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APRIL 2010

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Acclaimed CSU alum Jaime Escalante leaves math teaching legacy

Juan Sepulveda, Director of the White House Initiative on the Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

Jaime Escalante, CSULA Alum.

Math teacher Jaime Escalante, whose passion for teaching was featured in the movie Stand and Deliver, died, March 30. He was 79.

Escalante was an accomplished science and mathematics teacher in his native La Paz, Bolivia, before immigrating to the United States at the age of 33. After moving to Los Angeles, he returned to school and earned an AA degree at Pasadena City College and then a B.A. in mathematics at Cal State Los Angeles.

"Teaching at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, Escalante demonstrated that there are no unteachable students," said Jorge Haynes, senior director of external relations at the CSU system. "He succeeded in teaching AP Calculus to underserved students and inspired them to overcome an education environment of low expectations and apathy toward Latinos."

His success overcoming these odds was the theme of the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver. Edward James Olmos portrayed Escalante in the film and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

"His legacy is an inspiration for educators trying to instill a higher level of achievement and a college-going culture among underserved populations," Haynes said.

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