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:

    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


    4:45 am
    Thu December 19, 2013

    Training Teachers: The Growing Political Influence Of Teach For America In NC

    Leadership for Educational Equity is a little-known 501c4 partner group of Teach For America.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Rob Bryan might not have needed the help. As the chairman of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party, he was well-positioned to run against, and defeat, a Democratic incumbent for a seat in the State Legislature in 2012.

    But what turned out to be one of the more astute political decisions in his life happened more than 20 years ago, when he was a student at UNC-Chapel Hill and his roommate brought in a brochure for an organization he’d never heard of before.

    Read more
    7:36 am
    Wed December 18, 2013

    NC Teachers File Lawsuit Challenging Tenure Repeal

    NCAE, along with six plaintiffs, filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the repeal of career status, which has been around since 1971.
    Credit SalFalko via Flickr

    The N.C. Association of Educators filed a second major education lawsuit in a week, this time challenging the end of tenureotherwise known as career statusfor North Carolina public school teachers.

    The lawsuit, also filed by six classroom teachers, argues that the repeal of career status violates federal and state constitutions by taking away basic due process rights.

    Read more
    North Carolina Teacher Project
    4:33 am
    Wed December 18, 2013

    Training Teachers: Teach For America Draws Praise, Criticism

    Ethan Tillman, a first-year teacher and Teach For America corps member, puts his own college graduation gown on one of his students in Kinston.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Teaching may be in Ethan Tillman’s blood – his mother is a teacher in Charlotte - but in college at the University of South Carolina, he dreamed of being a television reporter.

    But a few months after graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism, Tillman wasn’t beginning his career at a small TV station somewhere, he was in Mississippi, at an intensive six-week training session for new Teach For America recruits.

    Not long after that, he was on the second floor of Rochelle Middle School in Kinston, teaching Language Arts to sixth graders.

    Read more
    4:19 am
    Tue December 17, 2013

    Training Teachers: Mid-Career Teachers Bring Experience To Classroom

    Lateral and alternative entry teachers make up about one-third of all teachers in North Carolina.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Marci Harvey never dreamed of being a teacher. She was a scientist - a recent graduate of the Ph.D. program at the University of South Carolina - when she got married and moved to the Triad and found herself looking for a job.

    “It was kind of a fluke,” she says. “I saw an ad in the paper, it said ‘chemistry teacher needed, must have a license or be able to get one.’ And I thought, since I’ve got a degree in chemistry, I should be able to get a license.”

    Read more
    4:07 am
    Mon December 16, 2013

    Training Teachers: Schools Of Ed Produce Effective Teachers, Face Declining Enrollment

    Students in ED100 class at NC State.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Exams are looming for the freshmen students in ED 100, the introductory class in NC State’s School of Education. But instead of looking stressed or worried, the first-year education majors have a spring in their step as they settle into the lecture hall on this late afternoon.

    Maybe it’s because most know exactly why they are here: to become a teacher.

    That resolve has been tested, of late.  

    Read more
    10:00 am
    Fri December 13, 2013

    What's On The State Of Things Today? (Friday)

    Ethan Tillman is a first-year teacher in Kinston, NC. Here, he helps a student put on his own college graduation robe as part of a “vision statement” class assignment.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Why do teachers stay and why do they go? Dave DeWitt has been reporting on this subject around the state in recent weeks. He's been meeting teachers and students and today he'll preview his series with Frank.

    Plus the latest in the court battle over the state’s controversial new voting laws.

    And, "rockin' country" with Raleigh's Erin Nenni Band.

    Read more
    7:26 am
    Mon December 9, 2013

    Eight N.C. Schools Up for Charter Renewals

    N.C. schools with charter terms coming to an end go through a renewal process that involves a review of their governance, fiscal history and academics.
    Credit Flickr via Cynthia Ahrens / Flickr

    Eight North Carolina charter schools are up for consideration for 2014 renewals.

    Representatives of the schools will present in front of the newly formed Charter School Advisory Board today and Tuesday to address concerns that the board might have regarding the schools' fulfillment of academic and fiscal standards.

    In North Carolina, public charter schools must seek renewals every ten years, though some receive shorter terms because of compliance problems.

    Read more
    5:00 am
    Thu December 5, 2013

    One In Seven NC Teachers Left Job Last Year, Report Says

    A new report shows that the teacher turnover rate has been steadily climbing since 2010.
    Credit Gates Foundation via Flickr

    An annual report shows that more North Carolina teachers left their jobs in 2012-13 than in previous school years.

    Out of the 95,028 teachers employed, 13,616 teachers left their districts, resulting in an overall state turnover rate of about 14 percent, or about one out of every seven teachers.  

    That number is a slight increase from the previous year’s turnover rate of 12 percent and 11 percent in 2010-11.

    Read more
    The Two-Way
    7:37 am
    Tue December 3, 2013

    U.S. Students Slide In Global Ranking On Math, Reading, Science

    A graphic released with the 2012 PISA results shows the annualized change in performance in average math scores between 2003 and 2012. The chart includes only nations that have comparable data from both 2003 and 2012.

    Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:13 pm

    American 15-year-olds continue to turn in flat results in a test that measures students' proficiency in reading, math and science worldwide, failing to crack the global top 20.

    The Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, collects test results from 65 countries for its rankings, which come out every three years. The latest results, from 2012, show that U.S. students ranked below average in math among the world's most-developed countries. They were close to average in science and reading.

    Read more
    The State of Things
    6:22 am
    Thu November 28, 2013

    Thanksgiving Specials - November 2013

    President Barack Obama views student projects created on laptops during a tour of Mooresville Middle School in Mooresville, N.C., June 6, 2013.
    Credit Pete Souza / Official White House Photo

    Two specials will air Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday during the "The State of Things" time slots. "The State of Things" returns Monday.

    Read more