American Graduate

In an age that demands more skill and higher levels of education from its workers, some students still choose to drop out. What can be done to help them? Guilford County Schools in North Carolina has tackled that question and made a lot of headway encouraging students to stay in school.

Loretta Rowland-Kitley
Jeff Tiberii

North Carolina had a high school graduation rate that ranked 25th in the nation last year. The state statistics are showing improvement, but still about 27 out of every 100 students do not receive their diploma on time. Of all the large and urban school districts in the state, Guilford County has the best graduation rate. Part of the reason is a growing number of the district's early and middle colleges. Students at those schools are now earning degrees at a near perfect pace. Jeff Tiberii reports as part of our American Graduate series.

Roy Dawson
UNC-Chapel Hill

Dropping out of high school is usually a lifelong ticket to a low-paying job, or worse. As more and more businesses require employees to have at least a high-school degree, those who do not are getting left behind. In response, public schools, community colleges, and universities are creating new ways for drop-outs to re-enter the education system. As part of our American Graduate series, Dave DeWitt tells the story of a student who found one of these new roads to success.

Dave DeWitt: School always came easy to Roy Dawson.

Dave DeWitt

In 2009, Governor Bev Perdue and the State Department of Public Instruction took over the Halifax School System in Northeastern North Carolina. At the time, only about one third of students in Halifax high schools passed end of grade tests, and only about one-half graduated.

Things have improved. Graduation rates have risen by 16 percent. But there’s still a long way to go. As part of our American Graduate series, Dave DeWitt visited Halifax Northwest High School to see how the turnaround is going.

In the Jim Crow South, the black community faced frequent violence and intimidation. Today in our series Voices for Civil Rights, hosted by Eric Hodge, we hear stories of encounters with the Ku Klux Klan.

Seth Kotch shares excerpts of three oral histories conducted by the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Robert Hayling experiences sudden, horrific violence at a Klan rally in Florida.



Forgive high school juniors if they're a little cranky this morning. Today is a major test day across the state and it's the first time juniors will be required to take the ACT. It's usually a test used by college admissions counselors to determine academic aptitude. But starting next year, the state Department of Public Instruction will use it to track student readiness for post-secondary education.

The ACT is one of two major college aptitude tests. Historically, more students in North Carolina have taken the SAT.

A new charter school may open in Chapel Hill next year. If approved by the State Board of Education, The Howard and Lillian Lee Scholars Academy would open in a new building and serve students in kindergarten through fifth grade with possible expansion into middle school down the road. Its stated mission is to close the achievement gap to help African-American students raise their performance on standardized tests. That will, in turn, improve graduation rates, and lead to greater college readiness.

Superintendent Maurice ''Mo'' Green
gsnc.com

Students in Guilford County Schools have a few weeks left to surpass a goal of collectively reading two million books in a year.

WUNC's Youth Radio Club on the job
David Brower

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  To celebrate, we check in with WUNC’s new Youth Radio Club. It’s a group of 7th and 8th graders from the Durham Nativity School. The club was formed as a part of WUNC’s American Graduate Project. Each Friday after school, the students take the bus over to our studios to learn a little about what it takes to produce a public radio news piece. Thanksgiving is on their minds this week.

When organizers of North Carolina's public Governor's School summer enrichment program learned that the state General Assembly had cut their funding, they went to work raising money. So far, the group has secured more than $100,000 in hopes of keeping the program afloat, but not every public educational program at risk has the ability to keep itself funded. What problems arise when we rely too heavily on private donations to pay for public school programs?

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