|For immediate use||
May 4, 2006 -- No. 240
North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC to air in-depth
news series on high schools' challenges, reform May 15-26
CHAPEL HILL - Picture 20,000 teenagers - but don't picture them in classrooms.
The State Department of Public Instruction has reported that that's how many
students dropped out of N.C. high schools last year alone. Some studies say
as many as a third or more of students who enter high school are leaving without
As politicians and policy-makers emphasize the importance of education for America's ability to compete in a global marketplace, and as evidence strongly suggests that dropouts are more likely to live in poverty, there is a growing debate about why so many young people still opt out of high school.
For two weeks this month, North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC (91.5 FM) will air a documentary and expanded news series that will explore the changing role of high schools and how to make secondary education more valuable and relevant for students.
"North Carolina Voices: Studying High School" will air May 15 through 26 within North Carolina Public Radio's broadcasts of "Morning Edition" and the midday talk program "The State of Things." "The Story with Dick Gordon" also is planning to devote a show to the topic.
Featured will be a series of reports and interviews examining the challenges facing public high schools today, how schools are changing to meet these challenges and the impact of current education reform efforts statewide and nationwide. The series also will explore policy issues such as the role of private money in public education, the small schools movement and the dropout rate.
In addition to reports from high schools and communities around the state, the series will take listeners inside Western Guilford High School in Greensboro, where a team of reporters has been documenting the life of the school.
The series will delve into topics such as:
"Studying High School" also will feature a 10-part documentary series
recorded at Western Guilford High during the course of a school year, illuminating
the challenges facing this "typical" school through the perceptions
of students, faculty and parents. Photographer Billy Barnes' photo essay of
the school will be online at www.wunc.org.
As part of the project, North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC recently hosted public forums in Durham and Greensboro to discuss both the current state and future of high schools in North Carolina and nationally. These forums, which included experts in educational policy and reform, as well as teachers, parents and students, will be broadcast on "The State of Things" during the series. "The State of Things" also will air call-in programs on related topics throughout the two weeks. A schedule of this programming is available online.
" 'North Carolina Voices: Studying High School' extends North Carolina Public Radio's commitment to covering the educational issues that affect the state," said Emily Hanford, senior editor and producer. "High school is a major focus of education reform efforts in North Carolina and across the country right now. The challenge for educators is not only to get kids to stay in school, but to get more of them to college as an advanced degree becomes increasingly important in our global economy."
"North Carolina Voices: Studying High School" extends an approach piloted by North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC in 2002 to transcend daily news coverage by taking an in-depth look at large-scale, complex issues affecting the lives of North Carolinians. Previous "North Carolina Voices" series have explored issues such as unemployment, war and poverty. These series, produced by the station's documentary unit, have received several awards for excellence in broadcasting. Last year's "Understanding Poverty" series won national and regional awards, including the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast News Award and recognition as a finalist for the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards for Excellence in Electronic Media/Radio.
Support for "North Carolina Voices: Studying High School" comes from the North Carolina Humanities Council and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC is a service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, broadcasting at 91.5 FM in the Triangle and Triad, at 90.9 FM in Rocky Mount/Wilson, and at 88.9 FM on the Outer Banks.
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Note: Contact Hanford at (301) 270-0039 or email@example.com.
News Services contacts: Lisa Katz, (919) 962-2093 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Karen Moon, (919) 962-8595 (work) or (919) 218-2467 (cell)