What year is it, 1972? That's how I felt reading the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's story about how the Evergreen State College will be offering a six-month program in political activism at Seattle Central Community College. Never mind that Evergreen is widely respected nationally and that many of its pioneering educational offerings--internships for credit, individual study contracts, evaluations instead of grades--are now standard tools at schools all across the country. What the P-I picked up on is that hippies are coming to town! The headline sounds like something that could have run on the right-wing Daily Olympian (known as the Daily Zero) back in the early 70s: "Evergreen College brings its 'far out' studies to Seattle." And the first graphs of the story pick up the flower-child theme: Seattle resident Matt Fuller likes the vibe at The Evergreen State College. He likes that self-evaluations replace grades and that he can create his own course of study. And, yes, he likes the eco-conscious, freethinking students who are drawn to the Olympia campus like hippies to tie-dye. The article goes on to describe the Evergreen curriculum this way: That different model looks a lot like controlled anarchy at first glance. Grades are replaced by narrative-style evaluations compiled by students, and faculty work in teams to construct exploratory "shared-learning" programs that replace traditional classroom lectures. Instead of enrolling in a clearly defined major, students are bound by customized "learning contracts" that allow them to create a course of study for themselves. Controlled anarchy? This is standard stuff that Evergreen has been offering for more than 30 years. The educational revolution is long over. In fact, the real story about Evergreen isn't how "alternative" it is, but how mainstream. It now offers graduate degrees in teaching, public administration and environmental studies (US News has named it one of the top graduate schools for 2008). And it has trained an entire generation of bureaucrats and leaders in state government--not unlike a civilian version of the police academy Dixy Lee Ray wanted to turn the school into. I know it may be futile for an alum like me to make the argument that Evergreen never was properly a hippie school. After all, its motto, Omnia Extares, translates as "Let it all hang out." Yes, it was conceived in the 1960s and launched in the early 1970s, but as a state-funded project launched at the end, rather than the beginning, of the Sixties, its institutional culture in the early years when there were actual hippies there was much more a love-child of political correctness than of free-love. But despite that, it has always drawn a diverse population. Evergreen has also had educated plenty of people who played major roles in Republican politics. I can think of two students from my time there (early to mid-70s) who fit that bill, both fellow staffers on the college paper. Doug Ellis, now with the state Public Disclosure Commission, was a longtime aide to Jennifer Dunn when she ran the state GOP. And Stan Shore, a former employee of the GOP caucus who became known as a campaign consultant with a dark Karl Roveian genius when it came to getting Republicans elected. On top of that, the school's second president was former GOP governor Dan Evans. There may still be some who go to Evergreen in search of a "tie-dye vibe"--but plenty of others are there for the straight coat and tie.