EXPLORE THE ISSUE
Meet mentors from across the county, learn about the challenges and rewards of mentoring, and find resources here.
KET American Graduate Initiative
American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), is public media’s long-term commitment to supporting community-based solutions to the dropout crisis. KET is pleased to join forces with more than 80 public radio and television stations and over 1,000 partners and at-risk schools across 30 states in this effort.
KET received a CPB American Graduate grant in summer 2014 and since that time has been meeting with community and education partners to set goals and plan activities for the project. Thus far, KET has convened two stakeholder meetings; offered two webinars for adult educators and librarians interested in offering screenings of the KET series Dropping Back In; sponsored a screening and panel discussion about Dropping Back In and reengaging adults who have dropped out at the Louisville Free Public Library; and drafted an action plan that will be refined as the year progresses.
For dropout, passing a high school equivalency test can be their first step toward college and career success. KET’s Fast Forward offers a wealth of resources for adult learners and educators. Learn more at fastforward.org.
Economics of High School Graduation
According to the U.S. Department of Education, Kentucky’s graduation rate is 87%, above the national average of 82%. But what if it was 90%? See how a 90% graduation rate could bolster Jefferson County’s economy.
See a further breakdown of state graduation rates at the U.S. Department of Education website.
The Dropout Crisis
Every year, 1 million students drop out of high school. In Kentucky, that’s about 5,000 teens who drop out each year. The following video provides a succinct—and shocking—report on the impact of the dropout crisis in America.
VIDEO: Facts About America’s Dropout Crisis
People without a high school diploma are twice as likely to be unemployed and more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, become teenage parents, and live in poverty. Harvard professor Ronald Ferguson describes the current and future costs in America of having an under-educated population and argues the need for career guidance for secondary students that includes options other than a four-year college degree.
VIDEO: Ferguson interview
Three out of four prison inmates are high school dropouts. Victor Rios, a former dropout who is now an author and sociology professor, discusses his research in juvenile justice and the policing of America's schools, specifically the school-to-prison pipeline.
VIDEO: Rios interview
So where’s the good news in this picture?
- The American Graduate Research Center’s 2013 Index showed that Kentucky’s Average Freshman Graduation rate increased from 69.8 percent to 79.9 percent from 2002-2010 (an average of 1.3 points per year).
- The Legislature passed the “Graduation Bill” in 2013, which would increase the dropout age in Kentucky from 16 to 18 by 2017 once 55 percent—or 96—of the state’s school districts adopted the policy. In less than a year, this threshold was reached, requiring all Kentucky school districts to adopt and implement a compulsory attendance age of 18 no later than the 2017-18 school year. Learn more at Graduate Kentucky.
- Individuals and organizations across the state are working toward increasing the graduation rate and helping learners of all ages acquire the skills and motivation necessary for college and career readiness.
- KET will use the CPB American Graduate, Let’s Make It Happen initiative to highlight the issues and tell the stories of individuals and communities making a difference.
More Information about Issues and Solutions
Building a Grad Nation: Civic Marshall Plan State Index
The Civic Marshall Plan State Indices outline each state’s progress in addressing the dropout challenge. See where Kentucky stands and learn what Kentucky needs to do to achieve a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher by 2020.
Alliance for Excellent Education
This website provides national and state data about graduation rates and economic impact.
View more state data here.
This Louisville organization aims to create a college-going culture. Its robust website includes an education data dashboard. View the 2014 Progress Report.
Don't Call Them Dropouts: Understanding the Experiences of Young People Who Leave High School before Graduation
What do young adults who left school without graduating have to say about their experiences and the reasons they did not complete high school on time? America’s Promise Alliance asked just that and has published the results. Read the full report here.
Dropping Back In
Meet some of America’s dropouts, come to understand the issues they face, and learn about the people and programs helping them drop back in and move on with their educations and lives. Read the full story here.
CPB American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen
Learn what’s happening nationally as a part of the American Graduate project.