AUGUSTA — Maine is likely to sign onto a new set of national academic standards whose final draft was released Wednesday, according to the state Department of Education.

If Maine ultimately adopts the Common Core standards, it would be the fourth academic standards change for the state’s teachers in the last 15 years.

The Common Core standards primarily address English and math, prescribing what skills students should learn in each year of school. Maine’s current standards prescribe school expectations by grade ranges.

The standards document — which was developed jointly by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers — is meant to bring uniformity to what public schools in different states teach their students.

“Maine, along with the rest of the nation, will benefit from the new standards, with fewer concepts, stressing deeper learning, and with clearer and higher expectations,” Angela Faherty, Maine’s acting education commissioner, said in a statement.

The Common Core standards are a focal point in Race to the Top, a national competition among states for $4 billion in federal education reform funds. The competition guidelines favor states that adopt the Common Core standards by Aug. 2. Maine submitted its application for up to $75 million this week.

Maine lawmakers in April passed legislation allowing the state Department of Education to adopt the standards once a final draft was released.

The department would adopt the standards before Aug. 2 through the emergency rulemaking process, department spokesman David Connerty-Marin said. That process would allow the policy change to take effect immediately, and allow lawmakers the chance to review it when they return to Augusta in the winter.

“It is our intention to adopt the standards, pending a review of the final version,” Connerty-Marin said. “We would certainly never adopt them if they were to lower standards. We’re fairly confident that, if anything, this will in fact strengthen the standards.”

In her statement, Faherty said Maine schools would have two years to adapt to teaching to the Common Core standards.

Matthew Stone • [email protected]

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