The Corporation for Public Broadcastings believes that the million students who drop out of school each year translates into a $3 trillion hit on the US economy over 10 years, and is initiating a program using local noncommercial radio and TV to fight the problem.
The program is called “American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen.” The goal is to take public broadcasting’s success in reaching young children with educational programming and making new inroads among the middle school student population. CPB says this is a tipping point for many in determining whether or not they will stay in school all the way to graduation.
“Public radio and television stations are deeply rooted in the communities they serve, and they have demonstrated time and again that they are an important resource in helping to address critical issues, such as the mortgage crisis, at the local level,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of CPB. “Through American Graduate, public media will ‘make it happen’ by helping communities take on a new challenge – high school graduation rates – to create a more promising future for our children, the economy and the entire nation.”
The program will be based around 20 local hubs in areas where the drop-out problem is especially acute. $4.4M in CPB funding will be going to stations in these markets, and stations in as many as 40 additional markets may receive funding via grants from the National Center for Media Engagement.
The CPB calculates the economic harm caused by drop outs in terms of lost wages, lost productivity and lost tax revenue.