Jaime Escalante, whose success in teaching advanced mathematics to inner-city Los Angeles teenagers was immortalized in the movie "Stand and Deliver," will be honored today at the Capitol.
Escalante, 78, is one of 14 trailblazers receiving Latino Spirit Awards from the California Latino Legislative Caucus.
Escalante, now living and teaching college classes part time in Bolivia, taught for 17 years at Los Angeles' Garfield High School and for seven years at Sacramento's Hiram Johnson High School, retiring in 1998.
Here's what he had to say Friday in an interview....
He supports monolingual English instruction (the AP test comes in only one language, he'd say), he supports the High School Exit Exam, he says we spend plenty of money on education but waste too much of it, and he thinks schools need the help and support of parents if they're to do right by students.
I agree with him.
My calculus teacher showed us "Stand and Deliver" back in high school. I still watch it every time I catch it on TV, which unfortunately is not often.
I own a copy of "Stand and Deliver", I love it so much...
And for my BTSA 'cultural' lesson plan, I made my students do mini-presentations on math-folks of various categories. Mr. Escalante was at the top of the list!
(On a separate note... I am NOT a fan of the BTSA. Thankfully, after tomorrow, I won't have to deal with it until next September!)
And if it weren't for the movie how many people would have heard of Escalante? How many teachers would have heard of Escalante?
Just one more pixel in the overall picture that captures the fundamentally flawed nature of the public education system.
The importance of the superstar practitioners illustrates the importance placed on the skill - very important in baseball, irrelevant in education.
I don't know where the movie ended, but the followup to his math program is sad.
"Stand and Deliver" IS a classic. It's even better that it's true.
Escalante has said that the movie is 90% true--but oh, what fun they had with that 10%.
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