Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RIP, Jaime Escalante

'Stand and Deliver' teacher dies of cancer

Back in high school, my calculus teacher showed that movie repeatedly to get us ready for the AP test.

Update: This Reason article from 2002 is worthwhile reading for background on Escalante's accomplishments in the classroom. That he was a devoted and innovative educator is beyond dispute. However, there are plenty of dedicated teachers who experience a far smaller measure of success. As the article notes,
It is less well-known that Escalante left Garfield [High School] after problems with colleagues and administrators, and that his calculus program withered in his absence. That untold story highlights much that is wrong with public schooling in the United States and offers some valuable insights into the workings -- and failings -- of our education system.

In short, Escalante's success depended in large part on the freedom his administration gave him to craft his program. Once that freedom was restricted, the program suffered.


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