Today, we continue our week-long series “Being Home Schooled in Iowa.” As we heard in yesterday’s segment, a significant number of parents who decide to home school do so to follow their religious convictions. But Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard has discovered there are many reasons families choose to keep their children out of public and private schools.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation and Alliant Energy.

More than a third of families who home school nationwide do it for religious purposes. That’s by far the Number One reason for keeping kids out of public or private schools. These parents say they want to be in charge of building the moral character of their children, and not leave it to teachers or peer groups. Reporter Rob Dillard looks into the significance of faith in home education.

Iowa Public Radio returns today to its ongoing series, “Being in Iowa.” This week, reporter Rob Dillard asks what does it mean to be home schooled in the state? He begins our series by examining the law that applies to home schools.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation and Alliant Energy.

This year's "All Iowa Reads" selection is Tracy Kidder's 2009 book, "Strength in What Remains." It's the gripping story of of Deogratias, or Deo for short, who grew up in the E. Central African county of Burundi. Deo was a young man with dreams, the biggest of which was to become a doctor. He was working at a rural hospital in the country when in Oct. 1993, a Hutu militia attacked the building and started slaughtering everyone they thought was a Tutsi. Deo escaped, running for six months and eventually settling in New York City, knowing no one.

Governor Terry Branstad has proposed sweeping reforms to Iowa’s education system and the debate is likely to intensify now that the Republican-controlled Iowa House has approved its reform package.  The measure now goes to the Democratically-controlled Iowa Senate.  Host Joyce Russell discusses topics ranging from third grade retention and online learning to new teacher probation and end of course exams on our next legislative show from the law library at the state capitol.

Affirmative action and how it relates to college admissions is back on the radar. The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to hear an admissions case involving the University of Texas and the ruling could have ramifications at colleges across the nation. Host Dean Borg talks with University of Iowa Law Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig and UI Sociology Professor Mary Campbell about how the court is likely to rule. Later, a look at the changing landscape in Iowa's public schools; including school closings in Cedar Rapids, statewide school consolidations and the trend toward home-schooling.

Open enrollment allows parents to register their children in any Iowa school district.  Join host Ben Kieffer as we talk about how two Iowa school districts are poised to take advantage of open enrollment by offering a solely on-line virtual education.  Ben will talk with the superintendent of one of those school districts and with a state senator who has concerns about virtual schools.

Kindergarten today is not just about snacks, rest time and recess. Kids are expected to arrive ready to learn...a lot. On today's Talk of Iowa, we'll discuss getting ready for kindergarten. We’ll talk about early childhood education, how to prepare your child for kindergarten and we'll hear from a kindergarten teacher what she expects her students to know when they walk in the door for the first day of school. Guests are kindergarten teacher Michelle Anderson-Kunz of Des Moines; Alison Bell of the Iowa Parent Information Resource Center; Dr.

Iowa State University will host the Iowa final for the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Charity talks with Spelling Bee Director Paige Kimball about the growth and popularity of the event and how television has changed the perception of the competition. Also joining the conversation is an Iowa educator who served as the Head Judge for the competition, plus a Des Moines student who reached the spelling bee finals. Later, a literary consultant looks at effective teaching of spelling in early childhood education.

Being successful in college is trying for many students and for those with Asperger’s or Autism the challenge is even greater. On today's Talk of Iowa we hear about a new program at Kirkwood Community College that is designed to help students on the Autism spectrum succeed. Charity talks with Kelly Wise and Barbara Mussman of Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Josh Cobbs of the Iowa Autism Council, and Kirkwood student Zach Diericks.

Alexander Clark thought his daughter Susan should be able to attend school in the 1860's. Many other powerful Iowans did too. They didn’t care that she was black. This hour on Talk of Iowa, we’ll discuss Clark’s case against the Iowa Supreme Court that desegregated Iowa’s schools decades before some places in the rest of the county.

Mike and his dad are on their own, but when dad leaves to teach a seminar overseas, 13-year old Mike is shipped off to live with relatives he's never met before in rural Pennsylvania. That's the premise of the new young adult novel "The Absolute Value of Mike," by National Book Award Winner Kathryn Erskine. Charity speaks with Erskine, who is attending Iowa City's "One Book, Two Book" children's book festival. Also, we hear about Iowa's involvement in the Reach Out and Read program with Molly Olinger Topf, Program Director of "Reach Out and Read Iowa."

Iowa lawmakers are getting ready to convene for the 2012 legislative session.  Statehouse Reporter Joyce Russell looks ahead to priorities of Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and House Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Kauffmann.  Then we talk with Senator Herman Quirmbach and Representative Greg Forristall who Chair the Education committees of their chambers, and will oversee the Governor's education reform plans.  It's part of our weekly series from the Law Library at the Iowa Statehouse.

Rapid advances in science and technology have created a need for bright young scientists in the U.S., scientists who often come from other countries. On today's Talk of Iowa, we'll find out about efforts to ignite a passion for science in Iowa’s kids. Charity speaks with Dr. Charles Miller about his efforts to start the Iowa Space Science Center and Brent Studer, who teaches astronomy at Kirkwood Community College.