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


    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
    2:54 pm
    Thu October 2, 2014

    NC High Schools Moving To 10-Point Grading Scale

    Credit Alberto G. / flickr

      North Carolina’s high schools will move to a 10-point grading scale in 2015-16, going into effect with next year's freshmen. 

    The State Board of Education approved the change on Thursday, moving away from the 7-point scale that has long been in place.

    The 7-point scale means that a score between 93 and 100 is an A, 85-92 is a B, and so on.

    Under the new scale, an A will be 90 to 100, and an 80 will be the lowest B. Scores below 60 will be considered failing.  

    Read more
    7:25 pm
    Fri September 26, 2014

    'Throne Of Lies' #TeachingInNC

    More than 300 teachers across the state have participated so far in our #TeachingInNC project.  It's where we ask teachers to give us a snapshot of their lives, using words or pictures. We hope that, collectively, these snippets will give "the rest of us" a sense of what it's like to be a teacher in NC. 

    Most teachers are sending in their snapshots via Twitter, but some are using Instagram. This one made us laugh.

    That same teacher also submitted this:

    >>Browse all 701+ submissions here.

    Read more
    7:41 am
    Fri September 26, 2014

    In NC Schools, There's One Counselor For Every 400 Students

    Credit Dave DeWitt

    During lunchtime, school counselor Kim Hall takes a break from her desk and roams the hallways of Providence Grove High School.

    On her five-minute walk, she encourages a senior to apply to UNC, consoles a student dealing with a scratchy throat and reminds a young teenager to see a teacher.

    “We try to make sure that we’re accessible to students during their free times,” Hall says.

    Hall has been a school counselor for 29 years. She says she tries to make more time for students as her clerical duties have grown over the years.

    Read more
    8:38 pm
    Mon September 22, 2014

    NC Commission Begins Review Of Common Core Standards

    This photo was taken at the first meeting of the review commission.
    Credit Reema Khrais

    A state commission reviewing the Common Core academic standards for public school students met for the first time on Monday.

    The politically-appointed commission has until December 2015 to look over the English and Math standards, and possibly make recommendations to the NC State Board of Education.   

    The review comes after months of complaints from parents and teachers. Many of them say the math and English standards are developmentally inappropriate for younger children, while others have equated Common Core to a federal takeover of education.

    Read more
    7:08 am
    Tue September 16, 2014

    Wake Schools Working On Plans To Reassign Students

    Credit WUNC File Photo

    Wake County officials are drafting new plans to reassign some students next school year.

    School reassignment has been one of the most contentious topics in the Wake County school system. Officials didn't make any assignment changes last year for the current school year because only one new school opened up.

    But 17 new schools are slated to open in the next few years to keep pace with the fast-growing county.

    “Twenty-two babies are born every day in Wake County hospitals,” said school board member Christine Kushner. “That’s a kindergarten class born every day.”

    Read more
    7:23 am
    Fri September 12, 2014

    Did Speaker Tillis Really Cut $500 Million From Education?

    Credit Senate Majority PAC/YouTube

    Education is a central theme in the race between Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis. Both U.S. Senate candidates have highlighted the issue as they try to gain an advantage in what has been a tight contest. 

    Hagan has argued that Tillis is not prioritizing public schools and education. She claims that he cut about $500 million in education spending.

    “His priorities even speak louder than his words,” Hagan said during her first debate with Tillis. “...The fact that he gave tax cuts to the millionaires. He cut education by $500 million.”

    Read more