Iowa is joining 29 other states in adopting national standards for what students should learn in math and English. The new curriculum is designed to make the expectations for schools uniform from state-to-state.

The national standards differ from what’s known as the Iowa Core Curriculum by setting expectations grade-by-grade instead of clumping two-or-more grade levels together.

The acting director of the Iowa Department of Education, Kevin Fangman, says the state’s standards have also been criticized for their lack of specifics. “I think there’s a little bit more detail, which has been some of the feedback from teachers that they would like. I think a lot of the end of the day…there is a strong alignment or a match between the two in what they looked at to come up with their standards and what we looked at to come up with the Iowa Core were very similar,” Fangman said.

The Iowa Board of Education voted unanimously today to accept the national standards for English and math during its meeting in Marshalltown. Fangman believes the Iowa Core Curriculm isn’t much different from the national standards, so the transition should be a smooth one. “The past two years, districts have been getting their implementation plans ready for the Iowa Core, so some teachers won’t see a change as far as what they’ve been looking at and what’s coming out now,” Fangman said.

Prior to today’s vote, Governor Culver urged board members to adopt the standards, which the nation’s governors and school chiefs released in June. All Iowa school districts are required to implement the new standards by 2014.