Person: Escalante, Jaime
Jaime Escalante was a high school mathematics teacher in both his native Bolivia and in the United States. He became famous when his students became so successful they were accused of cheating, leading to the 1988 film 'Stand and Deliver'.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- At this school Escalante developed a keen interest in mathematics and engineering.
- One of the teachers, however, was Humberto Bilbao who had taught Escalante at primary school.
- He involved Escalante in experiments which he loved.
- This disrupted Escalante's teacher training course and Bilbao found him a position as a mathematics teacher at the Bolívar National School and he also taught at the newly opened Gualberto Villarroel school.
- Escalante hesitated but in 1961 he took part in President Kennedy's 'Alliance for Progress' which was a ten year plan aimed at improving relations between the USA and Latin America.
- Escalante was promoted to cook at the coffee shop and was able to enrol in evening classes for an Associate Degree in mathematics and physics at the Pasadena City College.
- It was a tempting offer, but Escalante wanted to teach even though he understood that he would earn less than he would if he accepted Burroughs' offer.
- Escalante was interested in teaching in a Latino school.
- Escalante had three institutions to choose from: Belvedere School and two high schools, Roosevelt and Garfield in East Los Angeles, overwhelmingly populated by Hispanics.
- In May 1974, Jaime Escalante visited Garfield for the first time.
- When he looked at the pages of Escalante's curriculum, he realised that the professor had extensive knowledge of computers and was perfect for his project of implementing these courses.
- When Avilez asked Escalante if he would be a computer teacher for a new program developed here, and Escalante said, "Wonderful.
- Escalante began teaching at Garfield High School in the autumn term of 1974.
- As Escalante explained in this quote he began teaching Advanced Placement calculus in 1978 knowing that if just one student sat Advanced Placement calculus it would be an improvement on the previous year.
- Escalante's success as a teacher and the popularity of the film 'Stand and Deliver' led to jealousy among his colleagues, and Escalante received threats by letter.
- Escalante moved to become a teacher at Hiram W Johnson High School in Sacramento, California.
- By the mid-1990s, Escalante had a new campaign, namely to stop bilingual teaching in schools in California and have all lessons in English.
- Although the campaign to stop bilingual education in Californian schools was successful, Escalante made many enemies in the teaching association.
Born 31 December 1930, La Paz, Bolivia. Died 30 March 2010, Roseville, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive