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[Susan notes: Kudos to Walt Gardner for countering Sowell's ugly misinformation.]

Published in Baltimore Sun
12/18/2006

To the editor

Thomas Sowell is on thin ice when he argues that diversity in schools produces no educational or social benefits ("Making kids suffer for racial dogma," Opinion Commentary, Dec. 14).



Mr. Sowell ignores the importance of noncognitive outcomes. Attitudes and values, for example, are no less worthy of consideration by teachers than skills and knowledge.



This is particularly the case when it comes to helping children deal with our increasingly multiracial and multicultural society.



The reason the hard evidence Mr. Sowell demands is not readily available is that non-cognitive outcomes are difficult to quantify and are likely to appear years after graduation.



As a result, test makers have a disincentive to develop instruments to measure them.



Walt Gardner


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