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The film director Steven Spielberg is helping underwrite a program that will give thousands of California high school students a chance to attend free screenings of his movie about the Holocaust, "Schindler's List.''

Mr. Spielberg and Sidney Sheinberg, the movie's producer, have joined theater owners to allow 10th- and 11th-grade students to watch the film, which tells the story of the German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who risked his fortune to save more than 1,100 Jewish workers during World War II.

Rosalie Zalis, an adviser to Gov. Pete Wilson of California, said the program will be tested this month in Oakland, Sacramento, and San Diego, and could be expanded to 30 or 40 theaters across the state for as long as the film runs. Teachers will be given study guides about the film developed for Mr. Spielberg's production company, Amblin Entertainment, and the film's studio, Universal Pictures.

Ms. Zalis said the educational program was in the works before an incident last month in which 69 students from Castlemont High School in Oakland were asked to leave a showing of the film. Theatergoers complained that some of the students laughed during scenes of Nazi atrocities.

Castlemont teachers later worked with the Holocaust Center of Northern California andJewish community groups to develop a program for students to discuss such issues as genocide, racism, and discrimination.

New Superintendent: Rod Paige, the dean of education at Texas Southern University, has resigned from the Houston school board to become the district's superintendent.

Mr. Paige will replace Frank Petruzielo, who left the Houston schools late last month to become superintendent of the Broward County, Fla., school system.

About 18 months remain on Mr. Petruzielo's existing contract, and negotiations were continuing last week on the details of Mr. Paige's contract. Mr. Paige, 60, has said he will seek a two-year leave of absence from Texas Southern University.

Hartford Schools Chief: The Hartford, Conn., school board has voted not to extend the contract of Superintendent T. Josiha Haig, the city's schools chief since 1991.

On a 5-to-4 vote, the board decided last month not to renew Mr. Haig's $110,000 contract, which expires in June. Board members said the superintendent did not communicate with the board and failed to tackle several persistent problems in the 25,000-student district.

Mr. Haig, who came to the Hartford schools from East Orange, N.J., said his tenure was marked by improved relations with parents and upgraded curricula.

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