ONLY TWO CHOICES?: Teacher and edtech consultant, Mark Burns, thinks value-added teacher evaluations leave educators with only two choices: play the game or help students. There’s more than a little snark: “There is messiness to this place that makes learning fun, while abandoning the order that the bureaucrats, testing lobbyists and authors of the Common Core so desire,” says Burns of his own inquiry-based classroom. We’re a bit more middle of the road. Ironically, Burns’ instructional model -- the “messiness” which he equates to helping students -- is as opaque as the value-added model whose “creators refuse to share its formula with teachers.” And he admits that his students “pass [standardized tests] at considerably higher rates than their peers in traditional classrooms.” It would appear that Burns and his equally-capable peers have a third choice: keep being awesome. But for struggling teachers who lack the resources, support, and leadership to develop their own effective “messiness,” perhaps a “canned rubric to judge learning” is more helpful than we think.