Hawaiʻi is the first state expected to drop the controversial online learning platform, Acellus, following a OneZero investigation into the product and its creator, Roger Billings. But while hundreds of schools across the islands will likely stop using Acellus, countless other school districts in the United States continue to use the platform, a OneZero review found.
On Friday, OneZero published findings that Acellus was connected to a religious “cult” where Billings reportedly perpetrated and encouraged physical and emotional violence, unpaid labor, and child sexualization. Hours later, Hawaii’s Board of Education issued a memo recommending that Hawaii’s hundreds of public schools phase out Acellus by the end of the 2020–2021 school year, according to Civil Beat.
A Popular Online Learning Platform Was Actually Created by an Underground Religious ‘Cult’
The creator of Acellus and the ‘cult’s leader has been accused of violence and abuse
Catherine Payne, chairperson of the Hawaiʻi Board of Education, wrote in the memo that “the selection of Acellus was a mistake made in the midst of chaos brought on by the pandemic but a mistake nonetheless.” She urged the state’s Department of Education to send a letter to families using Acellus acknowledging the platform was chosen “in haste without appropriate vetting.” The department’s superintendent Christina Kishimoto issued a letter to parents on Tuesday informing them that schools would be transitioning off of Acellus, Education Week reported.
The full board will vote on Payne’s proposal on Thursday. The state’s Department of Education has not objected to the recommendation, Civil Beat reported.
Acellus products are used by thousands of students across the nation. One such product, the Acellus Learning Accelerator, offers hundreds of courses from World History to AP Physics, and is currently used by 80,000 Hawaiʻi public school students at an estimated cost of $2 million, according to Civil Beat and…