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Should Arts Education Be a Part of the Common Core?


Learning to read music helps students in math and having a health outlet for creativity is part of what encourages innovative thinking.

Do students in Iowa have enough access to things like music lessons and art classes? Should arts education be a part of the Iowa Core in terms of curriculum? Some arts educators, including David Law, Executive Director of the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education, say "yes." There's been an unsuccessful push to make arts a part of the Iowa Core for the last decade.

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks about arts education in the state with Law, and Democratic State Senator Herman Quirmbach, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. Iowa Teacher of the Year, Scott Slechta, who teaches drama and English in Fairfield, also joins the conversation. 

During the first half of the program, we hear from mentors at ArtForceIowa, a program that pairs artist mentors with at-risk and refugee students in Des Moines.

“For the most at risk youth, especially those that are in alternative schools, we’re so focused on that goal of graduating," says Jonn Mark Feilmeyer, Executive Director for Arts Force Iowa.

“That chance for music and art is often left out. While some of these students struggle with math and reading, they have incredible talent in the arts.”

Partnering talented artists with students has already shown results.

“We’ve done a recidivism study two years in a row, and this year, we’re seeing that our youth are re-offending at lower rates than youth that are not in our programs, he says.

Yvette Zarod Hermann, Program Director for ArtForceIowa and DJ, a student who has worked with the program, also join the conversation. 

This program originally aired as part of IPR's 2016 Iowa Week during the month of September.


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Lindsey Moon is IPR's Digital Producer
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River