Escalante: The Best Teacher in America

Jay Mathews, Author Henry Holt & Company $19.95 (322p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0450-2
In 1963, Jaime Escalante was one of the last Bolivian emigrees to enter the United States legally. A teacher in his native country, he spent the next 10 years scaling the hurdles of educational bureaucracy until, at age 43, he won a teaching position at Garfield High School in the barrio of East Los Angeles. There his ability to reach inner-city, Hispanic youths and motivate them to take demanding courses was pivotal in changing the image of the gang-dominated school. In telling the inspirational story of a teacher whose unorthodox methods bring results, Matthews, L.A. bureau chief of the Washington Post , takes us inside the lives of the students, many of them troubled and disadvantaged, and into the striving character of their mentor. National attention focused on Escalante in 1982 when his students were accused of cheating on a national AP calculus examination; a second testing removed major doubts. Escalante's story, the subject of the film Stand and Deliver , is testament that downward trends can be reversed. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Paperback - 978-0-8050-1195-1
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