Federal Help For Students

News briefs

June 12, 1991

Children in the 14 county schools with the highest numbers of low-income families will receive additional help with reading and mathematics next year under an expanded federal program.

Increases in federal and state financing for the Chapter I program, plus money left over from this school year, will allow the school system to add three teachers and two instructional assistants for 1991-1992.

"This is the biggest program in compensatory education," said RaeEllen Levene, Chapter I coordinator for the county schools.

The program, which began under President Lyndon B. Johnson, provides additional teaching assistance to elementary school children who are falling behind in reading and mathematics.

Schools become eligible by having above average numbers of children eligible for free or reduced price lunches. Students are eligible for free lunches this school year, for example, if they were part of a family of four with an income of not more than $16,510.

The children who receive additional help, however, are students whose math or reading scores fall into the lowest 25 percent on tests.

If the school board approves the proposed $1.1 million budget -- a $200,000 increase -- for 1991-1992, schoolofficials plan to increase the instructional assistant staff to 33 and the teacher staff to five. The board is scheduled to act at its meeting Thursday.

Levene estimates that 754 public school children will be eligible for Chapter I services in 1991-1992, an increase of 71 students over this school year. However, the number of eligible public schools will be down by one, to 13. Also expected to be eligible are 10 students from St. Augustine School in Elkridge.

Waterloo Elementary School will be dropped from the Chapter I program next fall.

The school's free and reduced price lunch participation fell below the cut-off in 1989-1990 but was "grandfathered" for the current school year. Lisbon Elementary School became ineligible this year but will be "grandfathered" for 1991-1992.

The two teachers hired for Chapter I this year divided their time among four schools. The coordinator's plan is to have five teachers in 10 schools next year. Levene said teachers will be assigned based on "the needs of the schools," as indicated by students' reading and math test scores and by the number of students eligible for assistance.

NO NUDES IS GOOD NEWS

Organizers of a competitive art show at The Mall in Columbia have banned nude figures, prompting one judge to quit and many artists to complain.

Mall officials and the sponsors of the 11-day Columbia Festivalof the Arts said they fear nudes may offend shoppers.

Some artists said the content restrictions represent censorship. But another judge noted that the show is taking place on private property, so the mall owners, the Rouse Co., can do what they want.

"Nudes are a traditional form of artistic expression, just like landscapes," said JohnConnolly, professor of art history at the Maryland Institute Collegeof Art.

"To single out one form of artistic expression that has been in the public domain for 6,000 years or more and to rule it out of an exhibition is absurd. It's unthinkable."

The contest was opento artists ages 18 and over in the mid-Atlantic region.

The sponsors asked the Rouse Co. to exhibit the top work in the show. As a condition, the mall's management required a content restriction rule to be printed on the show prospectus.

"We don't support censorship ofart as a policy, but we really feel we need to be sensitive to the concerns of our customers," said Danielle Morgenthaler, director of sales and marketing for the mall.

Artist and show organizer Wendy B.Hackney said the mall was the only available spot near the festival site that was large enough to hold such a show.

Despite the ban, she said the exhibition is an important steppingstone.

"We have a long way to go before the people in this community can understand and can look at art objectively. They have to be introduced to it in a way that's safe for them."

One of the four judges, art scholar Eric Miller, resigned when he learned of the restriction. "I told Wendy that she was prejudging art and that if she was going to prejudge it, she didn't need me as a judge. It's as simple as that," said Miller, aTowson State University professor emeritus.

Another judge, Ginny Tomlinson, president of a chain of arts and crafts stores called Tomlinson Craft Collection, said she has "mixed feelings" about the decision.

"By these rules, the work of Michelangelo and Rodin would notbe considered," she said. "But the organizers have a right to say what they want and don't want in this show because this is a private space."

The exhibition, which runs through July 7, includes 72 works, including sculptures, paintings, ceramics and photographs.

Sharing first place are a three-dimensional "cityscape" of Harvard Square by Robert Ralph of Potomac and a still-life painting of an artist's studio by Baltimore artist Nancy Chearno-Stershic.

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