How Do Ya Like Them Apples? (And Oranges?)

Here’s a quiz for you.  Who was a better player:  Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth?   Joe Montana or Wayne Gretzky?  Ali or Pele?

I’m sure this would be a fantastic discussion starter at your local sports bar, particularly if there were Packer fans in the room (In their eyes, Brett Favre would top them all, of course).  However, in spite of the spirited debate, you would all recognize that there is no definitive right answer; you can’t precisely compare Ruth’s slugging percentage to Jordan’s defensive prowess.  It’s like comparing apples to oranges, as they say.

So, the value added model in Arizona is on the way.  Nobody is quite sure how we are going to measure the art teachers, the computer teachers, the speech pathologists, or any other educator that does not generate standardized data.  What data should be used to assess teachers?  I have fantastic teachers experiencing success in a myriad of ways.  Some of those ways just don’t produce comparable data.  However, the mandate is in: data has to be used for over 1/3 of their evaluations.

How is that going to happen?  Nobody knows, and those that think they do will usually concede that the solutions that are being proposed are not reliable or valid.

A mandate without solutions  – and districts, sites, and teachers are left holding the bag.

How do ya like them apples?


Mike Lee

Mike Lee

Phoenix, Arizona

I am the Director of Outreach and Engagement for The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and certified as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2004. In 2012, I received my doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, however, I began my work in education serving as a para-educator in a special education program while still an undergraduate. My passions in the field include assessment and reporting strategies, the evolving role of technology, teacher leadership, and effective professional development that permanently impacts instruction. I consider myself a professional teacher first, as well as a professionally evolving lifelong learner, who is incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to impact the lives of children.

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