Online curriculum adoption warrants scrutiny

School districts across the country are purchasing online programs too hastily, with predictable results (“Schools Drop an Online Curriculum After Teacher, Parent Complaints,” The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 23).  The Acellus Learning Accelerator at two-thirds of Hawaii schools covering 80,000 students is a case in point.

As long as schools are allowed to choose their own online content, the risk of incorrect or inappropriate material will always remain.  That was certainly the case with Acellus. It charged $100 per student for six courses.  That compares with competitors charging $300 to $400 a course.  As a result, districts too eagerly decided to use its curriculum.

It’s understandable why districts moved so rapidly. They were under intense pressure due to Covid-19.  As a result, they lacked the time and resources to adequately review material.  But they are now paying a steep price.  Public schools in this country have been criticized for the way they adopt textbooks. Yet until a better way is found to speed up the process, I say better safe than sorry.

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