Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jaime Escalante, 1930-2010. R.I.P.

Jaime Escalante, the math teacher who inspired the 1988 movie Stand & Deliver featuring an Oscar nominated performance by Edward James Olmos, has died of bladder cancer. He was 79.

The Bolivian born Escalante spent nearly two decades teaching algebra and calculus to inner city students at Garfield High School in Los Angeles. His students excelled beyond expectations and their achievements garnered attention from the likes of President Ronald Reagan.

Sadly, Escalante's methods while popular with his students were not popular with either school administrators or teacher unions as demonstrated in this article written in 2002 by Jerry Jesness for Reason magazine. Escalante was forced out of Garfield and the school's math program never returned to its former glory and future generations of students lost out.

So while it's possible for students to learn it would seem that school administrators and teacher unions never do.

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