The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and America's Promise Alliance on a new effort to combat the nation's high school dropout rate.
Under the American Graduate initiative announced Tuesday, public broadcasters will expand beyond early childhood education to reach students in middle school. The group says it's a critical time before more than one million students drop out of high school each year.
The nonprofit CPB is the primary channel for federal funds directed to local stations. It will initially grant $4.4 million to 20 markets. The Gates Foundation will add $800,000. It will fund teacher town halls, tutoring programs and broadcasts about the dropout issue.
Celebrities Hill Harper of "CSI:NY" and America Ferrera of "Ugly Betty" are joining the effort.