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Jaime Escalante, RIP


Escalante-photo.jpg

Jaime Escalante, the Bolivian-born high school mathematics teacher who developed a nationally-recognized advanced placement mathematics program at one of Los Angeles' poorest inner city schools, has died of complications resulting from cancer. He was 79 years old.

Escalante's story inspired the hit 1988 movie "Stand and Deliver" starring Edward James Olmos. Olmos was nominated for a Best Actor Academy award for his portrayal of Escalante. From NPR:

Escalante would later say that Stand and Deliver was 90 percent truth, 10 percent drama. His biggest complaint was that the movie left the impression that his students, most of whom were struggling with multiplication tables, mastered calculus overnight.

Fact is, Escalante's kids ate, slept and lived mathematics. They arrived an hour before school and stayed two, three hours after school. Escalante drilled them on Saturdays and made summer school mandatory. Some parents hated it, and they let Escalante know it.

Escalante's remarkable success at Garfield High got lots of attention, not all of it good. In 1982, all 18 of his advanced math students passed the calculus AP (advanced placement) test, a college-level exam. The test maker accused the students of cheating, though, and Escalante accused the test maker of racism. The students retook the test and passed again with pretty high scores.

By 1991, 600 Garfield students were taking advanced placement exams, not just in math, but in other subjects, which was unheard of at the time. That year, though, Escalante resigned, in part because he was tired of the run-ins with fellow teachers who viewed him as a prima donna.

Years later, it pained Escalante to hear parents complain that Garfield's math curriculum had been dumbed down. Still, he had fond memories of Garfield High and said he wanted to be "remembered as a teacher, picturing that potential everywhere."

Escalante's story is proof that better teachers, not bigger government, is the key to an educational system that encourages students to excel. Yet even Escalante eventually tired of run-ins with faculty, school administrators, and the teachers union, all of whom continually dogged him for dominating the AP program at Garfield. In bureaucracies, outstanding performance is usually punished, because it threatens the security of those who are only average. God bless Jaime Escalante - we need more teachers like him.


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Comments (34)

he was a PUBLIC school teac... (Below threshold)
jose:

he was a PUBLIC school teacher, fool. What does this have to do with your small gub'ment fetish?

Proof, that you don't have ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Proof, that you don't have to give people a break because of their skin color, but if you help them and they are willing to do the hard work they will succeed beyond anyone's expectations.

Libs, the government and schools in particular do not believe that people can succeed without a hand out. They do not believe in success through hard work and rewarding merit.

Escalante gave these kids a chance and the help they needed to succeed. libs just want to give them a pass and a government check for nothing. Since the libs don't help anyone make something of themselves people are forced to keep coming back for more handouts.

George Patton was the same ... (Below threshold)
Stan:

George Patton was the same way. He excelled at the job he was doing and it pissed off a lot the generals that were his colleagues. Especially Montgomery, who had a reputation for being a plodder. The slapping incident in Sicily was just an excuse to take Patton down a peg. The Germans feared and yes even admired him for his audacity of being able to maneuver an army as quick as he did. If Patton had been in charge of the Normandy campaign, there would have been no Battle of the Bulge. Nor would the Soviet Union would have dominated Eastern Europe the way it did for 40 some odd years.

Conservatives believe if yo... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Conservatives believe if you give a man a fish he'll eat for today. Teach him how to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.

Liberals know if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for today and be back the next day for another fish.

And at that point, you can get him to do pretty much anything you want for another fish - but you don't want to TEACH him how to fish because if you do then he's not going to be dependent and do what you want.

We need many, many more teachers like this man. You don't get educational excellence by lowering expectations to the point where you can graduate without being able to read,or by indulging in educational masturbation following the latest trendy fads.

"Yet even Escalant... (Below threshold)
jim m:
"Yet even Escalante eventually tired of run-ins with faculty, school administrators, and the teachers union, all of whom continually dogged him for dominating the AP program at Garfield. "

Consider the teacher who is a prima dona based on the success of his students and the teacher who is a prima dona based on his skin color:

"[He] applied for a position as an adjunct and wasn't even considered. A few weeks later the law school got a phone call from the Board of Trustees telling them to find him an office, put him on the payroll, and give him a class to teach.

The other professors hated him because he was lazy, unqualified, never attended any of the faculty meetings, and it was clear that the position was nothing more than a political stepping stool. "

The latter comment was about Obama, who gained his position through political string pulling and not by merit. Is it any wonder that a man who never gained a single position by merit, but by hand out and deception, thinks that other people's wealth and position are accidental and undeserved?

Are you sure you don't mean... (Below threshold)
jose:

Are you sure you don't mean Dubya?

So silly... Getting into Harvard Law for a poor kid with a single mom is always a breeze. Then succeeding to to cum laude, the Law Review and eventually becoming a US Senator is just a cakewalk.

You people are self-serving Wilcow-chimp idiots without a clue.

What's funniest is that Esc... (Below threshold)
jose:

What's funniest is that Escalante's entire body of work is consistent with liberal policies of tolerance and giving to the poor. F-ing idiots, you people are proven self-serving and reversionist once again.

Last word about this absurd... (Below threshold)
jose:

Last word about this absurd post and comments. There's not a self-serving knuckle-dragger here who devote an ounce of what Escalante did to anybody in poverty. Liars and, worse yet fools for the rich, you are...

Ah, tolerance. Jos... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Ah, tolerance.

Jose, you're a wonderful example of it.

Being the only editor of th... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Being the only editor of the Harvard Law Review NEVER to have published any work himself is a distinction that Obama shares with no one.

He has been given a pass on every step in his career. He got his Harvard admit as a hand out, he got his charitable board positions by political string pulling (via Bill Ayers, who he claims to hardly know despite sharing an office with the man), he got his State Senate position by legal challenges to force his competitors off the ballot, He got his US senator position after his primary opposition withdrew and the his general election opponent withdrew after sealed records of his divorce were illegally leaked(no investigation was ever made into where the leak came from).

Obama is the poster child for hand outs.
Another quote from the article I cited:
"According to my professor friend, he had the lowest intellectual capacity in the building. He also doubted whether he was legitimately an editor on the Harvard Law Review, because if he was, he would be the first and only editor of an Ivy League law review to never be published while in school (publication is or was a requirement). "

Who knew, raising the bar g... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Who knew, raising the bar gets results. Unfortunately the public school system is run by people who believe that none should excel as it would 'hurt the esteem' of those won't or can't achieve at the same levels.

On the bright side, this will prepare them for the 'brave new world of Obama', where all are equal; except of course for the overlords.

I know this is OT, but Happ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

I know this is OT, but Happy Obama Voters Day Jose, Steve Green, SteveP, Tina, James H, Mantis, Hooson, BryanD, ect.!

Sorry, gotta add one more..... (Below threshold)
jose:

Sorry, gotta add one more...

Escalante's work, as you recognize, is superior.

Isn't providing the best government service (of any kind) to the poor WELFARE? Shouldn't those who pay the highest taxes get the best?

Wasn't your Wilcowed rcipient-class getting something superior for nothing via Escalante?

How can you possibly condone this government takeover of education?!!!

Anyone? Beueller? Bueller? Hypcrite?

Being the only editor of th... (Below threshold)
jose:

Being the only editor of the Harvard Law Review NEVER to have published any work himself is a distinction that Obama shares with no one.

He has been given a pass on every step in his career. He got his Harvard admit as a hand out, he got his charitable board positions by political string pulling (via Bill Ayers, who he claims to hardly know despite sharing an office with the man), he got his State Senate position by legal challenges to force his competitors off the ballot, He got his US senator position after his primary opposition withdrew and the his general election opponent withdrew after sealed records of his divorce were illegally leaked(no investigation was ever made into where the leak came from).

Obama is the poster child for hand outs.
"Another quote from the article I cited:
"According to my professor friend, he had the lowest intellectual capacity in the building. He also doubted whether he was legitimately an editor on the Harvard Law Review, because if he was, he would be the first and only editor of an Ivy League law review to never be published while in school (publication is or was a requirement). ""

...yeah, and he was born in Indonesia to Osama Bid Laden's unlce as well... parroting fools all of you....

"Ah, tolerance. Jo... (Below threshold)
jose:

"Ah, tolerance.

Jose, you're a wonderful example of it."

Jim, I've learned very well that righties don't hear reason, they hear insults. That's your language and I do want to be understood here.

Government education is not... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Government education is not without its successes. I think what is clearly demonstrated here is that Escalante is the exception and not the rule.

Private schools routinely do a vastly better job of educating students and do so at a markedly lower cost per student. Prvate school seems expensive because the parents have to make up for the absence of local and state tax funding that pay for the public schools.

Only an idiot, who keeps his head up his ass with regard to public schooling, would ever suggest as you have that Escalante is representative of the public schools anywhere.

It was obvious from the posting that Escalante as hated by his fellow teachers. He rocked the boat and made it possible for students to succeed. If he was representative then why were there no success stories from his school before he arrived?

Jose, you are a moron, parroting liberal talking points without considering the truth of the matter. What passes for liberal caring for the disadvantaged is just providing them a hand out and presuming that they are incapable of really helping themselves and so therefore are to be perpetually kept on the dole.

In previous ages that would have been considered akin to slavery.

Yeah, Jim, can't stand all ... (Below threshold)
jose:

Yeah, Jim, can't stand all thos right-wing public-defenders, school-teachers, state university professors, trial court judges, and others who serve the poor through government everyday with nothing but contempt for their indentured clients.

What a rabid bunch of righties our public-service professionals are.

JOse, I have said nothing a... (Below threshold)
jim m:

JOse, I have said nothing about his religion or his birth. They are not germane to the discussion. I don't care where he was born.

He has not earned what he has, he has been given it. He has been given favor after favor because of his political ideology and his minority status. It is showing in his inability to govern effectively. He has shown amazing incompetence in handling foreign relations. He has demonstrated alarming ignorance of American history.

If you want to infer that anyone here is a birther go ahead. If you hang around long enough you will find very little tolerance for that kind of BS here.

"Who knew, raising the b... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Who knew, raising the bar gets results."

Of course, Garandfan. You never get better results by expecting less.

About eight years back, we were looking at what to do about the little guy's schooling. The elementary school we were zoned for was rated in the bottom third of the state. A couple of friends who were teachers in another school system advised us on good private schools in the area, and that's the route we went. As a fallback we found an area with a fairly well rated elementary school, and moved near that.

I've had folks tell me I needed to keep him in public school and work within the system to try to change it for the better. I don't have TIME to do that, nor the inclination to try to get a bunch of 'professionals' to do more than a barely adequate job. It costs us a chunk, but we're satisfied with the results so far.

OK, Jim. I see less of tha... (Below threshold)
jose:

OK, Jim. I see less of that here, and my language has been over the top.

I cannot understand calling somebody with Obama's acheivments an underacheiver, and the allegation by an unnamed professor that Obama wasn't even the L. Review editor contradicts history and is oddly not attributed to anyone and, most importantly, not supported by anyone of thousands of individuals who would know.

In that sense, it is of the same cloth as the birther/Muslim stuff.

"Government education is... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Government education is not without its successes. I think what is clearly demonstrated here is that Escalante is the exception and not the rule."

Jim M - based on what I saw during two years of maintaining classroom computers in a local school system, and what I heard from my friends, you've got it right. (Which was one MORE reason I was reluctant to put the little guy in public school.)

Jose,He is an unde... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Jose,

He is an underachiever in that he is the ultimate embodiment of the Peter Principle. He has been given positions that he did not earn and has demonstrated that he cannot perform up to what someone who did earn that position could do. He was a crappy teacher, he was a crappy legislator, he is currently a crappy president.

You may choose to deny that last but with Gallup saying that 50% of Americans believe that he does not deserve a second term, I'd say that you were holding the minority view on that one.

Jose really hates us too, d... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

Jose really hates us too, doesn't he? We are all just some cardboard cutout stereotype to him.

I never thought I'd miss when liberals used to go on about how nuanced they are.

One of the biggest threats ... (Below threshold)
Don L:

One of the biggest threats to liberal power is responsible and independent full-functioning *(without the aid of mother government) people. He was excoriated because he believed other wise.

In an earlier day and age they would have traded him in for a felon to do his teaching and crucified him!

"I never thought I'd mis... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"I never thought I'd miss when liberals used to go on about how nuanced they are."

The time for nuance is over. They're in power, seeing it's a lot more difficult than they thought it would be and are finding their pet theories aren't terribly functional in the real world.

Now it's time for projection.

I cannot unders... (Below threshold)
914:

I cannot understand calling somebody with Obama's acheivments an underacheiver

Ha ha ha, He left out "massive" before "underacthiever". Ha ha ha


OK, guys, someone needs to ... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

OK, guys, someone needs to fess up. jose is someone's idea of an April Fools joke, right??

I mean that just has to be a sock puppet of one of the regulars just trying to entertain us on April 1st, right??? Because if that's a real troll, then we are REALLY scraping the bottom of the troll barrel.

What's funniest is... (Below threshold)
Brett:
What's funniest is that Escalante's entire body of work is consistent with liberal policies of tolerance and giving to the poor. F-ing idiots, you people are proven self-serving and reversionist once again.

You, sir, are full of shit. Liberals don't want to "give to the poor" - they want to make everybody else "give to the poor" at the point of a gun. Never mind the fact that the liberal version of "giving" involves sending money to the government, have them skim 95% of it, and then "the poor" receiving 5 cents on the dollar. And never mind either the fact that handing money out out to people who then become dependent on it *has never helped anyone*. Conservatives want to help the poor, it's just that our kind of help actually allows people to get out of poverty permanently.

On the topic of "tolerance", your little spittle-filled diatribes today have said better than I could what "tolerance" means to a liberal.

Brett has a point. Libs wa... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Brett has a point. Libs want he government to give to the poor for hem. If libs really wanted to give to the poor they would be out there doing it.

If libs were so bent on helping poor kids get educated we wouldn't have teacher shortages in the inner cities. funny, there never seems to be a problem in the affluent suburbs finding teachers.

re: righties don't hear rea... (Below threshold)
Hank:

re: righties don't hear reason, they hear insults."

The liberal method of argument explained.

Conservatives beli... (Below threshold)
James H:
Conservatives believe if you give a man a fish he'll eat for today. Teach him how to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.

Liberals know if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for today and be back the next day for another fish.

No way in hell I'm teaching him how to fish. That's how I make my living! Instead, I'm going to flavor my fish with a mild hallucinogen, and he'll buy my high-priced fish every day!

I do believe you've got the... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

I do believe you've got the principle down solid, James!

What's gone almost complete... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

What's gone almost completely unreported, of course, is that Escalante, not surprisingly, was a staunch political conservative, who at one point was very close to joining the Bush administration's team as an educational consultant.

Excellent example of a libe... (Below threshold)
rightsaidfred:

Excellent example of a liberal teacher in action! The problem today with education is you get crazed right wingers in places like Texas, doing things like editing books to take out the parts they don't like.

Parts like evolution. God forbid our children learn the foundation of modern biology.

Here's to Jaime Escalante and more teachers like him. Who push hard against the dumbing down of scinece, math and America.




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