Over $95,000 was spent by a public school system in Georgia to conduct a “social-emotional learning” survey on students led by an educational organization operated by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s son-in-law.

According to the district’s website, Savannah-Chatham County Public School District spent $95,375 on the survey as they used money from the first round of the Federal CARES Act to pay for the survey conducted by Panorama Education.

This was all uncovered by the concerned parent organization Parents Defending Education.

Two surveys were crafted by Panorama for the Savannah-Chatham County Public School system, one for students in grades 3-5 and another for grades 6-12.

The surveys include questions about students’ activity and emotions, but it does not include controversial questions about gender, sexual orientation, or a student’s view on racial issues, which appear on other Panorama-issued surveys.

The district argues that Panorama Education is not “connected” to critical race theory (CRT) and “is not teaching CRT.” But, the programming that revolves around the concept of “social-emotional learning”, such as the social-emotional learning program by Panorama Education, is linked to the basic principles of critical race theory.

According to the district’s website, parents in the Savannah-Chatham system have the option to opt-out of the survey if they want to, saying: “Any parent who seeks to opt-out of the survey for their child(ren) may do so. This is not a mandatory survey. If a child inadvertently responds to the survey when a parent seeks to opt-out, the survey information obtained will be deleted from the survey platform.”

The survey was created to help implement Second Step programming and it was implemented in the Loudoun County Public Schools and required from parents if they want to view the curriculum, to sign an NDA-style form. The non-profit behind Second Step curriculum claims that “social-emotional learning” is “fundamental to achieving social justice.”

The Director of Outreach for Parents Defending Education, Erika Sanzi talked about how the taxpayer money could have been better spent by saying: “This district falls well below the state average for its reading and math outcomes with 31% of students scoring proficient in both subjects.

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.”

However, back in May of 2020, a group spoke against this type of thing.

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