Goodness, we're having quite a week in the Telegram and Gazette "As I See It" section, aren't we? The Pioneer Institute yesterday and DFER today!
Should you have forgotten who DFER is, here's a quick reminder of whom we're dealing with and why we should not be listening to them on, well, probably anything. They don't--mercifully--have much of a presence in Massachusetts (and Massachusetts election laws prevent them from flooding elections with funds the way that they have elsewhere in the country, at least directly), but let us not forget where this is coming from.
That said, the editorial itself is essentially alarmist rhetoric, not even doing much with the report from NCTQ: "crisis," "especially dire," "below average" and on and on: BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID!
And the report from which this all draws is round two of NCTQ: NCTQ, which comes to this with a foundational bias, which has terrible methodology (yes, that's from last year, but they used the same system this year), and in some ways made it even worse than it had been before. And the ratings, make no mistake, have some schools running scared, with what are going to be bad results on teaching and learning in classrooms at the colleges and universities.
The best analogy I've seen for this is if you rated restaurants by take out menus, without ever visiting the restaurants or eating the food; I'd only add that you're having it all done by critics who don't like to eat.
Why are we giving these people any attention? They don't know what they're talking about.