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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Most of North Carolina’s 1.5 million public school students are opening a new academic year.

Children across North Carolina head back to school Monday, the first day of classes for traditional calendar students.

Students will be working under a new set of education standards that expects them to master key concepts and understand how to apply them in real-life situations. Students will be asked to think and reason more, to read more nonfiction and less fiction.

The State Highway Patrol is asking drivers to pay attention, be patient with school buses, and watch for children crossing the road.

Jacksonville traffic supervisor Lt. Sean Magill warns that speeding in a school zone will cost nearly $450 in fines and court costs.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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