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[Susan notes: This is a very important letter. We must hold our professional associations accountable. We must demand that they stand up to bullies instead of calling these bullies "distinguished educator."]

Submitted to Director & President, International Reading Association but not published

Dear Colleagues

I just received my copy of the IRA program for the Reno conference and noted that Reid Lyon will be presenting at a special research award session (page 91 of the program). I am in favor of encouraging open discussion and a free exchange of all ideas, but this is very disturbing.

Lyon is the one who has called for blowing up schools of education, and in a very recent interview, posted today on educationnews.org, he included an ad hominum attack on a wide segment of the reading community (see below, interview from Children of the Code).

In his statements, it is clear that Lyon has not considered counterarguments at all (his description of whole language is a serious distortion), and in his position of great power, Lyon has not been particularly eager to allow all sides to state their views.

I understand that there are others on the program who do represent other positions (I was very happy to see that Kenneth Goodman will be a featured speaker and that Shelley Harwayne and Marie Clay will be giving major presentations), and I am not opposed at all to including Lyon at IRA, but I think that granting him this very high honor ("distinguished educator") could be interpreted as the IRA's approval of his unprofessional behavior, if not his position on reading.

I know that Lyon has apologized for the "blowing up" remark, but he only said it was "a bad choice of words" (Reading Today, Aug/Sept 2003): His attitude and disdain for opposing views is clear.


Dr. Reid Lyon:

I don't know why education and in particular reading, within the field of education, has been so wimpy with respect to building on evidence rather than on heart. Of course you have to have both, but. . . . The way we went down the road to whole language is really a story of stupidity.

Stephen Krashen, Emeritus Professor, USC

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