More than 1 million students drop out of high school each year. It is critical that all students receive a strong education for our nation to compete in a global world. KBTC has joined Public media stations across the country who are working directly with schools, parents, civic and business leaders, and other local partners to educate the community about the dropout crisis, help them identify the dropout risk factors, and find ways for caring adults to play a part in increasing the number of high school graduates.

AMERICAN GRADUATE DAY is an unprecedented broadcast and outreach event dedicated to engaging our country around the dropout crisis with special celebrity guests, relevant spokespeople and compelling stories from the students themselves.


Contact Ann Dyer with questions at 253-680-7758.

College Success Foundation - CSF-Tacoma is a partnership with the Tacoma Public Schools, Tacoma city government, and community organizations to help widen the access to college for students attending Tacoma schools.

Community In Schools - CIS works to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. One of the primary focuses of our organization is to foster academic success in order to combat the epidemic of students dropping out.

Peace Community Center - Peace Community Center is a non-profit organization empowering children and youth in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma. Located at the corner of South 21st and Cushman, the Center has been offering a variety of education-centered programs, such as KidREACH and Hilltop Scholars, since 2001. Through programs like these, Peace Community Center is able to academically support students from their first day of Kindergarten through college graduation.

The REACH Center - The REACH (Resources for Education and Career Help) Center provides career, education, and personal development services for all young adults, ages 16-24, in the Tacoma/Pierce County area.

Tacoma 360 - Tacoma 360, is an initiative of the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Public Schools and Metro Parks created to improve student success by strengthening and aligning school and community services.

Write@253 - Write@253 is a free, nonprofit community writing center. Our goal is to help students, from kindergarten through high school, with their homework, especially their writing, and to encourage them to get excited about writing.

Find An Hour - If you’ve ever wondered, what one person can do to address the challenges of our complex education system — this is it. Find time to volunteer with a child or a teen. An hour a week is ideal because research shows the impact of consistent, one-on-one support.

American Graduate - Recognizing a need to help students stay on the path to graduation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), with participation from PBS, America’s Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has launch an innovative new program, American Graduate, to combat the dropout crisis in this country.

Jeff Rounce of the Business Examiner provides this bi-weekly look at local businesses that operate in the market from Kent south through Tacoma and Olympia to Chehalis. In addition, BE Editor Mike Boyd provides timely local Business Briefs news updates

Education efforts to Build a Grad Nation highlight this episode.

In-studio guests include Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and former mayor Karen Vialle, who is newly elected to the Tacoma School Board. Both participate on the Mayor’s Education Task Force and advocated for greater engagement by business to strength local schools and help reduce a 30% non-graduation rate.

University of Washington Tacoma Chancellor Debra Friedman continued the conversation with an endorsement of work to strengthen high schools that are under stress.  She also discussed efforts to expand opportunities for students to earn a degree despite the reduction of state funding for universities.

Why Public Media?

Public media is ideally positioned to help address the dropout crisis in the U.S.

Public media has a long history of investing in content that improves educational outcomes for children, including those most at risk of dropping out — children from low-income families, immigrants and other children who face obstacles likely to keep them from graduating.

Public media is deeply rooted in the communities it serves. Locally owned and operated public radio and television stations understand local issues. They have the capacity to convene and engage various stakeholders to raise awareness of the dropout crisis and identify tailored solutions to keep students on the path to high school diploma.

Public media content helps to drive national conversations about the issues our country faces. Public media's most recognized and impactful programs can help focus attention on, and increase conversations about, the dropout crisis. Public media will use various platforms — on air, online and on the ground — to demonstrate the depth of the problem (locally AND nationally), and identify solutions and ways in which people can get involved.

Basic facts list:

  1. Each year nearly four million kids begin ninth grade. Nearly 1 million of them don’t make it to graduation. That’s nearly one out of every four students fail to graduate.

  2. A fifth of schools identified by the U.S. Department of Education are identified as “dropout factories,” where no more than 50 percent of students graduate.

  3. The unemployment rate for people without a high school diploma is nearly twice that of the general population.

  4. Over a lifetime, a high school dropout will earn $200,000 less than a high school graduate and almost $1 million less than a college graduate.

  5. Dropouts are more likely to commit crimes, abuse drugs and alcohol, become teenage parents, live in poverty and commit suicide.

  6. Dropouts cost federal and state governments hundreds of billions of dollars in lost earnings, welfare and medical costs, and billions more for dropouts who end up in prison.

  7. Almost half a million black teenagers drop out of school each year. Most will end up unemployed by their mid-30s. Six out of 10 black male dropouts will spend time in prison.

  8. The single biggest reason why girls drop out of school is pregnancy. 41 percent of Latinas leave high school because they get pregnant. These young women often end up with few job skills, more pregnancies and dependency on unreliable and sometimes violent men.