Jaime Escalante was born in La Paz, Bolivia in 1930. He taught mathematics in Bolivia until he immigrated to California in 1964. He worked menial jobs to support himself through his university studies to earn his teaching certificate in the state of California. In 1976, he was hired as a Math teacher at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. Due to his outstanding teaching skills, he motivated a small group of students to take the advanced placement test in Calculus. As depicted in the 1987 film "Stand and Deliver", the Educational Testing Service believed that in order for these students to have passed the exam, they must have cheated. All the students were reassessed and passed the exam again. By 1991, more than five hundred students at Garfield High School took advanced placement tests in Math and other subjects.
Among the many achievements and awards that Escalante received are the United States Presidential Medal and the Andrés Bello, awarded to him by the Organization of the United States. In 1997, he was named Honorary Chairman of the English for the Children campaign. Escalante opposed bilingual education in public schools, believing that immigrant children are hindered from advancing in the United States due to the inability to speak, read, and write proper English. During his years at Garfield High School, he managed to eliminate bilingual education.
On March 30, 2010, the United States said goodbye to one of the most inspirational educators our country has known. Jaime Escalante, an outstanding role model for educators and students, dedicated himself to quality education for all students. He was an expert in "ganas".
Click HERE to see the requirements for membership in the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, Capítulo Jaime Escalante.