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The Magic

Johnson Effect


Today, we think of him as one of the best basketball players of all time. Yet, during his time at Michigan State University, Johnson scored an average of 17 points. Good, but many others have higher averages. 

Magic Johnson's collaborative, team player approach provided a value-add to every other player on his team.

As we think about educator accountability, how can we value our most collaborative teachers? 

Balancing Voices


These goals complement the existing powers of school boards to make personnel decisions and of communities to elect school board members.  Thus, together with existing legal powers to elect boards that can dismiss educators, the BVF completes the set of checks and balances among the stakeholders.  See technical appendix B for an analysis of the legality of the Balancing Voices theory in Michigan. 

The integrated Balancing Voices Theory is shown at right.

  • Goals 1 and 2 together help educators avoid potentially polarizing whipsaw responses to competing demands for multiple reforms generated at the federal, state, or district levels.  

  • Goal 3 then provides for direct community involvement in school decision-making.

  • Goals 4 and 5 complement one another. In particular, if an administrator moves to discipline or dismiss a teacher perceived by other teachers to be ineffective, the other teachers may choose not to formally express a concern about the administrator.  

  • If no collective action is pursued, teachers’ inaction implies support for the administrator, without forcing the teachers to explicitly express their concerns about a colleague.  

  • If an administrator instead acts against a teacher whose peers perceive to be effective, teachers have a formal mechanism to express disapproval.  

  • In either circumstance, the Balancing Voices theory draws on the collective knowledge of the educators about one another (Grissom & Loeb, 2017; Harris, Ingle, & Rutledge, 2014; Jacob & Lefgren, 2008), and of the general value of peer-to-peer evaluation for professional adults (see the review in Gill, Lerner & Moesky, 2015).

The Legality of Balancing Voices

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