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The federal government should preserve "the complex system of public and private funding that sustains the arts and humanities in the United States," a Presidential panel has recommended.

"The main vehicle for support of the arts and humanities remains private monies," the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities states in a report issued this month. "We firmly believe government support is necessary, however, for it seems clear that the culture of this country cannot be sustained solely by private funding."

The 34-member panel urged the Administration to "guard against diminishing incentives" to charitable giving, to provide "sufficient" appropriations for grants, and to create an Internal Revenue Service data base on contributions to the arts and humanities.

In addition, the panel called for the development of cooperative programs to promote the fields. It cited as examples Collaboratives for Humanities and Arts Teaching, a Rockefeller Foundation program that supports humanities education in seven cities and two states, and the History Teaching Alliance, a project in more than 20 states that links high-school teachers with college and university historians.

The panel, established in 1982, includes Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos; Lynne V. Cheney, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities; Frank Hodsoll, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts; and other leaders from business, government, and the arts.

When members of the Future Farmers of America gathered this month for their annual conference, they took some steps to counter criticisms that the organization's name, symbols, creed, and programs are outdated.

A study released by the National Research Council this fall said the 400,000-member organization, which is the nation's largest student group, "needs to change its image" to broaden its "nearly exclusive focus on traditional production agriculture."

In response, the group adopted an amendment to its constitution that allows state associations and local chapters the freedom to emphasize the letters "ffa" more than the formal title of the organization.

"This will give inner-city and suburban chapters the freedom to refer to their members in a more accurate way," according to a prepared statement. The n.r.c. report had argued that such an approach would not be adequate, saying, "To the public the full name and the initials are well known and interchangeable."

A second amendment approved by the members replaces the term "vocational agriculture" with "agricultural education."

"Consequently, many of the organization's symbols, traditions, and ceremonies will require modification," the statement said.

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