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


    5:00 am
    Fri November 21, 2014

    Here's How Education Cuts Are Affecting NC Teacher Assistants

    Fayetteville teacher assistant Grace King works with 1st graders on sight words.
    Credit Reema Khrais

    Public school districts throughout the state have fewer teacher assistants in the classrooms this academic year than the previous year, despite assurances from lawmakers that the state budget would not lead to TA reductions.  

    Since the 2008-09 recession, state funding for TAs has been reduced by more than 20 percent, leading to thousands of cuts.

    In Cumberland County Schools, teacher assistant Grace King begins her day driving a school bus.

    Read more
    8:26 pm
    Mon November 17, 2014

    Still No Money For NC Group Reviewing Common Core Standards

    The Academic Standards Review Commission met for their third meeting on Monday.
    Credit Reema Khrais

      A commission charged with making changes to the state's Common Core academic standards is facing a very elemental question: how will it get the money it needs to complete its work?

    Legislators passed a bill this summer to create a commission to review and recommend changes to the Math and English academic standards for public school students.

    In the legislation, lawmakers outlined that the commission should have money to hire staff and conduct research, but did not make clear how much money the commission will receive and where it will come from.

    Read more
    8:16 am
    Fri November 7, 2014

    Wilmington NC Charter Schools Refuse To Release Salaries, Could Face Sanctions

    Credit Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

      The State Board of Education on Thursday placed Charter Day School Inc. on “financial probationary status” for not turning over salary information of school employees to the Department of Public Instruction.

    The state gave all 148 charter school operators until the end of September to provide salaries of school employees who are hired by for-profit companies.

    Charter Day, which oversees four charter schools in the Wilmington area, was the only operator to not comply.

    Read more
    5:41 pm
    Fri October 31, 2014

    NC Teacher Turnover Rate Slightly Down, But More Leave Because Dissatisfied

    Credit Reema Khrais

    Slightly fewer teachers left North Carolina last year than the year before, but more left because they were dissatisfied with teaching or wanted to teach in another state, according to a state Department of Public Instruction draft report.

    Of the 96,010 public school teachers employed last year, 1,011 said they left because they were dissatisfied with teaching or had a career change. The year before, nearly nine hundred teachers left for those reasons.

    Read more
    7:50 am
    Fri October 31, 2014

    Education: The Topic Is Headlining NC Legislative Races

    Credit Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

    With Election Day almost here, it’s become clear that one issue has headlined almost all of the races: education.

    Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger Thom Tillis have traded barbs over issues of teacher pay and education funding, while similar conversations are playing out in legislative races throughout the state.

    Read more
    8:47 am
    Tue October 21, 2014

    NC Commission Reviews Common Core, Raises Concerns

    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

    A state commission in charge of reworking the Common Core academic standards has begun reviewing them.  

    Members spent hours on Monday learning what's expected under Common Core in terms of English and language arts. Some of those goals include when students should know how to explain their ideas or comprehend certain texts.  

    The 11 members were politically appointed to review and possibly make changes to the academic standards after lawmakers heard complaints from parents and teachers that they do not progress in a natural or developmentally appropriate way.

    Read more
    2:40 pm
    Wed October 15, 2014

    'Too Good To Be True' - Hundreds Of NC Schools Offer Free Meals To All Kids

    Credit U.S. Department of Agriculture

    About 650 schools throughout the state are opting into a program to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students.

    It is part of a new program called Community Eligibility Provision, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The idea is to allow schools with high percentages of low-income children to offer free meals for all, instead of collecting individual applications for free and reduced price meals.

    In Durham, 10 schools are offering free meals to all students.

    Read more
    5:01 pm
    Tue October 7, 2014

    NC Seniors Score Slightly Higher On SAT Than Previous Class

    Credit Vancouver Film School via Flickr/Creative Commons

    North Carolina’s average SAT score from high school seniors is slightly improving, but is below the national average.

    The 2014 senior class posted an average score of 1483 on the SAT college admission test, up four points from last year’s. A perfect score is 2400, with the three sections on the test graded on a 200-800 point scale.

    The average score is 14 points below the national average of 1497. North Carolina students did not perform as well as their national peers in writing and math.

    Read more
    8:40 am
    Tue October 7, 2014

    NC Rolls Out Plan To Track Progress Of Youngest Students

    Credit Flickr via Robert S. Donovan

    In North Carolina public schools, formal assessments do not begin until third grade, but many students develop learning problems long before then. That’s why education leaders say they are rolling out a statewide plan to begin assessing students in the earlier years.

    Now, that does not mean five- and six-year-olds will have more paper and pencil tests. Instead, the responsibility will fall on teachers to track the development of their students.

    Formative Assessments In A Kindergarten Classroom

    Read more
    6:40 pm
    Thu October 2, 2014

    Nearly 80 Percent Of Third-Grade Students Considered Proficient Readers

    Credit Reema Khrais

     Across the state, 79.2 percent of third-grade students showed they were proficient last year, according to a report presented to the State Board of Education on Thursday. 

    A total of 12.7 percent of third-grade students were either retained in the third-grade or placed in transitional or accelerated classes. The remaining students were exempt because they are either English Language Learners or have learning disabilities. 

    Read more