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


    10:03 am
    Wed March 20, 2013

    McCrory Unveils Safer Schools Initiative

    Credit State Dept of Public Safety

    Governor Pat McCrory has introduced a new initiative to improve school security.  He has created the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools within the state Department of Public Safety.  McCrory says the center will work with school administrators, law enforcement and state mental health experts to minimize serious threats in and around schools.

    Read more
    5:00 am
    Wed March 20, 2013

    Left Off The Path: Latinos And High School Graduation

    The General Assembly is unlikely to alter the policy that undocumented students must pay out-of-state tuition.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Educators don’t often get a chance to celebrate publicly, so it was understandable when State Superintendent June Atkinson stood up at a news conference last fall and bragged a little about North Carolina’s 80 percent high school graduation rate.

    “This is excellent news for our state and one more step toward ensuring that all of our students graduate from high school career, college, and citizenship ready,” said Atkinson.

    Read more
    4:10 pm
    Tue March 19, 2013

    Chapel Hill Charter School Runs Into More Problems

    A controversial charter school that was approved to open its doors in Chapel Hill this fall has hit a road block. The managing company that was supposed to run the day-to-day operations of the Howard and Lillian Lee Charter School has pulled out.

    National Heritage Academies, Inc. runs more than 70 charter schools across the country, including six in North Carolina. The Lee School would have been number seven, but NHA has backed out of the project.

    Read more
    1:10 pm
    Wed March 13, 2013

    Sequester Hits Durham Schools

    Eric Becoats, Superintendent Durham Public Schools
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Local school districts are bracing for funding cuts due to the federal sequestration. In Durham, the cuts from sequestration could be as much as $1.7 million. In Wake County - a much larger district - the same sequester cuts would total about $11 million.

    And it's the most vulnerable students who will be affected.

    "Most of the items that would be impacted would be some title one funding," said Eric Becoats, Durham's superintendent. "We would also expect to see some decreases in our exceptional children's funding that we receive from the federal government as well."

    Read more
    2:01 pm
    Thu March 7, 2013

    State School Board Gives Final Approval To New Charter Schools

    Credit Dave DeWitt / WUNC

    The State Board of Education has given final approval to 23 charter schools to open this fall.

    Last year, 63 applicants began the process of applying to start a charter school, with an eye toward opening this fall. Twenty-five made it to this final round.

    Read more
    The State of Things
    11:11 am
    Wed March 6, 2013

    How Charter Schools Are Changing Public Education

    Seventy new charter schools have applied to become part of North Carolina’s growing population of alternative public schools. For the longest time, the number of charter schools in the state was capped at 100, but lawmakers changed that back in 2011.

    Read more
    7:08 am
    Thu February 28, 2013

    A (Text) Message 2 Die 4? Educating Young Drivers

    This scene included a staged wreck, first responders, the Jaws of Life and students acting as victims.
    Jeff Tiberii

    On a crisp February afternoon, students watched as a fictitious emergency scene played out at Western Guilford High School. Several hundred students sat in bleachers and watched the staged horror of a car accident in the school parking lot. The program, called “message 2 die 4” was an effort between the school, local law enforcement and some Greensboro businesses. It was designed at educating teen drivers about the dangers of texting while behind the wheel.

    Read more
    The State of Things
    11:41 am
    Mon January 28, 2013

    Deborah Hicks Escapes Appalachia, Returns As A Teacher

    The Road Out: A Teacher's Odyssey in Poor America

    Deborah Hicks  grew up in an Appalachian paper mill town she hoped to escape. Her education opened doors for her to leave and travel to other parts of a country, but she returned time and again to Appalachia as a teacher. Deborah has dedicated her life to educating those that need her most - focusing on young girls in poor neighborhoods. She is the founder and director of PAGE, Partnership for Appalachian Girls' Education, in Madison County.

    Read more
    9:50 pm
    Thu January 17, 2013

    Duke Researchers Say Economic Segregation in Schools is Rising

    A Duke University study finds the state's schools are becoming less racially segregated and more economically segregated.

    For decades, race has been the most common measure of school segregation.  But 10 years of observation by some Duke professors shows there is a bigger divide in school populations even if ethnic disparity has leveled off.

    Charles Clotfelter teaches law, economics and public policy at Duke.  His team looked primarily at students getting free lunch and found that some counties handled the divide better than others:

    Read more
    9:00 am
    Fri October 19, 2012

    Governor Perdue Increases Funding for Pre-K

    Governor Bev Perdue plans to shift 20 million dollars into funding for the state's pre-kindergarten academic enrichment program.

    Read more