American Graduate Series

WUNC's American Graduate Project is part of a nationwide public media conversation about the dropout crisis. We'll explore the issue through news reports, call-in programs and a forum produced with UNC-TV. Also as a part of this project we've partnered with the Durham Nativity School and YO: Durham to found the WUNC Youth Radio Club. 

These reports are part of American Graduate-Let’s Make it Happen!- a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and these generous funders:

      Project Funders:

    • GlaxoSmithKline
    • The Goodnight Educational Foundation
    • Joseph M. Bryan Foundation 
    • State Farm
    • The Grable Foundation
    • Farrington Foundation

    More education stories from WUNC

    Lawmakers are considering a number of education changes.
    Courtesy of

    Editor's note: This story has been updated with the most recent action from the state Legislature. 

    Changes to the charter school renewal process have cleared both the state House and Senate, and are on their way to the governor's desk.

    NC Senate Passes Charter School Takeover Bill

    Jun 24, 2016
    Student, Classroom, school, class
    Tom Woodward / Flickr Creative Commons

    Editor's note: This story has been updated with the most recent action from the state Legislature. 

    Lawmakers in the state Senate have passed a bill that would turn over five of the state's struggling elementary schools to charter school organizations.

    The bill goes back to the House for an up-or-down vote.

    a nationwide collaboration between NPR’s Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.
    Leigh Ann Cross

    A provision in the Senate's budget proposal would force some year-round schools to change their calendars within the next couple months.

    photo of an apple on top of books
    Kate Ter Haar / Creative Commons

    In their version of the budget, Senate Republicans have a plan to grow a large reserve fund for the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The scholarships, or vouchers, are given to low-income parents so they can pay to send their children to private rather than public schools.

    Police arrested 14 educators who refused to leave the intersection.
    Jess Clark / WUNC

    Dozens of protesters gathered in downtown Raleigh Wednesday to demand increased funding for public schools and expanded Medicaid. Police arrested fourteen teachers, teacher assistants and parents for blocking traffic.

    Teacher, school, hallway
    Jess Clark / WUNC

    Lawmakers in the state House have renewed efforts to direct more money from school districts to charter schools.

    Fayetteville math teacher Kenneth Williams creates a life-sized right triangle in his classroom.
    Jess Clark

    Lawmakers in the state Senate plan to vote Thursday on a bill that would let students opt out of the integrated high school math sequence, and take a more traditional math sequence instead.

    An image of a mortar board crossed out.
    Michael Kellen / Wikipedia

    Researchers at Duke University have new, concrete evidence that dropping out of high school leads to joblessness, hardship and incarceration. But the same study also reveals ways to help dropouts have more positive outcomes.

    New Hanover County Schools is considering a ban on 'jeggings.'
    Chris RubberDragon / Flickr Creative Commons

    If you’re a girl or woman in the U.S., chances are you have more than a few pairs of "jeggings." These tight, stretchy denim leggings are ubiquitous on high school and college campuses.  But board members of New Hanover County schools are considering banning them.

    Newly hired teachers and staff attend an orientation for Wake County Public Schools. Wake County teachers make more than most teachers in North Carolina.
    Jess Clark

    The state's average teacher pay inched up to 41 in national rankings, according to a yearly report from the National Association of Educators. Last year North Carolina ranked 42nd.

    The state's salary didn't increase significantly from the year prior, but it pulled ahead of Louisiana, which saw a sharp decline in teacher pay.