Image Credit: panoramaed.com
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Hamilton County Schools released a statement informing parents that they would be conducting student “well-being checks” during the months of March and April, leaving many parents with concerns over the content of the Social Emotional Learning surveys used as part of the process.
Students in grades 3-12 are scheduled for the surveys between March 16 and April 8, while those in grades K-2 will be surveyed from March 28-April 8.
Concerned parents who previously reached out to Tennessee Conservative News regarding these surveys were worried about who would have access to the data gained through the questions, the types of questions that would be included, and options for parents to choose for their students to not participate.
According to the statement released by HCS, parents can complete an opt-out letter by March 16. However, parents are not provided with a list of survey questions or information regarding the level of access that people would have to the results of the survey.
Moms for Liberty (M4L) noted, “The district has confirmed that this data stays in the student’s permanent record. It is NOT confidential. Who has access to this data?”
HCS did provide results from the previous year’s surveys in response to a request from M4L. Students were asked questions in a variety of areas, including Emotion Regulation, Growth Mindset, and Social Awareness. Districts have the ability to customize questions that are asked of their students.
The Social Awareness category asked questions such as, “During the past 30 days, how carefully did you listen to other people’s points of view?” and “During the past 30 days, how well did you get along with students who are different from you?” While these questions may seem innocent enough on the surface, they are often a cover for the incorporation of the teaching of critical race theory.
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M4L’s research also found that the surveys are conducted through a partnership with Panorama Education, a company co-founded by Xan Tanner, the son-in-law of Attorney General Merrick Garland.
In a letter last Fall, several senators – including Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn – expressed concern over the connection between Garland and controversial curricula produced by Panorama that included the ideals of critical race theory.
“Your daughter, Rebecca Garland, married Alexander (“Xan”) Newman Tanner in 2018. Mr. Tanner is a co-founder of Panorama Education (“Panorama”), a ‘social learning’ provider that provides consultancy services that reportedly aids schools in teaching critical race theory under the guise of ‘equity and inclusion’ to America’s children,” the letter stated.
The company also came under fire for its recommendation that teachers read a book of essays entitled Teaching When the World is On Fire. The first essay in the collection is one written by Bill Ayers, a former leader of a designated domestic terrorist group. The essay says that those who go into teaching are going into a system that “hates Black and Brown and poor kids.”
According to the Panorama website, Hamilton County has “invested deeply in building school climate and culture through integrated student supports.” They have a “vision to create individualized plans for every student, and serve as a model for other Tennessee districts hoping to develop the whole child and build adult capacity to model life skills.”
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com