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[Susan notes: Another great letter from Walt Gardner, reminding us that we should write letters when we agree with commentaries as well as when we disagree. After all, by agreeing we get a chance to restate our case, and Walt does this restatement very well. ]

Published in Seattle Times

To the editor

Ken Moscaret ["WASL's focus on testing can leave students adrift," guest commentary, July 17], speaks the absolute truth about the wrongheaded approach public schools in Washington and, by extension, other states are taking to prepare students for a rapidly changing world. Corporate America has been masterful in selling its high-stakes test agenda by creating mass hysteria about the dismal economic future of the country.

This is a red herring that Moscaret correctly identifies. The long-playing scare tactics began in earnest in 1983 with the publication of "A Nation at Risk." This mother of all critiques scapegoated public schools for virtually all the ills afflicting the country. Public education has been on the defensive ever since.

The crisis, however, was largely manufactured. What business needs more than anything else are employees who are capable of fitting into the real world of business. The problem-solving ability and critical-thinking skills that are necessary for success are not developed exclusively by math and science.

It's time that we recognize the existence of multiple intelligences, rather than continue along the same deluded track.

Walt Gardner

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