About the Initiative
Today’s global economy demands a more educated workforce. Communities are working together to improve 21st century learning and increase high school graduation rates to prepare more students for college and successful careers. Public media stations across the country are at the center of this community-based work providing quality content, forums, and classroom resources to build local capacity for long term success.
American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is a long term public media commitment, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), to help communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. Public media plays a significant role building individual activity, community capacity, and national awareness. The dropout crisis demands attention now, and we are rising to the challenge of doing our part to address this problem.
Working with Alma and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center, and The Alliance for Excellent Education, and over 800 local partners, the initiative puts faces on the numbers and increases understanding of the risks and solutions through national and local content, covering all facets of the issue for broadcast, web and mobile platforms. In addition, American Graduate is engaging and empowering teachers, parents and students to help those most at risk of dropping out through community collaborations and classroom resources.
More than 75 public radio and television stations in 33 states have joined forces with over 800 partners and 200 at-risk schools to shed light on the problem and share solutions. Through American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, local public television and radio stations are empowering individuals at the community level with knowledge by increasing national and local reporting, convening diverse local stakeholders, and providing access to free resources for teachers and parents. By working together and remaining vigilant, we are increasing the footprint of progress, reaching more children and communities and seeding the foundation for a prosperous economic future for our country.
American Graduate information flyerAmplify and spread solutions. Empowering individuals.
PROGRAMMING: Local public media stations have broadcast more than 400 hours of inspiring stories behind the statistics to increase understanding and highlight solutions.
RESULT: Communities are gaining knowledge and understanding of the issues. Communities are implementing solutions to help improve outcomes for our youth.
New Voices. Collaborative efforts. Connecting caring adults.
COMMUNITY EVENTS: Local public media stations have hosted over 500 screenings, forums, volunteer fairs, and media workshops. The goal has been to increase awareness and empower caring adults with access to resources, helping more at-risk families transform their lives.
RESULT: Hundreds of thousands of citizens and stakeholder organizations are participating in new discussions and getting involved.
Shared vision. Catalyzing change.
PARTNERSHIPS: With over 800 partners around the country, public media stations are convening diverse, independent groups to encourage organizations, businesses, and school districts to work together in new ways – or sometimes even for the first time.
RESULT: Community organizations achieve greater results and reach more students by aligning expertise and resources toward shared vision.
Free Resources. Direct support. Engaging students.
CLASSROOM: Public media has built a vast digital collection of trusted student resources that are free and accessible online and through in-school and after-school programs.
RESULT: Communities are building critical “hands-on” skills to engage at-risk youth and help connect students’ education to a successful future.
Over 100,000 students from 22 states have participated in the Roadtrip Nation Experience curriculum, which focuses on improving students’ behavior and attitudes towards school. A recent study found that students in California using the Roadtrip curriculum ended the academic year with a higher average GPA than students not participating in the program.
In 1973, 72% of jobs required at most a high school diploma. By 2018, that number will shrink to 36%. A high school diploma provides each child with the building blocks to pursue a successful career and a better life, and it supports communities’ aspirations for a thriving economy. However, with nearly 1 in 5 students dropping out high school every year, we have been failing our children and ourselves. Had the nation already reached our 90% goal, the additional graduates from a single class would have earned an estimated $6 billion more in income, generated more than 37,000 jobs and increased the GDP by $5.6 billion.(1)
Public media: community and education are central to our mission.
Research has shown that children need ongoing support in order to graduate, starting in early childhood. During the past two decades, over 100 public media stations helped at-risk and low income communities build a strong foundation in early literacy to narrow the achievement gap. The CPB-PBS Ready to Learn Initiative is conducted in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education. Success depends on a robust ecology of strategies and supports surrounding a student that in turn builds capacity in families, educators, and the community for long term success in reaching growing populations. To expand upon this deep investment in early education, public media began building additional resources in 2002 to help students transition to middle and high school, and through college and career milestones.
This continuum of public media education services and engagement in high-need communities coalesced into a national effort called American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen to bolster the positive pace of improvement in high school graduation rates and help our country reach a 90% graduation rate by 2020.
|Nearly 120 million Americans tune into public television stations on a monthly basis, and approximately 65 million listen to public radio each week.|
American Graduate demonstrates public media's commitment to education and its deep roots in every community it serves. Beyond providing programming that educates, informs and inspires, public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are an important resource in helping to address critical issues. American Graduate content can be accessed for free by all Americans and, like so much of the content found across public television and radio — on air and online — directly benefits our civil society. As the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting, as well as the only entity that represents the breadth of the industry — public television, public radio, producers and local stations — CPB is pleased to share these highlights of work happening across the country. For every dollar of federal funding invested in public media, local stations are leveraging it six times over to benefit their communities and are building an engaged and informed citizenry.
American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting working with local public media stations, public media producers, and distributors to share resources and community models for increased efficiencies and local success.
Along with the communities we serve, together, we’re making it happen!
1- (Source: Balfanz, R., Bridgeland, J., Bruce, M., & Fox, J.H. (2013). Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic - 2013 Annual Update. Washington, D.C.: Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, America's Promise Alliance, and the Alliance for Excellent Education. Data from the Alliance for Excellent Education analysis of data from Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.