Blouke Carus

Blouke Carus is a genius chemist who revolutionized the production of the vital environmental chemical, potassium permanganate. After graduating from Cal Tech and the University of Freiburg, he transformed and modernized production techniques at Carus Chemical in La Salle, Illinois.

On the business side of the chemical industry, he became aware of the failures of American education, beginning a lifelong preoccupation with teaching, literacy, and books for both children and adults.

In 1961, together with his wife Marianne, Blouke launched the Open Court Integrated Language Arts Program, which surprised everyone by showing how it could be done, with spectacular improvements in children’s reading comprehension. This program was built up successfully over many years and eventually sold to McGraw Hill, who continued to market the former Open Court textbooks on a wider scale.

Blouke was also key in supporting the development of the International Baccalaureate (IB) in the US, as a new gold standard of basic educational attainment. The IB has now been adopted by thousands of schools both in the US and worldwide.

In 1981 Marianne founded Cricket magazine, giving American kids real literature. The saga of the Caruses and their crusade to transform American reading is told in the book, Let’s Kill Dick and Jane, by Harold Henderson.

At the same time, Blouke turned his attention to workplace learning, and more recently the revival of truly liberal education. Blouke founded Carus Books with a mission to spread enlightenment values and raise the standards of public discussion.