Regarding the article "Secretary Outlines Academic Plans," Aug. 27: This interview with US Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander displays his genuine concern for improving education, but if I were grading the national education plan, I would return it and say "Let's try again." An increase in literacy and graduation is identifiable and measurable, but phrases such as "ready to learn" and "learn to use their minds well" are open to personal interpretation and difficult to accurately assess.Mr. Alexander's goals describe English, mathematics, science, history, and geography as challenging subject matter which students will be required to learn. I am concerned with the neglect of the arts in this agenda. The arts help teach about other cultures, past civilizations, nonverbal communication, and creative problem solving. How better to prepare a child for an increasingly global society? Jennifer Call, Virginia Beach, Va. Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.