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Public Television Focuses on Boosting High School Grad Rate

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting will highlight the high school dropout crisis and efforts to solve it with seven hours of live programming on Sept. 27.

The American Graduate Day 2014 will feature sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, as well as teachers and community leaders in a "call to action" to encourage students to get a high school diploma. It is a public awareness campaign aimed at celebrating the work of community organizations and individuals working to keep students on track for college and career success.

As part of a kick-off event in New York this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the awarding of $82 million in 41 grants under Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). The grants help at-risk students to prepare for college and receive the support needed to be successful in postsecondary education. About $51 million will be awarded to partnership grants in 19 states, and $31 million for state grants in Alabama, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. (For a complete list, see the department website).

GEAR UP applicants were encouraged this year to work with a Promise Zone—a new initiative that injects high-poverty communities with federal funding to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, and improve educational opportunities and public safety. (See Politics K-12).

In conjunction with event, the Corporation for National and Community Service announced an effort to expand STEM Americorps to inspire more young people to excel in STEM education, and Samsung pledged $2 million for its annual Solve for Tomorrow national STEM contest.

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