CBS file

CBS file

State education officials voted unanimously Wednesday to replace the state’s math and English public school curricula with national standards pushed by the Obama administration.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, in a 9-0 vote, agreed to join 27 other states in adopting the so-called Common Core Standards. They specify what is taught in math and English classes at each grade level.

Education Secretary Paul Reville called the switch a “watershed moment” for the state, ensuring Massachusetts will continue to be an education leader.

“This is good for our kids and good for our students,” he said.

The guidelines were developed by a consortium of states but have been heavily promoted by the Obama administration, which has linked their adoption to the administration’s $3.4 billion Race to the Top education initiative.

Massachusetts has applied for $250 million under the program, and states get credit if they have adopted the Common Core Standards by Aug. 2.

Advocates for the change argue the national guidelines are stronger in some areas than the state’s.

Opponents contend the state’s standards are responsible for a series of first-place finishes by Massachusetts students in national assessment testing. They say adopting national standards will inevitably weaken the state curriculum, as well as trigger abandonment of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test, known colloquially as the MCAS.

Before the vote, Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker urged the members to deny the change. He testified that Massachusetts would lose control of its education decision making.

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, a Democrat, argued for adopting the Common Core.

Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said the state will now convene panels of educators to determine where the current Massachusetts standards are stronger than the Common Core Standards.

States that adopt the standards are allowed to revise up to 15 percent of the Common Core.

Comments (3)
  1. L Eddy says:

    So they ditch MCAS testing — and all those children that couldnt pass them in the last several years – are out of luck and still get no dipolma?
    Wish the state would make up its mind — math, new math, old math, phonics, no phonics, rote learning, comprehensive learning…. no wonder our kids give up —
    Tell me does 1+1 still equal 2? Or can it be more than 2 if I can prove it with creative thinking??

  2. anthony horton says:

    how can this be something good for the students of Massachusetts when we are all the leaders and model of curriculum excellence and we have set the standards for the rest of the united states and the govt to follow.

  3. blackbear1 says:

    This is a “Sellout”!! For the money, nothing else, of course. I’m still not sure how they teach math now. Does it have any practical applications?? One of my former students once asked we why I never had to take the MCAS. Told him because we did not need it. Even just average students.