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Arts experts make case to lawmakers

WASHINGTON - Arts advocates say the move toward standardized tests for students threatens to cut into arts programs in public schools. Jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis, longtime "Sesame Street" star Bob McGrath, and Brown University researcher Martin Gardiner testified last week on Capitol Hill in support of music-education programs. Researchers have found that students who studied the arts had higher grades, attendance, and standardized-test scores.

Messrs. Marsalis, McGrath, and Gardiner, along with VH1 president John Sykes, met with Education Secretary Rod Paige and lawmakers from both parties. US Rep. Bob Clement (D) of Tennessee, who is the House Education Caucus co-chairman, says President Bush's education plan is silent on the arts. "I'd like to think it's not an oversight by them ... but it's something that they need to say and clarify."

Campus menus for religious groups

HANOVER, N.H. - In September, Dartmouth College will join a growing number of colleges and universities offering kosher- and halal-prepared meals. The school will prepare the food for its Jewish and Muslim students in a separate, new facility, using separate kitchen equipment. For the food to be considered halal, prayers must be spoken, blood is drained from animals, and alcohol must not be used. Most Ivy League schools, Stanford, Syracuse, and many State University of New York campuses already offer meal plans that cater to Jewish and Muslim students.

Old computers give new life in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Rodrigo Baggio is single-handedly fighting Brazil's digital divide. In 1995, Mr. Baggio started collecting obsolete computers, recycling them, and putting them in classrooms for the needy. Now, more than 209 schools have been set up across the country, many of which are in the favelas, Brazil's shantytowns. The idea is such a success, it has spread to Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, South Africa, and Angola. Baggio's talk soliciting sponsors in 1999 got the attention of Bill Gates Sr. This led to Microsoft donating $300,000 in cash and $4.5 million in software.

ATTENTION Teachers Interested in writing for us?

We are always on the lookout for 600-word columns written by kindergarten teachers on up to college professors. To submit a "Class Act" column, e-mail Amelia Newcomb at: newcomba@csps.com or write to The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA, 02115.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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