Law’s Firm Trashed Trump Supporters.” Mail Online. October 10, 2021. Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10076865/Firm-founded-Garlands-son-law-gave-resource-calls-Trump-supporters-white-supremacists.html. ^
  20. Linkedin.com. “Xan Tanner | LinkedIn.” Accessed October 25, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/xantanner/. ^
  21. Andrzejewski, A. “Panorama Education, Owned By U.S. AG Merrick Garland’s Son-In-Law, Contracted With 230,000 Public Schools & Raised $76 Million From Investors.” Forbes. October 12, 2021. Accessed October 13, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/10/12/panorama-education-owned-by-us-ag-merrick-garlands-son-in-law-contracted-with-23000-public-schools-for-social–emotional-climate-surveys/?sh=6317f0f4e60b. ^
  22. FEC.gov. “Political Contributions: Aaron Feuer.” Accessed October 25, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=Aaron+Feuer&min_date=01%2F01%2F2000&max_date=12%2F31%2F2022 ^
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