Having spent the 1998-1999 school year closely following three seniors at ""the most integrated school in the country,"" Berkeley (Calif.) High, Maran delivers an altogether engrossing and often humbling account of the stark realities of public education in ""a country that has yet to deliver on its founding promise of equal opportunity."" While the year was overshadowed by the Columbine shootings, Maran reveals that ""Berzerkeley High"" faces profound problems of its own. From an inept counselor who ruins students' chances of attending the colleges of their choice to an arsonist whose fires are increasingly dangerous, ""the enormity of the issues these teenagers are dealing with"" makes their individual achievements sometimes astounding. Skillfully integrating multiple and quite disparate voices, Maran gives clear and chilling examples of how white and black children are treated differently by both school administrators and the police, bringing to light the ""dirty little secret"" of racial inequality. Her nuanced rendering of the ""day-to-day do-si-do of teachers, students, parents, and community"" in a school the local paper calls ""the petri dish of educational theorists across the country"" should awaken readers to the realities behind political posturing about ""improving"" public education. Maran's concluding recommendations for change are rooted in her well-documented understanding that ""Where our children are concerned, we get only as good as we give. As a nation we have been giving our young people far less than our best, with utterly predictable results."" (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000 Release date: 10/01/2000 Genre: Nonfiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.