Hawaii to stop using online program after parent complaints

The department “recognizes the curriculum does contain content that reviewers found acceptable and aligned to standards, and will be working with schools that use Acellus to identify and leverage such content, as appropriate,” the letter said.

Acellus representatives didn’t return phone messages from The Associated Press Monday and Tuesday.

Schools across the nation use Acellus, according to the Missouri-based company.

Parental complaints have prompted schools in other states to drop the program.

“During the summer months, in an effort to respond quickly, Acellus was offered to families reluctant to physically send their child to school when the school year opened,” Kishimoto’s letter said.

Complaints included misspelling and mispronunciation of Queen Liliʻuokalani — the last monarch to rule the Hawaiian Kingdom — and racist depictions of Black Americans and Islamophobic stereotypes. Some have also complained the program lacks rigor.

School officials are working on a transition plan, Kishimoto’s letter said: “It

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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and parents in Hawaii have decried the content on the video-based instructional platform as racist, sexist, inaccurate, outdated and lacking rigor.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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