KET has received a $600,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to create a series of documentary programs highlighting state and national adult learning issues and success stories.
KET will produce a series of four half-hour documentaries profiling adult students from around the country who are seeking to better themselves through attaining their high school credential. The programs will also feature adult learning centers, programs and schools that are taking unique and successful approaches to helping dropouts gain not only a high school credential, but the skills for further training and education.
“We hope that these programs will raise awareness of the issue of high school dropouts and the importance of adult education,” said Shae Hopkins, KET executive director and CEO. “We hope it will start a conversation not only in Kentucky but in communities across the United States that will involve educators, employers, public media, and other community organizations.”
The series will feature a diverse selection of adult learners and learning programs. Stories will include a South Dakota mother who has overcome substance abuse to earn a GED® diploma at a school located near the Lake Traverse Dakota Sioux Reservation; The Academy of Hope, a successful adult education program located in a Washington, D.C., housing project; Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School in Chicago, an alternative school for young dropouts in the city’s Puerto Rican Paseo Boricua neighborhood; and City Colleges of Chicago, which has implemented an array of programs to help former dropouts be successful in higher education.
Kentucky programs and individuals to be featured include the Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy on the military base at Ft. Knox, a highly successful program for 16- to 18-year-old high school dropouts; YouthBuild Louisville, which combines GED® Test preparation and other academics with instruction in construction skills; and Hasan Davis, who overcame many challenges to gain an education and now works with young people as Kentucky’s commissioner of juvenile justice.
“We focus on the inspiring stories of individuals who have dropped out of high school yet never gave up,” said Teresa Day, executive producer of the series.
Although in the United States the high school graduation rate is at the highest level in 40 years, one in five high school students still don’t graduate. Currently, 39 million Americans, including more than 400,000 Kentuckians, are without a high school diploma.
The personal impact of dropping out of high school is significant. Dropouts are twice as likely to be unemployed as those with a diploma. They earn 72 cents for every dollar earned by a graduate, $330,000 less per person over their career. Dropouts are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, become teenage parents, live in poverty, be incarcerated, and commit suicide.
“The reasons that people drop out of high school are as individualized as the person,” Day said, which is what KET’s CPB-funded programs aim to highlight. “When people drop out of high school, not only does it impact them and their families, but it also has an economic impact to the community, state and nation.”
The series will premiere in fall 2014 and will be distributed nationally. The CPB grant also supports the creation of materials to help other public media stations across the United States lead efforts to serve adult learners in their communities.
KET has been providing GED® study materials since 1975, and in earlier this year, KET launched Fast Forward™, a new high school equivalency test preparation system designed to address the needs of today’s adult learner.
GED® and GED Testing Service® are registered trademarks of the American Council on Education. Used under license.
KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and facebook.com/KET and at KET.org.