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


    7:55 am
    Fri June 13, 2014

    Military Officers Urge Lawmakers To Keep Common Core Standards

    Retired generals from North Carolina urged state lawmakers on Thursday not to derail the Common Core standards.

    A group of retired generals is advising lawmakers not to support legislation that would get rid of the Common Core academic standards.

    The group Mission Readiness: Military Leaders for Kids says the standards will help ensure the success and strength of the military by better preparing students who choose to serve. Military officers say about 23 percent of graduates looking to enroll don’t pass entrance exams in math, literacy and problem solving.

    Read more
    1:41 pm
    Thu June 12, 2014

    [Multimedia] Outspoken: The State of Teaching in North Carolina

    For the past several months, WUNC has been working on a new multimedia project on the state of teaching. A sort of "End-Of-The-School Year" report on education in the state. That report, "Outspoken: The State of Teaching in North Carolina" is out today. 

    In it, teachers tell stories that show the complexity of their jobs. Like Chris Reagan, who has had to prepare middle schoolers for both standardized tests... and how to go on a date:

    Read more
    12:51 pm
    Thu June 12, 2014

    Chapel Hill Crossing Guard Marks 15th Year On The Corner

    Sim Bowden has worked this corner in Chapel Hill since 1999.
    Credit Carol Jackson

    Every weekday, Sim Bowden manages the pedestrians at the intersection outside of Estes Hills Elementary in Chapel Hill. He's there for an hour and fifteen minutes each morning and afternoon, shepherding kids and adults safely across the busy street. Watching him is mesmerizing. His hand is usually in the air -- he waves to everyone, cars, trucks, school buses. And everyone seems to know Sim.

    "Hello, cutie," shouts a mom in a silver SUV.

    Today is the last day of school in Chapel Hill, and it also marks the end of Sim's fifteenth year working this corner.

    Read more
    4:52 pm
    Wed June 11, 2014

    Senate Bill Would Require Charter Schools To Disclose Salaries

    Credit WUNC File Photo

    A Senate Education Committee has approved a bill that makes certain that charter schools are subject to the same public records and open meetings laws as traditional public schools.

    The bill comes at a time when charter schools are thriving in North Carolina - 26 new schools are set to open in the fall.

    Charter schools are run by private nonprofit boards, but get public money from the state. For that reason, lawmakers say charter schools should be bound by the same state public record laws as traditional schools.

    Read more
    8:21 am
    Wed June 11, 2014

    House Budget Proposes Looking To Lottery Sales To Pay For Teacher Raises


    State House Republicans released a proposed budget on Tuesday that is significantly different than the Senate's spending plan in terms of education. House leaders say they want to give all public school teachers raises without making them give up their job protections.

    They're also looking to pull from lottery money to pay for those raises, instead of making cuts to public education. 

    Read more
    10:33 am
    Tue June 10, 2014

    'The Teacher Couch Summit,' Tweet By Tweet

    Senate Leader Phil Berger takes an impromptu meeting with Moral Monday protesters.
    Credit Reema Khrais

    Monday night, 15 Moral Monday protesters sat in front of Senate Leader Phil Berger’s door.  Berger wasn't in his office, so the protesters sat there until the Senate session ended. Soon, State Capitol Police began to usher everyone out. They said that the building was closing, everyone had to leave. Reporter Dave DeWitt was with the protesters. He wrote about what happened next this way:

    Read more
    10:18 pm
    Wed June 4, 2014

    NC Moves Closer To Unraveling Common Core Standards

    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

      The House passed a bill on Wednesday that moves the state closer to getting rid of the Common Core standards.

    The bill would form a commission to rewrite the standards over the next year, according to legislators, though they could not offer a clear timetable of when they would be implemented in classrooms. They say students would still learn under Common Core until new standards are in place. 

    Read more
    Politics & Government
    8:19 pm
    Thu May 29, 2014

    Senate Budget Plan Would Mean Big Changes To Education And Medicaid

    Credit Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC /

    Senate leaders have released their proposed budget for the next fiscal year. They’re looking to spend about 21 billion dollars. Their plan would make substantial changes to the Medicaid program - and would scale back several state agencies, including the Department of Justice. Senate leaders also proposed hefty pay raises for public school teachers. 

    For months now, Senate leaders have made it very clear that they want to give teachers pay raises. But they’ve been pretty coy about the details until this week.

    Read more
    11:56 am
    Wed May 28, 2014

    Senate Republicans Offer 11 Percent Raises For Teachers Who Give Up Tenure

    Senate leaders gathered for a press conference on Wednesday morning to release a plan about raising teacher pay.

    Senate Republicans released a plan on Wednesday to provide what they call the "largest teacher pay raise in state history." The plan calls for an average 11 percent raise for teachers as long as they give up career status, otherwise known as tenure. Teachers who choose to not give up their job protections would stay on the current pay plan and not receive any increases. 

    Read more
    6:32 pm
    Tue May 27, 2014

    NC Bill Would Trim Funding For School Buses

    Credit Dave DeWitt

     State lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce funds for school buses over the next five years. 

    The House bill would limit the number of spare buses and their replacement parts, while revising the state inspection process for school bus maintenance.

    The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie, Forsyth), says the legislation would make school bus operations more efficient, while saving about $19 million in recurring funds over the years.

    Read more