Attorney General Merrick Garland is under scrutiny after a parents group revealed that his daughter is married to the co-founder of an education company funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, which allegedly employs critical race theory in its work, according to a report.
The disclosure comes as the attorney general announced on Monday that the FBI will help investigate increasing accounts of alleged threats against teachers and school board members in response to critical race theory being taught in schools — an action that critics slammed as a “declaration of war” on parents and intimidation of political opponents.
His daughter, Rebecca Garland, is married to Xan Tanner, the co-founder of Boston-based Panorama Education, a company that collects social and emotional data from students in grades K to 12, Fox News reported on Wednesday.
Asra Nomani, the vice president of investigations and strategy of Parents Defending Education, which opposes the Justice Department’s enforcement actions, Tweeted about the connection.
“Merrick Garland has declared a war on parents,” Nomani posted on Tuesday. “His daughter is married to the cofounder of @PanoramaEd which is under fire for its multimillion contracts with school boards. At @DefendingEd, parents sent us tips. We raised the alarm. Now Garland is trying to silence parents.”
“Panorama Education will profit from Garland’s outrageous silencing of parents who are challenging its data mining of K-12 students,” she wrote on the group’s website.
Nomani linked to a New York Times report from 2018 about the marriage of Garland’s daughter and Tanner.
She and her group argue that the Justice Department is likening parents who oppose such “woke” policies as critical race theory and mandatory mask wearing to “domestic terrorism.”
It also comes as a whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified to a Senate committee on Tuesday about how Facebook routinely scoops up people’s information and then uses it to keep them engaged on platforms it owns.
Nomani said it’s “outrageous” that Fairfax County Public Schools is “collaborating with a for-profit company funded by Mark Zuckerberg.”
“In 2012, Zuckerberg admitted to performing ’emotional manipulation’ studies on Facebook users without their consent or knowledge. His involvement today with surveys examining students’ mental health is beyond the pale. Schools must stop trying to manipulate students and focus instead on educating students,” she told Fox News.
The Justice Department and Tanner did not respond to requests for comment from Fox News.
Panorama Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.
The attorney general announced on Monday that the FBI would assist local law enforcement in responding to what he called a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
The action was in response to a letter from the National School Boards Association to the Biden administration that claimed America’s public schools are under threat from people opposed to the teaching of critical race theory and mask mandates and said the “heinous actions” should be considered a form of “domestic terrorism.”
Critics like Nomani worry Tanner’s company will use its ability to collect data to push controversial ideas about race, identity and sexuality, Fox News reported.
Her group, Parents Defending Education, noted that Panorama got a $1.8 million contract with Fairfax County Public Schools to conduct social and emotional learning monitoring on students, the report said.
The contract was bumped up to more than $2 million early last month.
It was part of the school system’s overall $78.8 million investment of coronavirus relief funds to creating a “welcoming” and “culturally responsive” environment for students.
The money would be allocated to schools based on several factors and be used to “directly support student social emotional needs.”
Parents Defending Education said the school district is directing $23.3 million toward social and emotional learning initiatives, or SEL.
Part of the program involves an SEL screener through Panorama Education, Fox News reported.
Critics believe phrases like “social and emotional learning” and “culturally responsive training” involve the introduction of controversial ideas about race and identity, the report said.
The school system said it has a “legally binding contract” with Panorama about how the information will be handled and stored.
”The data will be used only for the purposes of serving FCPS and only for education purposes. In addition, Panorama complies with all applicable federal laws, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, as well as state and local regulations concerning student data,” a spokesperson told Fox News.
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