Jaime Escalante was called a traitor for his opposition to bilingual education. He said the hate mail he received for championing Proposition 227, the successful 1998 ballot measure to dismantle bilingual programs in California, was a factor in his decision to retire that year after leaving Garfield, the High School through which Escalante gained national prominence when in 1982 a scandal surrounding 14 of his Garfield High School students who passed the Advanced Placement calculus exam, were accused of cheating.
At the age of 79, the man who inspired Latino youth in California to reach their full potential through mathematics and science, has died. Jaime Escalante was an immigrant from La Paz, Boliva and he became a teacher after doing what most Hispanic immigrants do in the U.S. from mopping floors to cook. He earned a scholarship to Cal State Los Angeles to pursue a teaching credential. In the fall of 1974, when he was 43, he took a pay cut to begin teaching at Garfield HS at a salary of $13,000.
Blanca Laureano of Vivir Latino writes, "In the spirit of radical and revolutionary teachers, I encourage each of us to take some time and remember a teacher/educator/tutor who has shaped our identity and our sense of self. In Escalante’s honor, please share your testimony with us."
While people on Twitter are all saddened by passing of Escalante.
@danaevigil - "RIP Jaime Escalante - Inspiration to many Latinos and educators for many years to come."
@stevejang - "RIP Jaime Escalante, the Best Teacher in America. He was a local hero in LA when I was in grade school."
@CorinaFiore - "RIP Jaime Escalante. A man who inspired me to do more, be better as a teacher. He taught me so much about education."
@ConnCAN - "Very sad to hear that Jaime Escalante, the teacher made famous by Stand & Deliver died - an original Ed reformer. We'll carry the fight on."
Prof. Escalante died today at 2:27 pm. in Reno, Nevada after battling cancer.
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