1.3 million kids drop out of high school per year, costing our nation more than $100 billion annually in lost wages and taxes, plus the increased social costs due to crime and healthcare. Experts estimate that American businesses are in need of 97 million middle- and high-skill workers, yet only 45 million Americans possess the necessary education and skills to qualify for these positions. The majority of job openings in the next decade will require at least some postsecondary education.
Public media response
American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen is a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to improve high school graduation rates. Public TV and radio stations in 36 states are working with community partners to create professional development opportunities for educators, offer outreach to young people, produce diverse television and radio content, and convene community dialogue with various stakeholders and community partners to generate understanding and action regarding the dropout crisis.
American Graduate is working with national and community-based partners to do two things--raise awareness by creating targeted, national and local content on all facets of the issue for broadcast, and engage and empower students at risk of dropping out through community collaborations and classroom resources.
The initiative puts faces on the numbers — the more than 1.3 million young people who fail to graduate each year — and generates understanding about the risk factors and what caring adults can do to help.
Success can't be achieved by any one group alone but public media can leverage its capacity, on-air, online, and on-the-ground, to increase understanding and dialogue around the issues facing today's students that cause them to drop out and mobilize local communities to develop and implement impactful solutions.