We’re sad to hear about the passing of Jaime Escalante, the visionary teacher who transformed a tough East Los Angeles high school by pushing and inspiring struggling inner-city students to master advanced math. An immigrant from Bolivia, Escalante’s story was immortalized in the hit 1988 film Stand and Deliver. He died yesterday at age 79 after a long battle with cancer.
Actor Edward James Olmos was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Escalante in Stand and Deliver.
“Jaime exposed one of the most dangerous myths of our time — that inner city students can’t be expected to perform at the highest levels,” Olmos told the Associated Press. “Because of him, that destructive idea has been shattered forever.”
NPR features a poignant tribute to the late teacher by education correspondent Claudio Sanchez, as well as remembrances from his former students. And below is a great video of Escalante explaining what it takes to become a great educator.