R.I.P. Jaime Escalante (1930-2010)

Published on Thursday, April 01, 2010 in , ,

Jaime EscalanteI was all set to do my standard April Fool's Day post for April 1st, when I got some bad news. Jaime Escalante has died.

Escalante was born in Bolivia, and first came to America in 1964. He came to prominence in 1982 when 18 of his students passed the Advanced Placement Calculus Exam. It was also this feat that resulted in Edward James Olmos portraying him in the now classic movie Stand and Deliver.

When asked, Escalante himself described the film as being 90% truth and 10% drama. The major points left out of the film, according to Escalante, were:

1) It took him several years to achieve the kind of success shown in the film.
2) In no case was a student who didn't know multiplication tables or fractions taught calculus in a single year.
3) Escalante suffered a gall-bladder attack, not a heart attack. This distinction was clouded over in the film.

I can think of no better tribute than to let Jaime Escalante himself explain what makes an effective teacher.

R.I.P. Jaime Escalante. You will be missed.

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