Class Dismissed takes us inside California's Berkeley High, one of the most ethnically diverse high schools in the country. For one year, author and journalist Meredith Maran reported on the lives of three different but representative students from the Class of 2000: a troubled yet well-meaning young white man from an affluent family, a highly gifted and academically overachieving young woman from a biracial background, and a functionally illiterate African American young man who excels at football.
In telling their stories, and in fully depicting their turbulent year as seniorsa year that saw arson, corruption, professional ineptitude, and dismal teacher moralethis book offers a fascinating, up-to-the-minute account of the socio-economic and racial realities in our public schools.
Maran's eye-opening inquiry also shows how even a progressively multi-racial educational institution like Berkeley High can operate not as one school with a common objective but as several different schools under one roof, where students' opportunities and options are as limited as they are varied. Revealing as much about our society as it does about our teenagers, Class Dismissed is a must-read for everyone interested in the possibilities and truths behind American public education today.
Introduction:, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in High School, Prologue—April 2000: FIRE!, August 1999: Same Old Same Old, September 1999: What's Up, October 1999: Bling, Bling, November 1999: Stressing, December 1999: Crackdown, January 2000: Scandalous, February 2000: Breakdown, March 2000: On the Down Low, April 2000: Feelin' the Heat, May 2000: Ready or Not, June 2000: Class Dismissed, Afterword:, Everything We Need to Know, We Can Learn from Our High Schools, The Year After:, "What Ever Happened to, Autumn, Jordan, and Keith?", Acknowledgments,
Class Dismissed 2 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
I am a student at Berkeley High. I walk through the stairwell in the C-building that is featured on the cover of the book everyday. I began to read Class Dismissed and was thoroughly disappointed in what I found. This book and its author are an example of the kind of reactionary stereotyping that plagues Berkeley. Some people here just want to be hippies and tell the rest of the world how they're not as intelligent as they who have found the truth in light of all the 'lies' they've been taught over their lives. There are a lot of narcissists here in Berkeley who think that they have discovered racism. I'm white, and I'm not a racist. I'm sick to death of being the target of anti-white racial slurs every time I go to school and pushed around in the hallways. I'm tired of being typecast as the enemy. I'm sick of books like Class Dismissed that tell the world that the problem with Berekely high is that the white-women-in-the-hills are corrupting the school. Yeah, right, come visit and you'll see that the 'white mothers' are trying to ensure that their students get an education, any education. This school is about to lose its acredidation because it is so disorganized. There is chaos in every classroom and a reluctance to stop any disturbance if it is from a black person. Telling a kid of African-American descent to turn off his boombox which is blasing in a classroom (which has been the case before) is deemed racist. It's a wonder that mothers and fathers of the other children in the class get worried when they hear this is their kids English class. So they go to the administration, which is mostly run by black women, and complain. The administration is highly combative with anyone who wants to make any change and cause any work, so there is a lot of conflict between the parents, predominately white for socio-economic resons I'm not going to even get into (just know that this is the only public highschool in all of Berkeley), and inevitably somebody yells 'racist.' Please, don't listen to this woman, for whatever issues of her own, she has jumped on the 'rich white people are evil' bandwagon, and has written a book about it to gain the approval of those on the bandwagon. She even attempts to back up her notion of being 'different' and better by telling about how she sold that secret udercover newspaper in the bathroom, man, in the sixties, man, for ten cents, man, and they weren't full of lies like the man, man. She didn't listen to the lies the world was telling her, man. There all out to get you. She was having sex and smoking ganja, probably with cool people, man. Yeah, she knows the truth. The rest of us are all drones. Please grow up. She does not deserve any of the credit that she is receiving and I seriously doubt that if the setting was not in Berkeley, she would be receiving as much positive feedback about how enlightening and revolutionalry her book is. For the sake of progressive thinking, ignore this woman.
More than 1 year ago
The author of Class Dismissed, Meredith Maran is obviously prejudiced to and a sympathesizer of 'African American' teenagers. This is for good reason but while she writes African American, in the same book she uses 'white' to refer to Caucasians. In the process for making up for the racism in the past, Meredith has overcompensate by becoming racially insensitive to Caucasians. Either refer to both groups of people as black and white or African American and Caucasian. There should not be a double standard. The first step towards equality are expectations, equal expectations. This is just one among other cited examples of prejudice on Meredith's part. In addition, the other minorities, Asians and Latinos took a backseat to Meredith's book. Somehow, Asians' outstanding academic achievements despite their poor socioeconomic backgrounds did not capture the interest of Meredith. While it might be true that Berkley High School is a mircocosm of America, it would be an overstatement to say that Meredith to protrayed it as so.