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Old 08-11-2013, 09:05 PM
 
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They always seem to learn that well. We need a few more teachers like Mr. Escalante "in the trenches" who are allowed to offer honest instruction.

That's right. He knew where he fit. He did it well. Where would those kids be if he opted for 'administration?' No doubt he could've made more there.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:52 AM
 
Location: St Louis, MO
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It is very easy to miss in the movie that the principal is just as big of a hero as Escalante.
Yes, Escalante dedicates himself to his job and pulls up students after months (in real life, years) of effort. But the principal is the one who gives him the space to do that.
And in the real life story, principal Henry Gradillas was the key to the program taking off. And though Escalante stayed on four years after Gradillas was ousted, the program declined every year after Gradillas left. That is the message that should have been in the movie and that administrators should get from the story. But the importance of the academically oriented and supportive principal is only a side plot that is mostly glossed over, and I suspect administrators do not pick up that message watching the movie.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:17 AM
 
Location: New York NY
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Great movie, even with the added Hollywood touches.

The big takeaway for me: Black, Latino, and poor students are consistently and routinely understimated in most public school classrooms. I've seen this happen in both poor urban and more affluent, racially mixed suburban districts. Escalante was a brilliant teacher who was left alone to do his thing over the years. But the critical insight is that he thought instilling top academic performance in his discipline COULD be done. IMO too few teachers and adminsitrators even think that way.

Of course he also had the advantage ot teaching math. For all sorts of reasons researchers have found that it is easier to raise academic performance in math than in reading/language. (Standardized test results at "successful" inner-city schools often show the same thing.) Still, his accomplishment was to show that these students do not have to be written off, which implicitly, is what many schools, teachers, and administrators do.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:12 AM
 
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But the critical insight is that he thought instilling top academic performance in his discipline COULD be done. IMO too few teachers and adminsitrators even think that way.
That surely was a very positive outlook on his art and Mr. Escalante (and the principal) executed it well. i thought the interesting things was they apparently had the 'key' unlock potential in their students. And perhaps that's where great success lies in the profession, i. e. springing free the talents that already in a sense live inside those who are being educated?
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:33 PM
 
Location: So Ca
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He certainly touched a lot of lives. When he died, there was an enormous turn out for his funeral. A remarkable man who came to this country in his early 30s, barely able to speak English, and held a job as a janitor while he took classes at Pasadena City College.
Jaime Escalante dies at 79; math teacher who challenged East L.A. students to 'Stand and Deliver' - Los Angeles Times
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:37 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Interestingly enough a VP referenced Escalante to me today while we were chatting about why my schedule has to be changed to accomodate a colleague who stops coming in at Halloween.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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There are a lot of educators who don't care about the politics of education, and do what they want. Nine times outta ten, they don't fit the picture the administration sees, and they find themselves relieved of their duties. Others leave voluntarily when they see that the options are playing politics, or forfeiting your job. I have no interest in playing politics, only in teaching. It's one of many reasons I will never work in a public school setting. Private institutions come with their own politics, but thus far, I've been able to choose places where I can do what I want, and not pay them much mind.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citylove101 View Post
For all sorts of reasons researchers have found that it is easier to raise academic performance in math than in reading/language. (Standardized test results at "successful" inner-city schools often show the same thing.)
Very, very, very true.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:28 PM
 
3,519 posts, read 4,368,324 times
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From the wiki:

Quote:
Escalante has described the film as "90% truth, 10% drama." He stated that several points were left out of the film:
  • It took him several years to achieve the kind of success shown in the film.
  • In no case was a student who didn't know multiplication tables or fractions taught calculus in a single year.
  • Escalante suffered inflammation of the gall bladder, not a heart attack.
He taught from 1974-1991 a very different time. I started teaching in 1999 and it is a completely different profession from then till now. I can only imagine how much it has changed since he taught.

I read a long time ago and I cannot source it, so take it or leave it, that Escalante commented on the discipline (I'm pretty sure it was discipline) issues faced by schools since he left the profession and stated that he could not teach and have the same success in the environment that he was currently observing.

The problem with these movies is that the public eats up the Hollywood rendition of what it's like to be a teacher and they think, "if only we could find teachers who care. You know...like Jaime Escalante." 'Cuz, you know, we don't really care, or have the appropriate amount of background knowledge, or whatever silly dialogue is in vogue.
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Old 08-13-2013, 11:29 AM
 
3,283 posts, read 5,249,912 times
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there quite a bit of attrition from this "program"? If so, that tells me that there was a significant buy-in necessary from the students, as well. In fact, this seems very similar to the cream-skimming that goes on in some charter and private schools that then turn around and claim to be performing miracles. Makes for a great story, but if looked at only superficially it will present an inaccurate portrayal of reality.
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