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


    11:59 am
    Thu August 7, 2014

    The Year Of The Teacher

    Jim Potter teaching at Lockhart Elementary School in Wake County.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    This is The Year of the Teacher, a documentary from North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC looking back at an extraordinary year in public education in the state.

    Just before lunch, the kids in Jim Potter’s third-grade class are sitting at attention, engaged and enthusiastic. This isn’t his classroom – he’s doing his student teaching here at Lockhart Elementary in Wake County – but it sure seems like it. His energy is up, the kids are with him, and the minutes fly by.

    Read more
    Politics & Government
    8:21 am
    Tue August 5, 2014

    Wake Commissioners Reject Sales Tax Increase To Raise Teacher Pay

    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

    Wake commissioners voted Monday against a referendum that could have raised the county's sales tax by a quarter-cent to generate about $28 million to go toward public schools.

    Some Wake Commissioners wanted to hold the vote because the General Assembly might limit their ability to raise sales taxes. Lawmakers want to cap the local sales tax rate to 2.5 percent. The measure would allow some of the large urban counties, including Wake, to bypass that requirement if they levy a quarter percent tax this November.

    Read more
    5:00 am
    Thu July 24, 2014

    Common Core: Is It ‘Developmentally Inappropriate’?

    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

    Since the beginning of this year, many legislators and critics have dubbed Common Core "developmentally inappropriate."

    They argue that the new Math and English standards should be repealed because they are not suitable for some students.

    "I know there is some age and grade inappropriateness,” said Republican Sen. Jerry Tillman at a legislative meeting earlier this year. “I’ve talked with teachers.”

    Read more
    6:28 pm
    Wed July 23, 2014

    Houston School District Back In NC, Looking For More Teachers

    Credit cybrarian77 / Creative Commons/Flickr

      The Houston Independent School District is looking to recruit more teachers from North Carolina.

    Recruiters first visited in May, where they made 12 on-the-spot offers and later hired about 8 more teachers, according to Shaleah Reed, a spokesperson from HISD.

    The district is offering $49,100 as a starting salary. North Carolina’s starting salary is among the lowest in the nation at $30,800.

    Read more
    9:45 pm
    Tue July 22, 2014

    Governor McCrory Signs Bill To Rework Common Core

    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

      Governor Pat McCrory has signed a bill designed to review and potentially replace the Common Core academic standards.

    McCrory referred to the bill as a “Common Core review bill,” despite lawmakers who say that the legislation will work to replace the standards.

    Read more
    4:27 pm
    Wed July 16, 2014

    North Carolina On Its Way To Replacing Common Core


    The NC House gave final approval to a measure on Wednesday that would review and change the Common Core standards. The bill is now before Governor Pat McCrory, who says he will sign it.

    Lawmakers have argued that they want to rewrite the English and Math standards to better suit North Carolina students. They say they’re responding to critics and parents who have complained that the standards are flawed and academically deficient.

    Read more
    9:40 am
    Tue July 15, 2014

    The Downside For School Districts When Large Teacher Raises Are Enacted

    Credit WUNC File Photo

    State lawmakers still can’t come to an agreement over how large of a pay raise they want to give public school teachers.

    House leaders want to give teachers an average six percent raise, while Senate leaders want to give them about 11 percent. But the Senate plan would cut more than 6,000 teacher assistant jobs to help pay for that larger salary boost. 

    It’s a concession that many school leaders say they can’t get behind. They want raises, but not by laying off thousands of teacher assistants.

    Read more
    Politics & Government
    11:07 am
    Mon July 14, 2014

    Lawmakers To Spend At Least Another Week On State Budget

    Credit Matthew Lenard

    House and Senate leaders are back in Raleigh today to try to resolve large differences in their spending plans for the year. 

    They're now two weeks past their deadline, as they've been at odds over how much to pay teachers and at what cost. Senators want to give large raises of about 11 percent, but they would pay for them in part by cutting more than 6,000 teacher assistants. 

    House leaders have been adamant about providing more modest raises without laying off any educators or impacting the state's Medicaid health insurance program.

    Read more
    10:08 am
    Mon July 14, 2014

    Why Teacher Pay Matters Even If You Are Not a Teacher [Interactive Map]

    Interactive county map with Wake County highlighted.
    Credit Keith Weston

    Even the most informed citizens sometimes lose track of all the chatter that’s going on in the General Assembly. Fights between Republicans and Democrats, the Governor and fellow Republicans, teachers and legislators – at some point, for even the most insatiable news junkie, it devolves into just so much noise.

    Read more
    Arts & Culture
    3:10 pm
    Sun July 13, 2014

    Teens 'Remix' The News: World Cup, Controversial Shooting Range And More

    Sadie Zimet working at the Chapel Hill Beat Making Lab
    Credit Beat Making Lab

    Area teens have been listening to radio news stories and remixing them with original hip hop beats. Remixing the News is a partnership between WUNC and the Beat Making Lab

    The teens are  from area high schools including Chapel Hill High, East Chapel Hill High, and Research Triangle High. They met regularly after school throughout the spring and then completed a week-long summer workshop.

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