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Mass. Prepares To Vote On Education Overhaul

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to vote Wednesday morning on a proposal to replace state standards with national ones.

If Massachusetts adopts national standards — called the Common Core — for teaching math and English, it will have a better chance of winning federal dollars for school reform.

The problem some have is that Massachusetts is considered to have some of the best standards in the nation — and adopting the national standards could mean replacing the state's MCAS exam. Critics like Jim Stergios of the Pioneer Institute say going national would dumb down education in this state.

"We're doing a tremendous job changing our schools, moving forward as a state," Stergios said.

The state's education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, and others who support moving to the national standards, say they include elements that are better than Massachusetts' current system.

"We are not taking a step backward. In fact, what we are doing is adopting a set of standards that are in a way stronger than our own standards," Chester said.

Besides, they say, the national standards are flexible and the state can beef them up where necessary.

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This program aired on July 21, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Bianca Vázquez Toness Twitter Reporter
Bianca Vázquez Toness was formerly a report for WBUR.

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