When her colleague Bud criticizes her grading methods and then proceeds to glorify the time he spent working at a “dilapidated high school in the poorest section of the city” a few years prior, Johnson retorts, “Well, that was real white of you to go and help those poor little nigra and beaner heathen” (170). Because so much writing about teaching is reflective, I found it refreshing to read something driven by action.
An account of an inner-city teacher's first years on the front lines at Parkmont High School presents entertaining anecdotes about how the former Marine employed various creative devices to get her students to learn.
(In real life, Emilio didn’t die; he spent four years in the Marine Corps and started a family.) This moment—and the subsequent scene in which the remaining kids beg Lou Anne to stay because she’s their “tambourine man” and their “light”—encapsulates the narrow, patronizing worldview of , in which the teacher’s climactic triumph comes in the form of a gooey No. In that film and others, at least, the teachers and their students interact with one another in a way that feels more like the “two-way street” Bass described—like in the end of , then in its third week.
Its soundtrack, and more specifically, Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” became a cultural phenomenon.
She also said she returned, uncashed, the royalty check from the Dangerous Minds television show, a weekly drama inspired by the movie. And no wonder: The book is unlike the movie and the television show.
In I decided to read this book after hearing an interview with Johnson on NPR’s This American Life.