Gadfly still favors radically deregulating entry into teaching, but if states are determined to stick with teacher "credentialing" there is every reason to hope that the new American College of Education is getting it right. This for-profit and partially on-line venture of Texas entrepreneur Randy Best--who lined up a blue-ribbon team that included Rod Paige, Reid Lyon, and Mike Moses--enrolled 25 Chicago teachers in master's degree programs during 2005-2006, its first year. The school hopes for 225 students or so in the coming year, and then, the team says, the sky is the limit, as more urban school systems arrange for their teachers to pursue degrees and coursework--advanced training seems to be the main offering today--from this interesting venture. Whether the college survives as a business proposition will eventually depend upon how many customers it can land, both districts and students (i.e., teachers). One supposes that its mid-year tuition slash was meant to attract more of them. Whether it prospers as an education reform will hinge upon ACE-trained teachers producing the requisite classroom results with their own pupils. On that crucial metric, nothing is yet known.
"The Big Asset in This Deal Was a College's Accreditation," by Elyse Ashburn, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 21, 2006 (subscription required)