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Education Firm Tied to AG Garland Asked Teachers to Read Piece Linking Trump Rally Goers to KKK

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


Teachers who attended a workshop earlier this year were asked to read an article that portrayed former President Donald Trump’s supporters as no different than members of the Ku Klux Klan, saying both are “examples of white supremacy.

The workshop was put on by Panorama Education, a left-wing education firm, and was headlined, “SEL as Social Justice: Dismantling White Supremacy Within Systems and Self.”

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‘SEL’ is an acronym for “Social-Emotional Learning,” and the firm proudly says that the concept is a means of achieving “equity” goals, The Daily Wire reports.

The company was founded by Xan Tanner, who is the son-in-law of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, as the Washington Examiner notes further:

[The company] 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.”

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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 begins. “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.”

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In fact, Trump has generally sold out his venues and continues to do so.

After referencing “murderous police officers” as allegedly being another symbol of white supremacy (she makes no distinction about black and Hispanic police officers), the piece goes on: “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.”

Montilla goes on to say “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.” So-called examples of “white supremacy” in public schools includes “Perfectionism,” “Worship of the Written Word,” “Paternalism,” “Defensiveness,” and “Right to Comfort.”

But Montilla wasn’t done.

“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,” she concludes. “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.”

Elizabeth Breese, vice president of marketing at Panorama, claimed to the Examiner that the company is “not affiliated with any particular academic philosophy, including critical race theory.” She also said that “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.”

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Earlier this week, Garland announced he was instructing U.S. attorneys and the FBI to work with state and local law enforcement to identify threats to teachers and students from parents who are increasingly showing up at school board meetings angry about critical race theory being taught to their kids, as well as inappropriate sexual materials.

Garland was responding to a request for assistance from the National School Board Association, whose leaders suggested in a letter the Biden administration consider whether such behavior qualifies as illegal under “domestic terrorism” statutes.

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