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


    5:00 am
    Thu December 5, 2013

    One In Seven NC Teachers Left Job Last Year, Report Says

    A new report shows that the teacher turnover rate has been steadily climbing since 2010.
    Credit Gates Foundation via Flickr

    An annual report shows that more North Carolina teachers left their jobs in 2012-13 than in previous school years.

    Out of the 95,028 teachers employed, 13,616 teachers left their districts, resulting in an overall state turnover rate of about 14 percent, or about one out of every seven teachers.  

    That number is a slight increase from the previous year’s turnover rate of 12 percent and 11 percent in 2010-11.

    Read more
    The Two-Way
    7:37 am
    Tue December 3, 2013

    U.S. Students Slide In Global Ranking On Math, Reading, Science

    A graphic released with the 2012 PISA results shows the annualized change in performance in average math scores between 2003 and 2012. The chart includes only nations that have comparable data from both 2003 and 2012.

    Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:13 pm

    American 15-year-olds continue to turn in flat results in a test that measures students' proficiency in reading, math and science worldwide, failing to crack the global top 20.

    The Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, collects test results from 65 countries for its rankings, which come out every three years. The latest results, from 2012, show that U.S. students ranked below average in math among the world's most-developed countries. They were close to average in science and reading.

    Read more
    The State of Things
    6:22 am
    Thu November 28, 2013

    Thanksgiving Specials - November 2013

    President Barack Obama views student projects created on laptops during a tour of Mooresville Middle School in Mooresville, N.C., June 6, 2013.
    Credit Pete Souza / Official White House Photo

    Two specials will air Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday during the "The State of Things" time slots. "The State of Things" returns Monday.

    Read more
    6:15 am
    Thu November 28, 2013

    Bilingual Children Make Critical Gains In Early Education Programs

    Researchers find that bilingual children under the age of five make significant gains in language skills while enrolled in early education programs.
    Credit Nazareth College via Flickr

    A review by UNC-Chapel Hill researchers confirms that children who speak two languages make greater gains in early education programs than their peers who speak only English.

    Scientists at UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute reviewed 25 studies and found that children with low English-language abilities greatly benefit from early childhood programs like Head Start and state-funded Pre-K.

    Read more
    9:01 am
    Wed November 27, 2013

    Audit Finds Shortcomings In NC Virtual Public School

    A state audit released this week found that the NC Virtual Public School overreported the number of enrolled students, among other issues.
    Credit Ian Usher via Flickr / Flickr

    A state audit released this week found that the North Carolina Virtual Public School misreported student enrollment and poorly documented teacher evaluations.

    According to the audit, the virtual school, which offers more than 100 online classes for students across the state, over-reported enrollment in its annual report to the State Board of Education. 

    Despite its omission of 22 charter schools that had students enrolled in the program, the virtual school reported 50,042 enrolled students instead of the actual enrollment of 49,189. 

    Read more
    North Carolina Teacher Project
    4:14 am
    Fri November 22, 2013

    Where We Are Going: Teaching In North Carolina

    Jim Potter teaching a math lesson at Lockhart Elementary School.
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Education is the family business for the Von Eitzens. Ben and Beth have been at it for about a decade; he’s a high school science teacher, she’s a guidance counselor. From all appearances, they had it made: They worked in the same building – Graham High School in Alamance County – and they liked their jobs, they liked their colleagues, and they felt like they were really making a difference with their students.

    But one thing was missing.

    Read more
    North Carolina Teacher Project
    4:59 am
    Thu November 21, 2013

    Where We Are Now: Teaching In North Carolina

    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Earlier this year, as the North Carolina General Assembly was just beginning its session, Senate Leader Phil Berger stood before the media to explain what he hoped to accomplish. Not surprisingly, much of his efforts were going to be focused on education.

    “The goal obviously is to make sure that our kids have every opportunity to succeed in their educational environment but also in life,” Berger said. “Right now, our public educational system is failing too many of our students and we need significant improvement there.”

    Read more
    North Carolina Teacher Project
    4:36 am
    Wed November 20, 2013

    How We Got Here: Teaching In North Carolina

    William Campbell on his first day integrating Raleigh City Schools.
    Credit NC Museum of History

    Alice Battle was already a veteran teacher when integration finally came to North Carolina.

    Thirteen years after Brown v. Board of Education, she was peering out the window of her second-floor classroom, watching as white and black students streamed into Chapel Hill High School – together, for the first time. Battle had previously attended and taught in segregated Black schools and was more than a little nervous.

    A riot had occurred a few days earlier, and tensions were high.

    Read more
    The State of Things
    11:45 am
    Tue November 19, 2013

    The State Of Teaching In North Carolina

    Wake County school bus
    Credit Dave DeWitt

    Sweeping reforms in education laws this year angered many teachers.

    Hundreds protested the lack of a pay increase, the elimination of tenure and the end of the master’s degree supplement. For the more than 95,000 teachers across the state, the day-to-day challenges in the classroom continue.

    Host Frank Stasio talks with Dave DeWitt, WUNC’s Raleigh Bureau Chief and Education reporter, about his latest series on the profession.

    Read more
    6:35 pm
    Thu November 7, 2013

    Student Scores Drop As North Carolina Adopts Tough Benchmarks

    The Department of Public Instruction revealed a dramatic drop in student performance on standardized tests Thursday.

    The number of North Carolina students passing state reading and math exams dramatically dropped this year, reflecting a change in performance under higher test standards and a new curriculum, according to education officials. 

     Across the state, 44.7 percent of students passed exams, down from 77.9 percent the previous year,  the Department of Public Instruction said Thursday. 

    Read more