Lyon into the lion's den

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The government's top reading scientist and lightning rod in the Reading Wars, Dr. Reid Lyon, is leaving Uncle Sam's employ to oversee the research arm of an institution that (we hope) will produce some revolutionary changes in how teachers are trained. Lyon has been persuaded by education entrepreneur Randy Best (formerly of Voyager, Inc.) to leave his long-tenured position at the National Institutes of Health to run the research arm of a new for-profit teacher preparation program based in Dallas, the American College of Education. Perhaps Lyon realized that the better alternative to "blowing up the nation's schools of education"--as he suggested a few years ago in a rival quote to Paige's infamous description of the NEA as a terrorist organization--is to give them some honest competition.

"ACE" will be a combination of both cyber and bricks-and-mortar teacher training institutions around the coutnry, but beginning with a college campus that the group has purchased in Chicago.

Not surprisingly, ACE is dedicated to training teachers in "research-based methods"--which might make for some pretty short classes in most instructional areas. The ACE model will challenge the dominant NCATE paradigm with its emphasis on local needs; ACE intends to tailor its teacher training to what local districts want and need--which, believe it or not, isn't how schools of education normally tend to operate.