Innovations in the high schools of the mid- 1970s arise from many sources. Educators are seeking to cope creatively with contemporary problems of American society and its youth by introducing new ideas and practices. Many citizens feel that the high school may be society's best chance to stem the tide of lawlessness, immorality, and frustration which threatens to engulf us. Past achievements of the high school and its graduates encourage and challenge us to make the high schools of today more effective for the 1970s and 1980s than their predecessor institutions were for earlier decades. And above all other factors, there is the enthusiasm, the excitement, and the contagion of the new and novel to raise morale and enhance motivation for living and learning. Thus even the negative forces which stimulate some schools to innovation may create positive poles to attract youth to continued and improved schooling.
In this chapter we describe the various issues, concerns, and problems which currently stimulate innovation. These are the sparks to ignite ever-improving programs of secondary education.