||"The day someone quits school he is
condemning himself to a future of poverty"
+ Discipline +
Hard Work = Way to Success"
Jaime Escalante was born in La Paz, Bolivia.
While in Bolivia he taught Physics and Mathematics for fourteen years. In 1964 he decided
to migrate to the United States. His first stop was the Universidad de Puerto Rico, where
he took some Science and Mathematics courses. After moving from Puerto Rico to California,
he found himself not knowing how to speak English, and without any teaching credentials.
Despite the odds against him, he studied at nights at the Pasadena City College earning a
degree in Electronics. He then took a day job, and continued studying in order to get a
In 1976 he began teaching at Garfield High School, in east
Los Angeles, California, where drugs, gangs and violence were facts of daily life. Despite
these obstacles, Escalante was able to motivate a small group of students to take, and
pass the AP calculus exam in 1982. The Educational Testing Service, which administers the
test, invalidated the scores, believing that the students had cheated. Most of the 18
pupils retook the test and passed, making Escalante a national hero almost overnight.
By 1991, the number of Garfield students taking advanced
placement examinations in math and other subjects had increased to 570. That was the year
Escalante left the school, citing faculty politics and petty jealousies. He was hired by
the Sacramento school system almost instantly. The district pays his salary, but the
National Science Foundation, the Atlantic Richfield Co. and the Foundation for
Advancements in Science and Education underwrite much of his equipment and special
Today, Jaime Escalante is considered one of the most famous
educators in the United States. He was the subject of the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver,
which dramatized his efforts to help underachieving Latino students beat the odds and pass
an advanced placement calculus test. This splendid semi-documentary on the life of ghetto
school teacher Jaime Escalante (played by Edward James Olmos) has already become one of
the classic films about American education. As a result of its faithfulness to life, the
film is a profound tribute to the positive impact a good teacher can make.
In recognition of his incredible achievements, Escalante was
awarded the United States Presidential Medal and the Andres Bello award by the
Organization of American States.
References (Melanie Cole,
"Escalante Tech", Hispanic, 11-30-1994, p .* "Stand and Deliver",
Magill's Survey of Cinema, 06-15-1995. * Gary Libman, "Success Keeps Multiplying for
Jaime Escalante"; Home Edition, Los Angeles Times, 05-23-1995, pp E-1. * Roberto
Bustamante, "Jaime Escalante el maestro de todos los tiempos", El Diario/La
M. Núñez del Prado
Simón I. Patiño