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

    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.

    Middle school student Jojo works on a math assignment at Concord Middle.
    Reema Khrais / WUNC

    Lawmakers in a House committee on education spending released their budget proposal Thursday, and it includes several policy changes. One of those is  an adjustment to the A-F school grading system.

    Teacher, school, hallway
    Jess Clark

    Reductions in state funding have forced school districts across the state to cut millions from their budgets. Durham Public Schools is planning to cut more than 90 positions at the end of the month. But parents, employees and activists are questioning the district’s decision to cut employees closer to the classroom, while leaving in place administrative positions.

    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

    This story is part of the NPR reporting project “School Money,” 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.

    Pat McCrory
    James Willamor / Flickr Creative Commons

    Governor Pat McCrory proposed a 5 percent average pay increase for North Carolina teachers and a
     a 3.5 percent average bonus.

    Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg)
    NC General Assembly

     Lawmakers are drafting a bill that would allow charter schools to take over five of the state’s lowest-performing elementary schools. The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) wants lawmakers to approve the takeover legislation in the short session. But Bryan is championing the proposal, despite research showing a similar charter takeover in Tennessee had minimal impact on student performance.

    Thomasville sophomore Denise Dominguez takes AP music theory, one of the hardest AP classes.
    Jess Clark

    Advanced Placement classes, or AP classes, are the gold standard for high school coursework. Students who take them can get college credit, and nice boost to their college applications. But not every student has equal access to AP classes, especially in rural districts. We take a loot at how Thomasville City Schools, a small district in Davidson County, is ramping up its AP program, and trying to expose a wider variety of students to college-level work.

    Lead teacher Amy Brewer goes over a Math lesson at Concord Middle School in Cabarrus County.
    Reema Khrais / WUNC

    Over the last five years, four different principals have cycled through Concord Middle School. The latest principal to step into the role is Carrie Tulbert. She remembers when the superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools called her last year and asked her if she could come.

    “The more he told me about Concord Middle School, the more he just kind of inadvertently pulled at my heart strings,” she explains.

    A former state principal of the year, Tulbert decided to take on the challenge of helping to turn around the high-poverty, low-performing middle school.

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