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MLC’s formation reflected a zeitgeist and great change in US culture. Educators in Oregon struggled with the shift whereby a one-size-fits-all philosophy of curriculum that left many children behind, uninterested, or disenfranchised was no longer acceptable. Small experiments with individualized learning had popped up in schools around Portland in the 1960s (particularly at Fernwood Elementary and Cleveland High schools), but nothing on the scale of MLC had yet been attempted.
Two Portland teachers, Emil Abramovic and Abe Bialostosky, first met as active members of the teacher’s union. The men spent two years--1966-68--building a coalition of like-minded civic leaders with the intent of providing an “enriched environment for students where they [could] individualize their patterns of learning and self-development.”
We've digitized a few of the first MLC documents here as well as an article from the Oregonian written in the first month that the school was open in 1968.