Gutman Library Book Talk: Class Dismissed
“Student Gives Teacher the Finger” screams the Post headline after Patrick Lynch shuts––slams?––his classroom door on the hand of Josh Mishkin, the learning-disabled son of two NYU professors. Josh’s injury casts Patrick, thirty-year-old son of the Midwest, down a New York City rabbit hole of Board of Ed bureaucracy and union politics. Transformed into an unwilling celebrity by his fellow inmates in that teacher purgatory, the Rubber Room, Mr. Lynch is suddenly more “at risk” than any of his students. Now he must fight his way back to his classroom at Marcus Garvey High School and reclaim the affections of his social worker fiancée, all while wrestling the legend of his late father, Superintendent Lynch, the pride of Peterson’s Prairie, Minnesota.
Set during the “Ed Reform” wars of the 1990s, Class Dismissed offers a fresh lens on the urban teacher tale: an intimate view of teaching and learning, each classroom its own ecosystem, the eye of its own little storm. Seen through the warm and humorous eyes of Patrick Lynch, the crucible of inner-city education, with its stew of race, class and political tensions, provides a portrait of love and loss, a surprising path to self-discovery, and a belated coming-of-age.
Author and educator Kevin M. McIntosh will be in conversation with Dr. Karla Brooks Baehr, former Deputy Commissioner, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and former Superintendent of Schools in Wellesley and Lowell and an introduction by Richard J. Murnane, an economist and the Thompson Research Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.