Jaime  Escalante

Retired Mathematics Teacher
Granite Bay, California
Total years as a classroom teacher 33 (24 years in the USA, 9years in Bolivia)

Jaime Escalante was born in La Paz, Bolivia, to two teachers who
worked in a small Aymara Indian village. After 9 years of teaching in
Bolivia, Escalante moved to the United States and worked as a busboy, a
cook, and an electronics factory technician while earning teaching
credentials and a degree in mathematics.

He is the host of an instructional television series on PBS,
“Futures,”which introduces students to a variety of math and
science-based careers. It is the most popular classroom program in the
history of PBS and has been honored with more than 50 awards from
educational and professional organizations, including the highest honor
in the broadcasting field, the George Foster Peabody Award.

A 1988 book, “Escalante: The Best Teacher in America,” provided an
account of his life. The 1988 film, “Stand and Deliver,” illustrated his
1982 struggle. His students tested so high in the rigorous Advanced
Placement exams that they were suspected of cheating by the Educational
Testing Service, which didn’t believe that poor barrio students had the
ability to pass any college- level test.

He believes in helping students find in themselves ganas, a desire
that must emerge from within, which allows them to overcome all
barriers.

“Today, I continue to enjoy successes which I can attribute to one
powerful lesson I learned from Mr. Escalante: ‘You can do anything you
want to, its easy, the hardest part is that you have to believe you can
do it, the rest is a piece of cake.'” –Steve Robles, former student,
vice president, La Curacao

“What is most remarkable about Jaime is that even as his ‘fame’ grew,
he never lost sight of his underlying purpose: working to have children
believe in their ability to achieve at the highest levels and providing
them with the instruction they needed to succeed.” –Rudolph F. Crew,
Chancellor, Board of Education of the City of New York

Education

1955

University Mayor de San Andres, teaching credential in mathematics

1969

Associate of Arts, Pasadena City College

1972

Bachelor of Arts in mathematics, Cal State University at Los Angeles

1974

standard teaching credential, Cal State University at Los Angeles

Teaching Experience

1954-63

(10-12) mathematics, physics, La Paz, Bolivia

1974-91

(10-12) calculus, trig, algebra, LA Unified School District

1983-91

Calculus, East LA Community College

1991-98

(10-12) algebra, calculus, Sacramento Unified School District

Special Recognition

1998

Honorary Doctor of Humane letters

1998

Free Spirit Award Freedom Forum

1998

Andres Bello prize, Organization of American States

1998

Presidential Medal for Excellence

1990

Honorary Doctor of Education

1990

Honorary Doctor of the Humanities

1989

Honorary Doctor of Science

1989

Honorary Doctor of Humanities