Florida schools roundup: Common Core, charter schools, special needs & more

Common Core: The new national education standards are attracting opposition and causing a rift among Republicans. Miami Herald. Parents can expect more project-based homework, group work in class and less multiple-choice tests thanks to Common Core State Standards. Sun Sentinel. More from the Miami Herald. Parents: This school year will be the last time your student has to take the FCAT. Probably. Palm Beach Post. Treasure Coast educators say the curriculum this year will be a blend of current and new standards. TC Palm.

florida-roundup-logoCharter schools: Florida’s auditor general calls for increased oversight of charter schools after report shows an increase in the number operating at a deficit. In Broward County, 17 of 73 charter schools ended the 2011-12 financial year in the red. In Palm Beach County, it was four out of 35 schools. Sun Sentinel. Pembroke Pines considers selling a highly-contested 43-acre property to Discovery Schools to build a charter school. Sun Sentinel. Duval County’s charter schools have tripled from seven in 1999 to 21 today with enrollment jumping from 609 in 2003 to more than 7,500. Florida Times-Union.

Parents: The Tampa Tribune looks at what some education experts say has the biggest impact on a child’s academic success.

Scheduling snafu: An open house at Olsen Middle School in Dania Beach leaves parents and students waiting long hours in line to fix class schedules. Miami Herald.

Special needs: Unicorn Village Academy opens in West Boca and caters to students with autism and other learning differences. Sun Sentinel. Federal funding cuts hit home for Polk County’s ESE students. The Ledger.

Bus battle: A blind Lake County mom wins her battle to get her visually impaired 5-year-old son on a bus to his district school. Orlando Sentinel.

International learning: Students from China are attending the Community School of Naples in Lee County, part of an international education program. Naples Daily News.

School security: Hillsborough County students and parents are greeted with tightened security as they head back to class, with controlled access about to be the norm at all 215 district schools. The Tampa Tribune.

Conduct: Manatee County Superintendent Rick Mills says the district still does not have a plan to replace three assistant principals charged with felonies in a recent investigation. Bradenton Herald. Bradenton Police release more records in the probe of former assistant coach. Bradenton Herald.

Transportation: Hernando County school transportation officials say they finally have enough bus drivers for the school year, but they still could use more. Tampa Bay Times. Broward school transportation officials say they expect buses this year to be on-time and with few problems on the first day of school. Sun Sentinel.

Back to school: Hillsborough County schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia highlights National Merit Semifinalists, Hispanic Scholars and student test scores during her annual state of the district speech. Tampa Bay Times. More than 600,000  students return to classes today in Miami and Broward counties. Miami Herald. Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Wayne Gent prepares for a rigorous, but rewarding year. Palm Beach Post. Some students overcome barriers to return to school. Palm Beach Post. Hillsborough County touts safety awareness with its Got Brakes? campaign to get drivers to stop for school buses. Tampa Bay Times. Newly-appointed Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano gears up for the new year. Tampa Bay Times.

New principals: Palm Beach County schools welcome 18 new principals. Palm Beach Post.

Teacher raises: Central Florida teachers have yet to receive the pay hikes touted by Gov. Rick Scott. Orlando Sentinel.

Technology: The day when students won’t be lugging around heavy backpacks full of bulky textbooks is coming as Treasure Coast school officials test the use of iPods, smartphones, personal laptops and other devices for the classroom. TC Palm.