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


    7:46 am
    Fri September 5, 2014

    Little More Than Half Of NC Students Proficient In Test Results

    Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

     More public school students passed their standardized exams last year than in the previous year, in part because of changes to the grading scale that made it easier for students to be considered proficient.

    The overall passing rate, across all subjects, was about 56 percent. Results are based on end-of-grade tests in reading, science and math, and end-of-course tests in three high school subjects.

    Read more
    4:30 am
    Fri September 5, 2014

    The School Nurse Problem In NC, And What One Parent Is Doing About It

    The school nurse-to-student ratio in NC is well above the level recommended by the CDC.
    Credit NC Parents Advocating For School Health

    Teri Saurer is a parent, and like any parent she got a little anxious a few years ago when her daughter, Hannah, was about to head off to kindergarten.

    “Hannah had a prior history of epilepsy and she now has life-threatening food allergies,” Saurer explains. “I was very concerned sending her to school. So I looked into the nurse situation and I was very surprised to find out that there was not a nurse in her school every day.”

    Read more
    5:00 am
    Thu September 4, 2014

    162-Year-Old Oak Ridge Military Academy Marches On

    The school is located along state highway 150 in Guilford County.
    Jeff Tiberii

    One of the nation's oldest military schools is located just a few miles northwest of Greensboro. Oak Ridge Military Academy recently began its 163rd academic year. However, for a time it looked as though the school was going to close. In the face of growing competition, low enrollment and unstable leadership, the academy changed course.  And for now Oak Ridge marches on.

    This week North Carolina Public Radio is looking at school communities. This is the fourth installment of a five-part series.

    Read more
    6:06 am
    Tue September 2, 2014

    Global School In Rural Edgecombe Is 'Recipe For Success’

    Kindergarten teacher Daly Romero Espinal teaches her students basic Spanish commands on the first day of school at Martin Millennium Academy.
    Credit Reema Khrais

    In rural Edgecombe County, North Carolina, community members are welcoming a new school they say will help transform their district, and its academic reputation.

    It’s a unique K-8 school with international teachers and a curriculum focused on global education. Some students will also have the opportunity to take all of their instruction in Spanish.

    The new school is trying to create global communities for its students.

    Read more
    6:13 pm
    Wed August 27, 2014

    Advocates Ask NC Supreme Court To Release School Voucher Funds

    Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

    Supporters of private school vouchers are trying to put the state’s program back on course. Attorneys are asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to overturn a recent ruling that halts the program.

    A superior court judge ruled last week that using taxpayer dollars to help send children to private schools is unconstitutional.

    But critics say the program gives low-income families school choice and that freezing the funds has put hundreds of families in limbo.

    Read more
    6:52 pm
    Tue August 19, 2014

    Judge To Rule On Legality Of Private School Voucher Program

    Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

     After hearing lengthy arguments on Tuesday, Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood says he will make a ruling on the legality of the state's private school voucher program Thursday morning.

    The program, also known as Opportunity Scholarships, uses taxpayer dollars to help low-income families send their children to private schools. The annual grants go up to $4,200 per student.

    Read more
    Politics & Government
    7:52 am
    Tue August 19, 2014

    Incentives Bill Spurs Debate Among Legislators

    Credit Matthew Lenard

    State lawmakers are at odds over intertwined bills that many argue are postponing the adjournment of the legislative session.

    One of those measures -- House Bill 1224 -- is loaded with job-creation incentives aimed at luring businesses to the state. It would also cap local sales taxes. 

    Read more
    8:33 am
    Fri August 8, 2014

    Explaining NC's Teacher Pay Raises

    Credit cybrarian77 / Creative Commons/Flickr

    Governor Pat McCrory has signed a $21 billion dollar state budget that includes pay increases for teachers. He and other Republican leaders have been trying to send a loud and clear message that teachers will be getting a historic pay raise, the first major one in years.

    They’ve been touting it as an average seven percent increase. But there’s been a lot of confusion over how that’ll actually pan out and whether all teachers will see a pay bump.

    Read more
    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