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Posted: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 1:04 PM HST

Hawaii praised for education reform efforts

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) The U.S. Department of Education continues to shower Hawaii schools officials with praise for making progress on reforms.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says Hawaii has made "huge progress" implementing promised reforms that won the state a $75 million "Race to the Top" grant.

Duncan notes that this time last year, Hawaii's grant was on "high-risk" status for unsatisfactory progress.

The department on Tuesday night released third-year progress reports for the District of Columbia and the 11 states that won grants in the first two rounds of the program.

Duncan says one of the ways Hawaii is noteworthy is the state launched tougher diploma requirements two years ahead of schedule.

Hawaii's report notes challenges, including a new educator evaluation system that some teachers have complained about.

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