Another Muir graduate, Pablo Miralles, argues that what killed integrated schools wasn't racial intolerance but the budget wars that slowly consumed public education after Proposition 13 passed in 1978.
"Once school funding became a bigger issue than race, the middle class families left," said Miralles. The son of Argentine immigrants, he's making a documentary about the class of 1981, a clip of which can be seen online.
"I lived on a street that was all middle-class African Americans," Miralles told me. "Now they're not sending their kids to public school either."
Hedblom remembers going back to Muir in the 1990s and meeting up with one of his old stage teachers.
"This is a dumping ground," the teacher told him. "These kids can't learn anything."
Hedblom was stunned. "The whole school felt, for lack of a better word, tired. Beat up," he told me.
Those graduates who return to Muir agree that there are still many excellent teachers there, and an eager student body. But the teachers of today are clearly working with fewer resources, and the students of today have less opportunity than their parents' generation.
It's up to us today to fight for them — again — and to fight for the equality that makes us a stronger California.