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Transcript of Jaime Escalante
by Taylor Jackson
Escalante offered to teach AP Calculus
He was in constant opposition with the school administration - especially the assistant principals
Always threatened to fire him
Always complained that Jaime came too early and left too late
Couldn't find the funds to pay for the students' AP tests
The opposition changed with the arrival of the new principal of Garfield High, Henry Gradillas.
Gradillas let Escalante stay as a math teacher
Reduced the number of remidial math courses and required everyone to take basic math and eventually algebra
Restricted those who didn't maintain a C average or didn't pass the basic skills test from extracurricular activities.
The nation first heard about Jaime Escalante when 18 of his students passed the AP Calculus test in 1982
The Educational Testing Service accused his students of cheating because they all used the same variables and got the same questions wrong. Jaime protested because he belived that they were being investegated because his students were Hispanics and came from a poor school.
14 of the 18 students were asked to take it again.
12 of the 14 retook the test and passed it again.
After the national exposure, more and more students were enrolled in AP Calc at Garfield High School
In 1983, 33 of his students took the test and 30 passed the AP Calc exam
Garfield High School
He began teaching at Garfield High School (in East Los Angeles) in 1974.
Garfield was on the verge of losing their accreditation
He taught math to the troubled youth
At first, he was so discouraged by the lack of his students preparation that he has his old boss for his old job back
He eventually changed his mind then found 12 students willing to take his algebra class
Early Professional Career
Escalante always taught his students that they could control their futures with education
He made his courses interesting by stating that "fun jobs" in engineering, computers, and other electronics needed math.
"I'll teach you math and that's your language. With that you're going to make it. You're going to college and sit in the first row, not the back, because you're going to know more than anybody".
He was able to teach his first Calculus class in 1978
Jaime Alfonso Escalante Gutierrez
Born: December 31st, 1930 in La Paz, Bolivia
Died: March 30th, 2010 in Roseville, California
Son of two teachers
One of the most influential educators in America from the 1980s - 1990s
Taught math and physics in Bolivia for 12 years
Immigrated into the United States in the 1960s.
After immigrating, he had to work a lot of odd jobs, teach himself how to speak English and earn another college degree so he could teach.
Stand and Deliver (1982)
90% truth and 10% drama
Escalante: The Best Teacher in America
Most of Jaime Escalante's students who passed the AP tests, were accepted into the University of Southern California
Even those who did not pass the AP exam studied at California State University, Los Angeles.
Escalante's math program continued to grow, however tensions at Garfield were still evident.
Although his lost his department chairmanship in 1990, his enrichment program grew to over 400 students
50 students per class
By 1991, Garfield had 570 students in AP Classes
Escalante received lots of hate male and death threats (a lot of his collegues were jealous) which would lead to his resignation from the high school.
Later Life and Death
Strong supporter of the English- Only campaign in the mid 1990s
He moved back to Bolivia in 2001 and taught part-time at a local university
Only came back to the US to visit his students
He moved back to California with his son in Sacramento and taught at Hiram Johnson High School and died in his sons home while being treated for bladder cancer.
Jaime Escalante was well deserving of the title of most influential educators in America. Being a product of the Los Angeles Unified School District, I know first hand how difficult it is to make a change in the school system. Jaime Escalante pushed the intellectual barriers of his students and made them believe that they had the ability to learn just like anyone else.
What did I learn? I had no idea that he was an avid supporter of the English - Only campaign. Being a bilingual man himself, I was shocked that he would be so against teaching classes in both Spanish and English. I wasn't so surprised that the hate mail he received was a response for his support of the English - Only Campaign.
"Jaime Escalante." 2014. The Biography.com website. Apr 27 2014 http://www.biography.com/people/jaime-escalante-189368.
Lopez, Robert J. "Legendary East L.A. Math Teacher Jaime Escalante Dies at 79 [Updated]." - Latimes.com. N.p., 30 Mar. 2010. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.