Opposing Acellus for Hawaii Public Education
Opposing Acellus for Hawaii Public Education
**Post-victory Update (12/20):** Hawaii has decided to discontinue the Acellus program in public education, statewide. However, this petition remains visible as a resource for parents and educators still advocating for the removal of this program from their schools, districts and/or states. For our Department of Education's 140-page thorough Acellus Curriculum review, which includes examples of the lack of rigor, lack of alignment to standards and racist and sexist content which violates the rights of students, click here: HIDOE's Full Acellus Equity Review
PPSHI (linked below) is an advocacy organization in Hawaii which supports public school parents and public education. Their advocacy on this issue continues and has been instrumental in the success of this petition. Find support or follow their ongoing advocacy work here: Parents for Public Schools Hawaii- Acellus Issue
This group helps to ensure that religion is not promoted in public education. They actively contributed to the removal of Acellus from Hawaii public education through letter-writing to our DOE. They are still fighting to prevent religious discrimination and promotion of religion in online classes: Report Religious Content in Your Child's Online Classes to American Atheists
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii schools have turned to distance learning programs in order to provide parents options for their keiki to continue schooling. The Acellus distance learning program has been selected by a number of schools, and promoted by the DOE as a legitimate option for parents. Unfortunately, there are a number of egregious problems with the Acellus program, including racist content, age-inappropriate content, questionable credentialing of the founder, Roger Billings, and Acellus teachers, his succession to the founder of a FLDS polygamist cult in the 80's, among a myriad of other issues which are supported in references below. There has also been an accusation that Roger Billings molested a child who was in this fundamentalist cult, and you will find that information recorded in testimony to the BOE (linked below).
We ask the DOE to remove this program from Hawaii public education, based on the hard evidence provided below and testimony after testimony from concerned citizens, including many current and former educators. Parents should be provided a well-vetted and legitimate option for distance learning, or be allowed to re-enroll in their local school's distance learning (joining a class, with a local teacher). Many parents were forced to make a choice on the Acellus learning option versus hybrid learning, committing to use the program through the first quarter.
Thank you to the brave investigative journalists, concerned educators and parents who actually watched these videos themselves, many alongside their children, who were horrified at the content of these "educational" videos. Please see the links below and research for yourself, making your own informed decision about whether you find this content educational and appropriate for Hawaii's keiki. If you are equally concerned, please sign.
We demand the DOE give Hawaii's keiki a quality, well-vetted distance learning platform, or the option to re-enroll in their local school's distance learning classroom. By law, the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is an educational entitlement of all students in the United States. The Acellus program, promoted by HIDOE for the education of our children, is not appropriate and must be removed from the Hawaii public education system.
Link to written testimony from educators, parents and concerned citizens opposing Acellus in Hawaii public schools (control+F "acellus"): http://boe.hawaii.gov/Meetings/Notices/Meeting%20Material%20Library/Testimony%2020200820%20GBM.pdf
"Fire Angel's" sample lesson: https://www.acellus.com/student-blog/?p=879
https://www.pajet.com/ (This is the website for the Social Emotional Learning and PE teacher; unfortunately this teacher does not have education/training in social or behavioral sciences and is an engineer by trade, according to their Linked in. Having a teaching license, a license in the field of mental health or social services or at least some background in these fields should be a minimum requirement to develop and teach a Social Emotional Learning course for children and adolescents. Scroll down- view the video at the bottom of the page- this was the introduction to PE for both kindergarten and third grade)
Edited to add credits*
Photo Credit: Adrienne Robillard
Video Credit(s): Jacquelyn Otto (parent submission)
Research Credit: Kelsey Dostie; Those who submitted testimony to the BOE, both orally and written.
Mahalo for taking the time to read and make an informed choice on signing this petition.