Jaime Escalante, who inspired 'Stand and Deliver,' dies
Jaime Escalante, the Los Angeles high school teacher who inspired hundreds of students and the movie "Stand and Deliver," has died.
Escalante died Tuesday (March 30) after fighting cancer for several years. He was 79 years old.
Born in Bolivia, where he earned a degree at the state teachers college, Escalante came to the United States in 1963 and worked a series of jobs before earning a teaching credential and joining the faculty at Garfield High School in East L.A. in 1974.
When he arrived, according to several accounts, he was dismayed to see that the school was teaching its students -- mostly working-class Mexican-American kids -- a watered-down math curriculum. He eventually started teaching more advanced classes, including Advanced Placement calculus, and pushing his students to work and learn more through extra hours before and after school and on weekends.
In 1982, 18 of his students took the AP calculus exam, and all of them passed -- only to have the testing service invalidate their scores on suspicion of cheating. The students retook the test and passed again.
The incident became the centerpiece of "Stand and Deliver," which starred Edward James Olmos as Escalante.
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