New fine arts standards create options for students



Last month, things began to look up for students with fine arts interests in Iowa. In early November, the Iowa Board of Education adopted new fine arts standards for schools grades Pre-K through 12 all over the state. The board chose the National Core Arts Standards, which are optional for Iowa schools.


However, with countless students, and many with fine arts interests throughout Iowa, perhaps these standards shouldn’t be considered optional. As a high school student, I know just how hard it can be to enjoy school sometimes. With mandated arts standards, innumerable pupils would have access to somewhat of an “escape” from regular coursework.

Additionally, skills provided by fine arts programs are found incredibly useful in the working world, especially according to Joe Harmon, a speech teacher and dinner theater director at Holy Trinity Catholic High School.

“The skill that I have used to become successful in life is my ability to perform, whether it be at a job interview or while I’m teaching,” said Harmon, who is a firm believer in fine arts classes. “Many students are lucky to experience a (fine arts) class, because it boosts their confidence when speaking in front of people.”

Along with confidence, fine arts also improve academic performance, as shown in a study done by Americans for the Arts in 2015. Being included in multiple fine arts programs myself, I can confirm that the arts tend to be a pleasant break from curriculum. They provide me a place to focus on something other than common schoolwork for a while, so that I can better center my attention in mandated classes.

In my opinion, the arts can also be a spectacular category for scholarships and grants from colleges. Universities are always looking for diverse scholarship applicants with an abundance of extracurriculars, that of which arts programs can offer.

With the new standards in Iowa, students all over the state can effectively reach their goals and participate in classes they may enjoy more than the common courses.

Ava Peitz is a freshman at Holy Trinity High School and is interning with Pen City Current in the news/editorial department. She can be reached at

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