Bronx schools in session Sept. 9

With roughly 200,000 public school students headed back to Bronx schools Sept. 9 for another year of learning, they – and their parents – will be facing some old and new concerns for the 2013-14 school year.

That includes grappling with new tougher “Common Core” standards, regular district schools and charter schools that often share the same building completing for space and students, the opening of new schools, and perennial overcrowding.

Twenty new elementary, middle and high schools are opening up in the borough. In the east Bronx, District 8 will see five new schools opening while District 11 will open two schools.

Many of the same issues that have been at the forefront in previous school years again loom large in the borough’s public school system, though a major shift has been the introduction of the Common Core curriculum and standards, which the city Department of Education classifies as a “more demanding set of knowledge and skills necessary for 21st century college and careers.”

The Bloomberg administration recently revealed that students did relatively poor in their latest state exams since the Common Core standards were introduced. Math questions were more complex. Language questions demanded students acquire a bigger vocabulary and writing skills.

In all, 29.6% of students met proficiency standards in math while 26.5% of them met the standards in English.

Mayor Bloomberg has insisted parents and educators avoid comparing this year’s test scores with previous years since the standards have changed. The silver lining in all this was city students outperforming other counties and states in many cases.

Total enrollment for the 2012-13 school year was 205,342 student in all Bronx school districts out of about 1.1 million in the city public school system.

And depending on how much one’s family makes, kids may have to bring extra money for school lunches while others will have extra for their piggy bank.

And for parents watching their budgets, the DOE has quietly bumped the price for school lunches from $1.50 to $1.75 per student each day. The agency will make it free to a family of four earning a combined income of $43,600 while charging more to families making beyond the requirement.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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