Massachusetts school districts have two years to align their curricula with new national standards adopted Wednesday on an 8-0 vote by the state Board of Primary and Secondary Education.
The new standards for English demand more writing and public speaking of students in the hopes they learn to craft a persuasive argument.
Elise Frangos, director of English for the education agency Mass Insight, says the national guidelines — called the Common Core — better prepare kids for college and a career.
"They'll be keenly aware," Frangos said, "and they'll learn how to craft counter-arguments successfully."
The new math guidelines demand more conceptual thinking and add probability and statistics to the skills students need to master.
Critics say that's a slower approach that does not completely prepare students for algebra.
This program aired on July 22, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.