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American Graduate. CPB Combats the High School Dropout Crisis. Ask any student whether he or she will graduate from high school, and the vast majority – 92 percent – say they expect to earn a diploma .

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cpb combats the high school dropout crisis
CPB Combats the High School Dropout Crisis
  • Ask any student whether he or she will graduate from high school, and the vast majority – 92 percent – say they expect to earn a diploma.
  • For many of these students, the reality is much different. Only seven in 10 actually finish high school. When it comes to Hispanic, African-American and Native American students, that statistic drops to six in 10.
  • Students have the will to graduate, but they often do not have the necessary support.
  • Recognizing a need to help students stay on the path to graduation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), with participation from PBS, America’s Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is announcing an innovative new program, American Graduate, to combat the dropout crisis in this country.

Actresses America Ferrera (l) and Aimee Garcia speak about the value of their high school education at the launch of the American Graduate initiative.

no one size fits all solution
No “One Size Fits All” Solution
  • The high school dropout rate in the U.S. is a significant problem – and not just for those students who do not graduate. High school dropouts cost the country more than $300 billion a year in lost wages, taxes and productivity, which can lead to a rise in crime, homelessness and substance abuse. This lost potential will have huge impact on our economy, healthcare costs, workforce and global competitiveness for decades to come.
  • Experts agree that there is no “one size fits all” solution to the dropout crisis. It requires input and involvement from individuals and organizations within each and every community.
  • To date, many groups have formed at the national and local levels to try and reduce the dropout rate across the country, but they often lack the coordination to bring their ideas together.
american graduate1
American Graduate
  • American Graduate brings public media together with key community stakeholders to improve student engagement and raise academic achievement.
  • Local public radio and television stations are at the core of this initiative. These stations, located in 20 community “hubs,” will serve as the center of community interest and activity around high school graduation rates.
  • Together with schools and organizations already addressing the dropout crisis, the stations will provide their resources and services to raise awareness, coordinate action with community partners, and work directly with students, parents, teachers, mentors, volunteers and leaders to lower the drop-out rate in their respective communities.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, through support to CPB’s Teacher Town Halls and the Story Corps National Teachers Initiative, will give teachers a way to share their perspectives and experiences with helping all students graduate high school prepared for college and career.
why public media
Why Public Media?
  • Public media is ideally positioned to help address the dropout crisis.
  • Public radio and television stations are deeply rooted in the communities they serve. They understand local issues and, through their content, can educate and engage various stakeholders on the dropout problem, rally support and help coordinate efforts in communities, something experts say is crucial to a solution.
  • In addition, public broadcasting has a long history of investing in content that targets older students and improving educational outcomes for kids most at risk of dropping out – kids from poor families, immigrants and other kids who face obstacles likely to keep them from graduating.
for example
For example:
  • CPB supports PBS News Hour Student Reporting Labs, the Alaska Native Youth Media Institute, Youth Radio and Radio Rookies give middle and high school students the opportunity to learn digital media production techniques, apply critical thinking and writing skills, develop leadership skills, and experience the “real world” relevance of their classes.
  • CPB also funds Road trip Nation, a television series and outreach program that also targets middle and high school students to help them determine future career paths. In this past year alone, 25,000 have participated in campus and community events and accessed multi-media online content.

In the classroom, CPB has awarded grants to public television stations for the development, production, distribution and evaluation of digitally created learning resources focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts that are difficult to teach and learn. We also supported the development of a series of four multi-media, Web-based games and role-playing activities rooted in middle school history and civics curricula.

  • CPB has provided funds to Sesame Workshop to build on and expand the pioneering cross-platform work of The Electric Company project to help children master the skills and concepts that are critical to student success in avoiding the 4th grade reading skill decline, a key predictor in high-school dropout prevention.

American Graduate builds on that success to help students in the middle schools years – the years when students begin to disengage from learning and become at-risk of dropping out – stay in school on the path to graduation.


Stations around the country have proposed engagement programs such as: KQED in San Francisco will train middle and high school teachers from the Oakland Unified School District on how to use media and new media to better engage students in learning, to connect the dots between the classroom and the “real-life” science going on around the; Florida public media stations will work with the state’s Career and Professional Education (CAPE) Academies and business and industry leaders to create certification programs that help prepare students for jobs upon graduation; working in Birmingham, where the dropout rate is 55%, Alabama Public Television is developing a plan to work with radio station WLRH, Birmingham City Schools, America’s Promise Alliance, 21st Century Learning Centers, the YMCA and others to raise awareness of this local problem, facilitate coordinated community action, and the improve access to existing free educational services for teens beyond the classroom.

let s make it happen
Let’s Make It Happen
  • CPB will launch American Graduate at an event on May 3, 2011 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
  • During the event, Patricia Harrison, of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ray Suarez of PBS News Hour¸ Michael Powell of America’s Promise, Don Shalvey of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tony Miller, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, Larry Irving of the Hewlett-Packard Company, Emmy-award winning actress America Ferreraof Ugly Betty, actress Aimee Garcia of the upcoming film GO FOR IT! and Hill Harper, actor and star in the hit CBS drama series CSI:NY, will launch the initiative and discuss the importance of staying on the path to earning a high school diploma.1
  • 1All of these are from :