Iowa Public Radio continues its week-long series called “Being Muslim in Iowa.” Reporter Rob Dillard has traveled extensively around the state, meeting a few of the estimated 20,000 Iowans who follow Islam. Most of these people have practiced the faith all of their lives, growing up in families who stretch their roots to the Middle East, Africa or Eastern Europe. But a handful of Iowans have converted to Islam from other religions. Today, Rob introduces us to three of them.

We’re looking at the lives of Muslims in Iowa this week. So far, reporter Rob Dillard has traced the history of Islam in the state, which dates back to the 19th century. He’s also asked a few Muslims living here why public opinion goes against their faith. Today, he looks at how Islam determines what food Muslims eat. The diets for strict adherents of Islamic law are free of pork and alcohol.  Today, Rob visits an eastern Iowa company that’s in the business of ensuring the food consumed by Muslims in the state and around the world meets this guideline. 

Iowa Public Radio is taking a look this week at Muslims living in the state. Opinion polls indicate Americans remain conflicted over Islam a decade after the terrorist attacks of 9-11. A survey by the Pew Research Center a year ago shows the percentage of people in the U.S. with a favorable opinion of Islam has tumbled from 41 percent in 2005 to 30 percent.  Muslims have been put on the defensive in recent years, asked to defend Islam against charges it’s a violent religion.

Today, Iowa Public Radio returns to its series, "Being in Iowa." Reporter Rob Dillard brings us the first of five installments on what it means to be Muslim in the state. A majority of Americans say they know very little about Islam. In fact, a recent Pew Research Poll showed a quarter of those surveyed said they knew nothing at all about the religion, which is followed by one-and-a-half billion people in the world. Muslims make up a small portion of Iowa’s population, well below one percent.

All this week we've been hearing what it's like being a Veteran in Iowa. Our reports from Iowa Public Radio's Rob Dillard have highlighted many facets of the lives of former soldiers: the mental anguish of war, concerns about health care, and the drive lure young veterans into military organizations. Today we wind up our week-long focus on veterans in Iowa with conversations about many of these topics.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. So far this week, Rob has told us about health care as it affects veterans, the mental anguish they experience after war, the drive to lure young veterans into military organizations, and an all-veterans band. Now we meet a veteran whose life was changed – but not ruined – by an accident he suffered while he was an army sergeant.

Iowa Public Radio concludes its week-long series of answers to the question, “what does it mean to be Latino in Iowa?” Reporter Rob Dillard Rob has traversed the state, stopping in small towns, shopping in Mexican grocery stores, listening to Spanish-language radio stations and meeting a young woman who recently celebrated a big birthday. In the conclusion of the series, he introduces us to some Mexican cowboys.

Iowa's Department of Education is without a permanent director. Education leaders are suggesting what should be considered in hiring a new director.

Healthy Kids Act

May 20, 2010

As Iowa schools wind down the academic year students may have to say goodbye to some of their favorite snacks in the lunch room. Starting next fall schools must follow new healthy food guidelines. Iowa Public Radio's Jeneane Beck reports the rules are getting mixed reviews from school administrators and students.

Dalai Lama visits UNI

May 17, 2010

Three or four Tibetan students typically study at the University of Northern Iowa each year as part of a program involving about a dozen universities.. This week not only are the students on campus, so is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama.. Iowa Public Radio’s Pat Blank reports.

In a White House ceremony tomorrow, President Obama will name Iowa teacher Sarah Brown Wessling of Johnston, National Teacher of the Year. Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank talks with her by phone from Washington DC.

ACT Testing Kids

Apr 14, 2010

ACT -- known for its college entrance exams -- is also testing children as young as 10-years old.

Iowa teachers are quickly closing pay gaps with educators in other states. Iowa Governor Chet Culver is citing National Education Association statistics showing Iowa teachers average pay is now 26th best in the nation….jumping from 37th a year ago.But the ISEA teachers union and some state legislators fear the gains are eroding.

Elementary school administrators are wrestling with a long-standing issue. How do you recruit more men to teach young children? Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard reports attitudes are beginning to change. But it’s still rare to see a male teacher in the classrooms of the lower grades.