Hawaii school board chief Catherine Payne urges dropping Acellus online curriculum

Board of Education Chairwoman Catherine Payne wants Hawaii’s schools to stop using the Acellus distance-learning program by the end of the academic year and allow parents to opt out immediately.

Payne has put the subject on the agenda for action at Thursday’s board meeting, directing the Department of Education to phase out the controversial curriculum. In a memo, she called the department’s selection of Acellus “a mistake made in the midst of chaos brought on by the pandemic.”

Some teachers and parents in Hawaii have decried the content on the video-based instructional platform as racist, sexist, inaccurate, outdated and lacking rigor. The Acellus Learning Accelerator, owned by the unaccredited International Academy of Science in Kansas City, Mo., offers more than 300 courses in kindergarten through 12th grade and is used by home­schooling students and schools across the country.

Previously, Acellus online courses had been used by some secondary schools in

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Online learning enrollment dropping at Plainview ISD

More than 1,000 Plainview Independent School District students began the 2020-2021 school year online. Now, at the end of the first six weeks of classes, 822 are participating in online learning as of Friday.

As the year continues, district officials hope to see even more of the 4,867 students enrolled at PISD return to the classrooms.

That was Plainview ISD’s overall enrollment as of Friday, said Brent Richburg, chief technology officer for PISD. That number is about 326 under what enrollment was at that same day at the end of the first six weeks in the 2019-2020 school year. That enrollment number includes everybody learning both on and off campus.

The kids who are learning online are about evenly split across all grade levels, Richburg said.

He also noted that 79 students are now doing homeschool, which is different than at-home instruction provided by the district.

While district officials, including

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