Published: Jul 27, 2010 6:51 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 27, 2010 3:50 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida became the latest state to adopt a set of national benchmarks for student learning in math and English on Tuesday with the approval of the Common Core State Standards.

The state Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of adopting the standards in a brief meeting on Tuesday. Commissioner Eric Smith had recommended approval.

The vote makes Florida the 30th state to adopt the standards, following approvals in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia last week. In all, about 40 states are expected to adopt the benchmarks by this fall.

"This approval marks a vital next step on Florida's long-standing and successful education reform journey by strengthening our curriculum standards for these critical subjects and laying the groundwork for the comparison of our state's academic progress with our nation and the world," said T. Willard Fair, the board's chairman.

The standards were produced by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to replace a patchwork of varying standards across states with a set of uniform guidelines. The federal government has not been involved in the project, though it has encouraged adopting the standards and included it as part of scoring in the "Race to the Top" grant competition, in which Florida is an applicant.

Current standards vary significantly in each state.  In a study released  arlier this month, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute said Florida's standards in math and English are comparable in rigor and clarity to the Common Core standards. The study praised Florida's English standards as being clearly written, though it said they were sometimes repetitive and failed to address American literature.

The state's math standards also received high marks.   Smith said the board will discuss implementing the standards over time at a future meeting.

The Florida Education Association, the statewide union, said that while it supports chllenging students and increasing standards, implementation could be costly and hasn't been extensively discussed.

"Most of the things that have been coming down the pike recently, as far as improving school standards and such, have been without a whole lot of financial support, and in a period of time where we've been cutting the education budget over the last four years, doing these new approaches is costly," Mark Pudlow, a union spokesman, said.