Acellus Opposition Movement Could Cost Hawaii Schools $272 Million
Company recommends immediate reconsideration to save critical teacher positions
News Release from Acellus / International Academy of Science, Nov 19, 2020
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 19, 2020 -- The International Academy of Science estimates that if Hawaii schools drop the use of Acellus curriculum, the resulting exodus of students would cost schools $272 million a year in lost state funding. The company estimates this could result in the loss of 4,546 teaching positions in 185 of the state's public schools.
The estimate comes in response to a Hawaii Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design panel report recommending that Acellus be removed as a curriculum option at Hawaii schools.
"The Acellus team is very disappointed at the report that came out from the Hawaii Curriculum panel today," said Acellus Chairman Dr. Roger Billings in a video available online. "It raised objections to specific items in our Acellus curriculum. They gave us the report a couple weeks ago, and so our team went on fire. We created 23 new courses to fix everything they mentioned. All of those problems are gone, and yet the report comes out today recommending 'we've got to get rid of Acellus because it has these things.' The simple truth is we don't have these things anymore."
Acellus has been used by 6,000 schools all over the United States with great success. Graduation rates are going up, students are scoring higher on standardized tests, and graduates are getting into college with scholarships because Acellus works so well.
While the Hawaii panel report asserts that Acellus 'lacks rigor,' many disagree. Acellus is a learning accelerator and, as a result, students using it learn faster. Far from a detriment, this amazing technology tends to increase student motivation and allow for exposure to more courseware while maintaining high retention rates.
Acellus courses include electives like coding. The Acellus STEM-10 program is the most comprehensive from any K-12 learning system. It starts in the third grade using robots to teach students how to code. This coding curriculum continues all the way up through high school. When students come out of the Acellus STEM program, they are ready to do things with their careers and enter advanced studies.
Millions of students are using Acellus with extensive positive feedback. Parents often report that after putting their kids on Acellus, their kids began to really excel in school for the first time.
Out of the 185 schools that bought Acellus this year in Hawaii, four schools decided to discontinue Acellus because they heard assertions that it was racist and sexist. The discontinuation led 421 kids to pull out of Hawaii public schools and join the company's Kansas City distance learning schools for Acellus. Since state funding is allocated to schools based on student enrollment, this equates to a $6 million loss in state funding to the local schools. Now those parents have to pay for Acellus out of pocket instead of having it provided to them through their local school.
If Acellus is discontinued at the remaining Hawaii schools and a proportional number of parents decide to remove their children, this would result in a loss of 19,050 students, equating to $272.8 million per year of lost funding to public schools.
"That would be a disaster," said Dr. Roger Billings. "Schools would have to lay off so many of their wonderful teachers and that's something we really need to prevent. We need to keep these public schools intact. That's part of the goal and the mission of Acellus."
The 23 new course versions created for Hawaii are available to schools today. Developers on the Acellus team noted that many of the things the Hawaii panel wanted removed, including lessons about religion, are required by Hawaii state curriculum standards. It appears that much of this campaign is being driven by people with agendas rather than by facts.
Acellus takes all allegations of inappropriate content very seriously and has remained extremely responsive to any concerns brought to their attention. While all Acellus content is thoroughly vetted as it is developed, continual feedback from educators, parents, and students is always encouraged. Any content concerns raised that are even potentially inappropriate are revised or replaced, often by the end of the day on which complaints are received.
Acellus is a learning accelerator used by over 6,000 schools. It uses video-based lessons with cutting-edge technology to accelerate learning, elevate standardized test scores, reduce dropout rates and transition more students into careers and college. Acellus currently has over 300 course offerings in all core subjects including Advanced Placement, Career & Technical Education, and STEM. Learn more at: https://www.acellus.com
About International Academy of Science
The International Academy of Science is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that has been advancing science and education for over 30 years. The Academy offers applied science undergraduate and graduate degree programs that prepare students with the hands-on skills and experience needed for success in the workplace. See: https://www.science.edu