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 seniors—a year that saw arson, corruption, professional ineptitude, and dismal teacher morale—this 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.