My dad and Joanne dropped by today. Over dinner, my dad talked about the experimental education days of my middle school. Heterogenous classes, camping trips, and building close relationships all came from the experimental grouping of teachers and giving them much latitude in introducing many interdisciplinary and extracurricular activities (no study halls, the last period was kept free and kids could sign up for two week classes in learning some outside topic, "fly tying", "reading club", "chess club", "photography"). The Paradise Project was born from this, and sought out private funding to prevent external control issues. Unfortunately, the last vestige of these experiments from the 70's was killed off in 1998.
The high cost of maintaining this program killed it off. There were no quantifiable measures of success in this program, so after a bit, the fervor wore off, and the cost-cutting began. Not to mention the rivalries between teachers not in the laissez-faire system, and those blessed.
God help the school district where I raise my kids. ;)