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Thursday, August 14, 2014
Pono Choices May Violate State, Federal Laws
By Rep Bob McDermott @ 3:57 AM :: 5681 Views :: Education K-12, Family

Several aspects of the D.O.E.'s handling of 'Pono Choices' violate state and federal laws.

News Release from Office of Rep Bob McDermott August 13, 2014

Few, if any, parents were told that the discredited Pono Choices program was a research project. Parents simply were not informed that their kids were being used as human Guinea Pigs for research! This is a monumental breach of trust between the DOE and the owners of the system, the parents.

Families were told that Pono Choices was a “new curriculum” being tested or a “pilot project” but were never told that there students were participating in a research project. Research projects necessarily require informed consent when human subjects are involved. Meaningful, informed, affirmative consent is the cornerstone of human subject protections; this did not happen. Further, because the DOE's implementation of Pono Choices violated several safeguards contained in the Federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). This is illegal, sloppy and incompetent.

Additionally, the students, the teachers, and community liaisons were given gift cards in violation of Hawaii State law. This unlawful activity is bad enough, but it then also renders all the data collected in the research project known as Pono Choices as meaningless due to an inherit input bias as a result of a financial inducement. I asked the DOE what the amount of the Gift Cards was and they have refused to answer me; consequently, I filed another ethics complaint against them in July for continuing to violate the law. This practice violates all ethical guidelines in standard research.

Despite what they say publically, the DOE’s definition of “age appropriateness” used in evaluating Pono Choices is shockingly absurd: Can the child understand and comprehend the verbiage, grammar and words taught? Nothing related to sensitive and complex emotional, cognitive, and psychological and behavior issues were ever evaluated.

Just grammar! This is unbelievable. I am certain that the first time many of these children have ever been exposed to the concept of anal sex was in Pono Choices, so how could it possibly be age appropriate?

Pono Choices was NEVER certified as medically accurate and is still not today! The program was submitted to the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), which then subcontracts a medical review via Paltech. These results are then sent to the University of Hawaii. No one ever verifies if the changes are made. Then the OAH “approves for use” , but specifically does not approve for medical accuracy, as they have a policy that forbids them from doing so. This is how we ended up with the ludicrous definition of the anus as a genital and the practical equalization of anal and vaginal sex; with no government entity willing to take responsibility for it.

The attached McDermott Report- II, documents the above findings and much more.



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