I would say that teaching kids how to take the MCAS is distracting us from our real educational mission.
There's no evidence that the MCAS is forcing high-performing schools to dumb down their curriculum, no signs of AP classes drying up to make way for rote test prep.
In effect, the only tangible net cost of the MCAS to these districts has been about three days of class time.
Their outrage might be understandable if the MCAS were one of those fill-in-the-dots multiple choice tests used elsewhere in the nation, which are justifiably seen as a way of beating down innovative teaching.
The state-imposed MCAS is also colliding with the deeply held American belief in local control over public education.
This viewpoint has been best articulated by Deborah Meier, founder of New York's Central Park East schools and Roxbury's Mission Hill Pilot School, and one of the MCAS staunchest opponents.
The debate over the MCAS goes beyond the larger policy issues, though.
But two years into Massachusetts' experiment, there's no sign that the MCAS is making a wreck of elite suburban schools.
Just as swanky prep schools like Groton and Exeter won't make their academic data public, upper-class public school parents fear the MCAS will expose the underachievers in their ranks, whose success may have more to do with their families' socioeconomic status than their intellectual prowess.
In fact, the 1998 MCAS scores must have come as something of a shock to some of those very schools now leading the charge to get rid of it.
Still, those aren't the kind of results you'd expect from a school whose faculty claims the MCAS is distracting them from higher learning.
In large numbers, they say, Madison's students will surely fail the MCAS, and without a high school diploma, also fail to secure a job.