ALAMEDA (KPIX) — It’s not how but what kids are learning online that has concerned Alameda parents who reported racist and homophobic content they noticed in a remote-learning program. The Alameda Unified School District says it removed the learning program immediately from its curriculum after receiving complaints.
“I have anxieties and a lot of frustration,” said parent Kat Nguyen who is one of many raising concerns with the Alameda Unified School District after hearing about racist and homophobic content in a learning program created by Acellus.
Lydia, a teacher in the district says she was offended when she saw the lessons. “When I saw that there was a question about what was a traditional family — there was two white parents and two white children and that was the right answer versus a black parent with a child,” she recalled.
The complaints forced the district to act quickly. It removed all Acellus programs from its distance-learning platform over the weekend and sent out e-mails to parents this week.
“Racism is going on everywhere,” said parent Mani Chittri. “Especially for the kids, they learn that thing, that’s not good for them.”
This has been a program that’s been used for years within the district. “(We’re) especially concerned about using it in the school district for six years without a concern raised,” said Jennifer Williams, vice president on the Alameda Unified Board of Education.
Acellus was used over the years as a way for kids to make up credit to pass classes. Williams said this is a wake-up call to make some changes in the district.
“We have curriculum that came from an ethnocentric base and we’re starting to change the way we adopt curriculum that’s more culturally responsive,” Williams said.
Acellus has not responded to KPIX requests for comment but the district says the company made changes to the program right away. Still the Alameda Unified School District will cut ties with the company and they hope to provide more information about a new program next week.