There's a new report on the actual quality of the old Massachusetts state assessment, the MCAS, and it's worth paying attention to this one for a variety of reasons. First, it's from the Fordham Institute, a right-of-center think tank in Washington. It's easy to criticize local takes on the MCAS as politically motivated, given the coalition pursuing its repeal. Fordham, on the other hand, has no local axe to grind, and they've been consistently balanced in their appraisal of standards nationally.

Second, their take on MCAS is sobering. Yes, it's a good test - particularly relative to other states' tests. But it's not as good as the PARCC test, which the state has already adopted, at measuring rigorous, internationally benchmarked standards. MCAS also falls short of the other Common Core-aligned test, the Smarter Balanced assessment.

This is what's crazy to me about the current ballot initiative to repeal the PARCC test and the Common Core in Massachusetts: if the state did NOTHING, we would keep a superior testing and academic regime. Instead, the Tea Party and its allies are spending out-of-state political money to force the state to spend millions more in tax dollars to rewrite our already high standards. There are better things to do with both politics and taxpayer money.