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


    6:15 am
    Thu November 28, 2013

    Bilingual Children Make Critical Gains In Early Education Programs

    Researchers find that bilingual children under the age of five make significant gains in language skills while enrolled in early education programs.
    Credit Nazareth College via Flickr

    A review by UNC-Chapel Hill researchers confirms that children who speak two languages make greater gains in early education programs than their peers who speak only English.

    Scientists at UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute reviewed 25 studies and found that children with low English-language abilities greatly benefit from early childhood programs like Head Start and state-funded Pre-K.

    Read more
    12:00 pm
    Wed November 27, 2013

    American Indian Students In Higher Education

    Credit Duke University

    Since 2010, the number of American Indian students in the UNC system has been declining.

    Today, there are 87 American Indian students in a student population of 19,000 undergraduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Read more
    9:01 am
    Wed November 27, 2013

    Audit Finds Shortcomings In NC Virtual Public School

    A state audit released this week found that the NC Virtual Public School overreported the number of enrolled students, among other issues.
    Credit Ian Usher via Flickr / Flickr

    A state audit released this week found that the North Carolina Virtual Public School misreported student enrollment and poorly documented teacher evaluations.

    According to the audit, the virtual school, which offers more than 100 online classes for students across the state, over-reported enrollment in its annual report to the State Board of Education. 

    Despite its omission of 22 charter schools that had students enrolled in the program, the virtual school reported 50,042 enrolled students instead of the actual enrollment of 49,189. 

    Read more
    North Carolina Teacher Project
    4:14 am
    Fri November 22, 2013

    Where We Are Going: Teaching In North Carolina

    Jim Potter teaching a math lesson at Lockhart Elementary School.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Education is the family business for the Von Eitzens. Ben and Beth have been at it for about a decade; he’s a high school science teacher, she’s a guidance counselor. From all appearances, they had it made: They worked in the same building – Graham High School in Alamance County – and they liked their jobs, they liked their colleagues, and they felt like they were really making a difference with their students.

    But one thing was missing.

    Read more
    North Carolina Teacher Project
    4:59 am
    Thu November 21, 2013

    Where We Are Now: Teaching In North Carolina

    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Earlier this year, as the North Carolina General Assembly was just beginning its session, Senate Leader Phil Berger stood before the media to explain what he hoped to accomplish. Not surprisingly, much of his efforts were going to be focused on education.

    “The goal obviously is to make sure that our kids have every opportunity to succeed in their educational environment but also in life,” Berger said. “Right now, our public educational system is failing too many of our students and we need significant improvement there.”

    Read more
    North Carolina Teacher Project
    4:36 am
    Wed November 20, 2013

    How We Got Here: Teaching In North Carolina

    William Campbell on his first day integrating Raleigh City Schools.
    Credit NC Museum of History

    Alice Battle was already a veteran teacher when integration finally came to North Carolina.

    Thirteen years after Brown v. Board of Education, she was peering out the window of her second-floor classroom, watching as white and black students streamed into Chapel Hill High School – together, for the first time. Battle had previously attended and taught in segregated Black schools and was more than a little nervous.

    A riot had occurred a few days earlier, and tensions were high.

    Read more
    The State of Things
    11:45 am
    Tue November 19, 2013

    The State Of Teaching In North Carolina

    Wake County school bus
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Sweeping reforms in education laws this year angered many teachers.

    Hundreds protested the lack of a pay increase, the elimination of tenure and the end of the master’s degree supplement. For the more than 95,000 teachers across the state, the day-to-day challenges in the classroom continue.

    Host Frank Stasio talks with Dave DeWitt, WUNC’s Raleigh Bureau Chief and Education reporter, about his latest series on the profession.

    Read more
    6:35 pm
    Thu November 7, 2013

    Student Scores Drop As North Carolina Adopts Tough Benchmarks

    The Department of Public Instruction revealed a dramatic drop in student performance on standardized tests Thursday.

    The number of North Carolina students passing state reading and math exams dramatically dropped this year, reflecting a change in performance under higher test standards and a new curriculum, according to education officials. 

     Across the state, 44.7 percent of students passed exams, down from 77.9 percent the previous year,  the Department of Public Instruction said Thursday. 

    Read more
    The State of Things
    12:05 pm
    Wed November 6, 2013

    June Atkinson On The Fight To Save NC Schools

    Teachers demonstrate Monday morning outside Riverside High School in Durham
    Credit Dave DeWitt


    This week, North Carolina teachers protested funding shortages in the education system by staging walk-ins across the state.

    Many were upset by budget cuts that affect instruction for the state’s more than 1.5 million students. Host Frank Stasio talks to North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson about the plight facing the state’s K-12 education system.

    Read more
    9:19 pm
    Tue November 5, 2013

    McCrory Creates Teacher Advisory Committee

    Gov. Pat McCrory created the Governor's Teacher Advisory Committee.

    Governor Pat McCrory is seeking the advice of two-dozen teachers in developing education policy. The Governor's Teacher Advisory Committee met for the first time - a day after educators across the state protested against changes made in the most recent legislative session.

    The teachers selected for the committee come from all corners of the state and all grade levels. In their first meeting yesterday, Governor McCrory asked them to come up with recommendations on a wide array of challenges, including teacher compensation, evaluation, and testing.

    Read more