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Creativity and Chaos

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Creativity and Chaos: Reflections on a Decade of Progressive Change in Public Schools, 1967–1977

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Format: Trade Paper, 308 pages
Pub Date: 05/05/2020
Price: $27.95
ISBN: 978-1-58838-392-1
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In Creativity and Chaos: Progressivism in New Orleans Public Schools and the Nation 1967-1977, Charles Suhor brings to life the bold challenges to the status quo in education during a decade of national turmoil. The regimentation and rote learning of traditional schooling could not have escaped the restless temper of the times—Vietnam war protests, racial strife, assassinations, hippie communes, the sexual revolution, an emerging drug culture, and daring innovations in pop/rock music. Suhor describes his immersion in post-World War II popular culture of New Orleans as a rich backdrop for his years as an impassioned educational reformer at local and national levels. A risk-taking teacher and district supervisor of English, he plunged headlong into controversies over black literature, censorship, ebonics, the "new grammar," faculty integration, testing, standardization, and computer technology. He demonstrates how the sweeping national trends often took quirky, distinctive turns in a city that delights in marching to a different drummer. Suhor's engaging account takes the reader into classrooms as well as the intrigues of central office politics and national leaders' disputes on how to best teach students in a time of change. In no sense a doctrinal liberal, he lambastes the errors and excesses of the progressive moment and traces its decline and the backlash demand for a return to basic skills. Suhor concludes with an update on innovations that have waned or persisted in today's schools.