On-Air Highlights

Dropout Crisis

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Jul 23, 2014 2:54 PM

American Graduate is an ongoing national initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to address high school dropout in communities across the United States. The American Graduate initiative puts faces on the numbers related to the United States dropout crisis, and increases understanding of the risks and solutions.  Ahead of another school year, listen this August to WITF 89.5 & 93.3 for a series of reports and documentaries that are part of this initiative:

In a four part series on Morning Edition we’ll explore the connections between language and long-term academic success, the challenges to academic performance that occur when a student changes schools, and the marked improvements at one elementary school and how the principal helped make that happen. 

American Graduate documentaries airing Sundays:

  • Dropouts to Graduates: The Story of the Care Center - An American Graduate Special – 8/3 @ 7pm - Say you meet a teenager. She’s 16, and she’s already dropped out of school. Now, she’s pregnant, due in a few months. She’s on her own, as her boyfriend disappeared when news of the baby came out. She doesn’t have a job, and is hoping her mom won’t kick her out of the house. What would your expectations for her be? What do you think she’ll achieve? If you’re in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the answer to those questions might be very different from the predictable one of hopelessness and dim futures.
  • Yesterday's Dropouts – 8/10 @ 7pm -Approximately 30 million adults in the U.S. are at the low end of the literacy spectrum. They struggle to read a menu, a pay stub or a bus schedule. About 46 million find it challenging to do the most basic math. And for millions of adults, there’s the added challenge of not being able to speak English.
  • Second Chance Diploma: Examining the GED – 8/17 @ 7pm - Millions of high school dropouts hope their ticket to a better job is getting a GED. But critics say passing a test is not the same as getting a high school diploma, and it doesn't help most people get ahead.
  • The Science of Smart – 8/24 @ 7:00pm - Until recently, we didn't know much about the best ways to learn. Now that's changing. Over recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this American RadioWorks program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.
  • Greater Expectations: The Challenge of the Common Core – 9/7 @ 7:00pm -There's plenty of controversy surrounding the Common Core, a new set of education standards adopted by most states. Getting less attention is what the standards actually say, and the fact that many teachers like them. This American RadioWorks documentary takes listeners into classrooms to explore how the standards are changing teaching and learning. Many teachers say those changes are desperately needed, but some are worried about new Common Core tests and whether they will help improve schools or get in the way of better education.
  • The New Face of College – 9/14 @ 7:00pm -The 21st Century college student is likely to be older than traditional students.  She's more likely to be female, working and Hispanic or African-American. She's more likely to be a mom. She's less likely to attend college full time or finish in four years. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how universities are adapting to their new students. We visit Amherst College, a leader among elite schools in recruiting and serving non-traditional students. We see how the University of Texas-El Paso, where most undergraduates are Hispanic and low-income, is becoming a top-tier research university.  And we travel to a tiny college on an Indian reservation in eastern Washington that is trying to bring liberal arts to migrant farm workers.
  • Ready to Work: Reviving Vocational Ed – 9/21 @ 7:00pm - Vocational education was once a staple of American schooling, preparing some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Today that kind of tracking smacks of classism. "College for all" is the new mantra. But not everyone wants to go to college, and nearly half of jobs don't require a bachelor's degree. Many experts say it's time to bring career and technical education back. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how vocational education has changed and how it's re-shaping debates about the purpose of school.

American Graduate Day will occur September 27 on WITF TV.  Additional radio and television documentaries will be scheduled in September. An update will be provided soon.

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