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:

    American Graduate Logo
    Credit CPB
      Project Funders:

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

    More education stories from WUNC


    8:33 pm
    Thu January 29, 2015

    N.C. Bill Keeps Teachers’ Group From Collecting Dues Via Paychecks

    Credit Sarah-Jl / Flickr/Creative Commons

    North Carolina's Republican lawmakers are trying once more to prevent employees’ associations from collecting their members’ dues via payroll deductions.

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    7:23 am
    Thu January 29, 2015

    Why Some NC School Districts Want To Authorize Their Own Charter Schools

    Credit Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

    When North Carolina charter schools were first imagined in the mid 1990s, there were two big dreams: The first was to create something different, a sort of hotbed of innovation. The second was to take all of that new thinking – at least the stuff that worked – and share it with traditional public schools.

    “But the second half of that never occurred,” said Jim Merrill, superintendent of Wake County Public Schools.

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    5:01 pm
    Wed January 28, 2015

    State Audit: NC Charter School Mismanaged Taxpayer Dollars

    Credit Flickr user 401(K)2013

    A failed charter school in Lenoir County mismanaged hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the state auditor’s office.

    Kinston Charter Academy received more than $600,000 of state money two months before it closed, even though it had received several citations for fiscal mismanagement over the years.

    The audit says the funds were inappropriately used to cover expenses from the previous year, instead of going toward other public schools that students transferred to after Kinston closed.

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    7:51 am
    Wed January 28, 2015

    Fewer People Want To Be Teachers, N.C. Education Leaders Look For Solutions

    Credit Reema Khrais

     Fewer North Carolina students are enrolling in teaching programs, a problem education leaders say they are trying to tackle by strengthening recruitment, improving teacher preparation and supporting pay increases.

    The number of undergraduate and graduate students declaring education majors dropped by 12 percent between 2013 and 2014. It’s a statistic education officials repeated and mulled over during Tuesday’s UNC Board of Governors Education Summit held by the SAS Institute.

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    7:45 pm
    Tue January 20, 2015

    Judge To Examine If NC Schools Providing 'Sound, Basic Education'

    Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

    A North Carolina superior court judge will hold a hearing Wednesday on whether the state is providing every student with the opportunity for an adequate education.

    Judge Howard E. Manning Jr. is in charge of making sure the state hasn't forgotten about the Leandro case,  a decades-old landmark lawsuit that says all children - regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds - deserve a 'sound, basic education.'

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    7:01 am
    Wed January 14, 2015

    NC Education Leaders Want To Cut End-Of-Grade Testing

    Credit Alberto G. / flickr

    Education leaders are considering drastically cutting the number of standardized tests for public school students.

    Members of a state task force charged with studying how often students are tested have drafted a proposal that would eliminate almost all end-of-grade tests and end-of-course tests.

    “Right now, we know that too much weight is put on end-of-grade tests and end-of-course tests,” said Bladen County Schools Superintendent Robert Taylor, who’s on the task force.

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    11:56 am
    Thu January 8, 2015

    NC High School Students Will Be Graded On 10-Point Scale

    Credit WUNC File Photo

    All North Carolina high school students will be graded on a 10-point scale starting next school year, a change State Board of Education members approved Thursday. 

    That means students will earn A’s if they score between 90 and 100. Currently, they’re graded on a 7-point scale.

    State officials had previously decided in October to phase in the new 10-point scale with next year’s freshmen class. But Rebecca Garland, Deputy State Superintendent for the Department of Public Instruction, said that decision upset parents, students, teachers and superintendents.

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    8:10 am
    Tue December 23, 2014

    Wake Schools To Support "High-Needs" Schools With Extra Resources

    Credit Vancouver Film School via Flickr/Creative Commons

    Wake County School leaders hope to spend millions over the next few years to help support their high-poverty schools.

    Officials identified 12 “high-needs” elementary schools earlier this year that will receive extra resources like professional development and more pay for teachers.

    “One immediate need that we saw in a lot of the schools had to do with vacancies,” said Cathy Moore, Wake's deputy superintendent for school performance, at a recent school board meeting. 

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    7:51 am
    Thu December 18, 2014

    NC Closer To Opening Its First-Ever Virtual Charter Schools

    Credit Wikimedia Commons

    The state is closer to opening two virtual charter schools. A special committee on Wednesday cleared two applications of proposed charter schools that would be operated by for-profit companies.

    North Carolina Virtual Academy would be managed by K12 Inc., which has had student performance problems in other states, while N.C. Connections Academy would be affiliated with Connections Education.

    On Wednesday, the state committee took turns firing off questions to the two eager applicants.

    There was the biggest and most obvious question:

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    8:20 am
    Wed December 17, 2014

    Driver’s Ed Funding Cuts Hurt Students, Wake Officials Say

    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Wake County school leaders said Thursday that the state’s decision to eliminate funding for driver’s education could put students at risk and lead to higher costs for families and taxpayers.

    This summer, state lawmakers passed legislation to eliminate the $26 million school districts now receive to fund the program. That means starting next July, when the new fiscal year begins, districts will have to find other means to cover program costs.

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