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STATE OF THE STATES: North Carolina Governor Urges Expansion of Early-College High Schools

“Protecting America means more than just providing for the national defense.”

In his February 19 state of the state address, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley (D) identified education as an urgent moral concern central to the state’s economic security and pledged to expand its “Learn and Earn” early-college high schools.

“Protecting America means more than just providing for the national defense,” he said. “We must protect our economic security, as well. We must be committed to the patriotic duty of providing the knowledge, talent, and skill for our people to compete and win in the world marketplace.”

Easley credited “Learn and Earn” high schools, which allow students to earn an associate’s degree with just one extra year of study, with increasing graduation rates and helping families save money on college costs. While the state is poised to have seventy-five schools participating by the 2008–2009 school year, the governor considered this progress “good, but not enough.” His budget will include support to expand the program throughout the state.

Easley also focused on expanding college access and affordability, while aligning college expectations with high school requirements. He proposed a grant to cover two years of college for low- and middle-income students, in exchange for meeting academic standards and working ten hours a week. He said that this grant would allow many students who successfully completed the “Learn and Earn” program to finish college at a state university and graduate debt-free.

The complete speech is available at


2007 Civic Change Award to Recognize Dropout Prevention Efforts


The Pew Partnership for Civic Change is accepting applications for its 2007 Civic Change Award until March 31. The award will be presented to an organization or individual who has successfully employed community resources in an effort to address the high school dropout crisis. As examples, the organization lists mentoring programs matching at-risk students with community members, career-oriented programs that work through local businesses to help students recognize the connection between school and work, or initiatives that mobilize community members in an attempt to publicize the serious nature of the dropout problem in local schools.

“If our communities are to thrive and prosper they desperately need their young people to finish school,” the award application reads. “Communities with greater numbers of high school graduates are more attractive to businesses and are less burdened by the costs associated with poor health and unemployment. Unfortunately, schools alone cannot change the odds. Entire communities need to recognize the potential dangers of dropping out and work to help students finish their schooling.”

More information about the award, including an entry form, is available at


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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.