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National Standards Approved for Massachusetts Schools

By Ray Hershel

AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB) — Some major changes are in the works for Massachusetts classrooms.

The state board of education approves a plan to replace the state’s math and English curricula with national standards.

The new national standards will specify what is taught in math and English at each grade level.

Proponents included Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.

“This gives us an opportunity to engage nationally, to lead nationally and set standards  in which we can better measure ourselves with others,” said Murray.

But opponents like Republican Gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker say the state’s MCAS tests have helped Massachusetts become a leader in public education and using national standards instead would be a mistake.

“Why would we throw in with some to be developed and not yet fully vetted national consortium around establishing how we’re going to set standards for kids and test kids, it just doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Baker.

But, school superintendents like Agawam’s Mary Czajkowski are applauding the vote.

“I think it raises the level of student achievement, I know there’s a focus more on reading across the curricula and I think it supports our state’s being in a better position to compete and raise the level of performance for students.”

The future of the state’s existing MCAS test is uncertain as national standards will be put in place. 

The new national standards won’t be put into effect until the 2012-2013 school year.