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Arne Duncan, Tony Bennett on 'American Graduate Day' this Weekend

Public television station WNET in New York City is broadcasting its interview-rich show “American Graduate Day” this Saturday, September 27 starting at 11 a.m. The program, now in its third year, “celebrate[s] the exceptional work of individuals and groups across the country who are American Graduate Champions: those helping local youth stay on track to college and career successes.”

Well known author, speaker and nonprofit executive Wes Moore will be hosting American Graduate Day for the first time this year. Moore, who wrote the bestselling The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, told EducationWorld that he had several motivations for participating in the public television broadcast.

“When you think about what is happening in our country, there isn’t a single issue that is more important or relevant to our long-term standing than education,” he said.

“The idea that public media would take on this issue – specifically, the importance of staying on the path to graduation – spoke to me not only in terms of my personal path, but as a citizen who knows just how important it is that we engage in this conversation because our larger future depends on it.”

The seven hours of live programming on Saturday will feature interviews with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Tony Bennett, Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Reggie Bush, actress Allison Williams and her father broadcaster Brian Williams along with many more celebrities and influencers.

While the 2012 Averaged Freshman Graduation Rates (AFGR) report from the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education showed that the graduation rate in American has reached 80 percent, there are certain populations such as low income students and special education students that continue to have high dropout rates.

The public television broadcast will show students at risk and also introduce “champions” who work tirelessly to help students succeed.

“I also got involved [with American Graduate Day] because public television is the best way to tell honest, thorough, and complete stories. So many times we have fragmented conversations about education – we talk about early childhood or K-12 or Higher Ed – and the truth is, it’s about all of these grade levels, it’s about the whole educational journey. The life cycle of educational progress matters from the time we’re in utero to the time we graduate, and beyond that, as we become lifelong learners,” Moore said.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is partnering with Alma and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center, and The Alliance for Excellent Education to bring the live program to stations across the nation. American Graduate Day content will be posted online after the Saturday broadcast and special resources for educators will be available. WNET has set aside the hashtag #AmGrad for viewers to use when watching the program while on social sites. Visit the American Graduate Day website for more information. Find out what’s happening in your state.

Some video content from the 2013 program is shown below.

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