The severe lack of Vocational Education in our district is short changing our students and our communities. We need to ensure that we are offering opportunities for all of our students, and that we are introducing our students to a broad range of possibilities. We need to think creatively, and look at other models, to establish programs that both offer an introduction to, and also provide more advanced learning in, the Industrial Arts.
Art should be available and required far more than it currently is. Music, visual arts, dance and theater, while supported in our community, should never be far from the curriculum of any student. We should continue to celebrate our artistic accomplishments recognizing the important role art plays throughout our lives. I do not believe art to be “extra curricular” I believe art is central to the human experience. We live in an artistically vibrant community, and we should integrate art into our schools even more than we already do. We have amazing artistic resources and we should ensure that we greatly enhance our students’ exposure to them.
As with the arts, the Iowa City area has a strong tradition of civic engagement. When we see national polls and surveys that indicate an embarrassing level of knowledge of Civics in the general population, I want to feel secure that not a single student will have a diploma from this district without a solid knowledge of civic engagement and an understanding about governing with the consent of the governed. Especially in this day and age where the Press is not only inadequate, but often deliberately destructive to democracy, it is ever more important that education pick up the role of informing the citizenry of our role in maintaining democracy. I believe we should engage our students at all levels in the meaning and practice of democracy, and we should grant them a voice, and a seat at the table, in discussing issues important to them.