Panorama: Hawaii DoE Paying Zuckerberg Company to Collect Data on Students

The Hawaii Department of Education is funneling student data to a company financed by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.

Under a $478K annual contract with Hawaii Department of Education, Panorama Education, is building a permanent database of socio-political opinions, attendance, academic performance, and disciplinary infractions committed by Hawaii K-12 students.  Panorama’s ‘ Social Emotional Learning Survey’ is a veritable roadmap to manipulate their minds via social media.

Panorama’s CEO states the firm contracts with school districts nationwide comprising about 25% of US K-12 students.

According to Hawaii DoE, the Panorama survey is completed during Grade 3-12 homerooms and imported onto Panorama’s servers. For younger K-2 students, teachers are surveyed about their impressions of each student so your child will have a data profile in Silicon Valley even before he knows how to log on.

Nobody at DoE is mentioning Zuckerberg’s funding of the scheme.  His involvement is of course empirical proof that the data is being misused. And, yes, the DoE is actually paying Panorama to take the data.

Juvenile criminal transcripts are automatically sealed on the perpetrator’s 18th birthday — but what Hawaii DoE refers to as ‘Panorama’s National Dataset’ will continue into adulthood where it could be used to identify political supporters for a future Donald Trump-style campaign, just as Facebook data was used to help Trump in 2016.

Fairfax County Virginia schools, one of the largest districts served by Panorama, explains Panorama measures “how children and adults learn to understand and manage emotions, set goals, show empathy for others, establish positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

A Hawaii DoE handout titled: “ Social Emotional Learning Survey: Fall 2020” cites Panorama program goals including, “Leverage social and emotional data to deepen the focus on key outcomes….”

Sold to school districts as a convenient way to collate student input, Panorama’s on-line survey system was well-positioned to see  expanded use during COVID-mandated ‘distance learning’ semesters. 

The data from a  June, 2020 Panorama survey was then used to bolster arguments against continuing distance learning, much to the chagrin of HSTA leadership.

Panorama CEO Aaron Feuer, quoted on  TechCrunch, September 2, 2021, explains: “Since March 2020, Panorama has added 700 school districts to its customer base, nearly doubling the 800 it served just 18 months prior.”  Feuer told Tech Crunch Panorama now serves 13 million students in 23,000 schools across the United States–25% of American students.

The  Washington Examiner reports. Alexander “Xan” Tanner,  co-founder  and president of Panorama Education, is married to the daughter of Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland.

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, “Those who would give up Privacy, to purchase a little temporary Convenience, deserve neither Privacy nor Convenience.”

Zuckerberg’s financial backing begins with Panorama’s ‘Round A’ in 2013 which garnered $4M from investors including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.  Zuckerberg was back in  2017 for ‘Round B’  which deposited $16M into Panorama’s coffers.  Buoyed by its COVID success, Panorama came back for  ‘Round C’ raising $60M from yet another Zuckerberg-led consortium in September, 2021.

Linking Panorama to Google, Apple, and beyond, other investors include:  Owl Ventures Emerson Collective (Steve Jobs widow),  Uncork Capital Spark Capital , and  Tao Capital Partners.

TechCrunch reports: “Notably, Panorama had not raised capital in a couple of years simply because, according to Feuer, it did not need the money.”

That’s what happens when school districts pay Big Data to take big data.

COLUMN BY

Andrew Walden

RELATED ARTICLES:

Panorama: HIDOE Summary

Panorama student survey FAQs

About the Panorama Student Survey

HSTA: Social Emotional Learning Survey: Fall 2020

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EDITORS NOTE: This Hawaii Free Press column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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