The state Board of Education has unanimously approved more rigorous diploma requirements starting with the Class of 2016, today’s eighth graders.
Under the changes, every public high school student will have to pass geometry, biology and two other lab sciences. Students will continue to be required to complete at least four social studies credits.
Dozens of people testified today on the new requirements, and many were concerned that the new policy does not spell out that students must take U.S. history and world history. The current policy also does not say students must pass those courses, but Department of Education policy requires them.
The tougher diploma, a key pledge as part of the state’s education reform efforts, is the result of more than a year of work.
"We thank the board for approving a graduation policy that fully supports our state’s reform efforts to improve student achievement," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, in a news release. "Hawaii public school graduates must be able to successfully compete globally in an academic or work arena."