100% All-Natural Composition
No Artificial Intelligence!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jaime Escalante has passed away

The sad news is coming out of California today that Jaime Escalante has died at the age of 79, following a battle with cancer.

Escalante, originally from La Paz, Bolivia, was a teacher of math and physics in his own country for many years before coming to the United States. When he got here he could speak no English, began taking night classes to earn degrees in biology and calculus, and eventually received credentials to begin teaching in California.

And that's where Jaime Escalante's life really began to get interesting. After accepting a position at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, Escalante - appalled at how the school taught very little in the way of higher mathematics - took it upon himself to challenge the students at Garfield to take an advanced placement calculus course. Eventually the students proceeded to blow away darn nearly everybody's expectations of them and with each successive year Garfield High began consistently outpacing most other schools in the state of California. In 1988 Jaime Escalante's story was made into the hit movie Stand and Deliver, with Edward James Olmos playing Escalante.

This dude was everything that the art of teaching is supposed to be about. As some have noted, Escalante took gang members and turned them into aerospace engineers.

Farewell Mr. Escalante. And thank you for sharing your ganas with us.


Jesse Torres said...

I attended the memorial service this morning at Garfield High School. Photos from the event can be found at http://www.bit.ly/pab-facebook.

It was a very nice but brief event that attracted major media attention. Perhaps the loss of this tremendous teaching legend will inspire the next generation of Jaime Escalantes to arrive in East Los Angeles.

Jesse Torres
President and CEO
Pan American Bank
East Los Angeles, CA 90063
"California's Oldest Latino-Owned Bank"