Jaime Escalante has a steady job but left it for a lowly position math teacher at James A. Garfield High School. Knowing that the school is where rebellion runs high and teachers are more focused on discipline than in academics, he is determined to change the system and challenge the students to soar high in excellence. Of course, the students will not like a teacher who engages them in the things they don’t like. But as days passed, Escalante was able to convince the students and got their attention by adopting unconventional teaching methods and conveying the necessity of math in everyday living. He successfully instilled in the mind of his students that all use math everyday. With his determination and perseverance, he was able to turn gang members, no-hopers, and even the most troublesome teens into dedicated students who are ready to learn.
The school board has low expectations on the students and the teachers even called them illiterates. But Jaime Escalante didn’t listen to the concerns and skepticism of his colleagues. Instead, he realized that his students are capable of more than the expectations and criticisms thrown to them. He developed a math program which requires the students to take summer classes, including Saturdays, so that they can rise4 to take AP Calculus in their senior year. While taking the summer classes, the students came to struggle in balancing other adults’ expectations and the goals and ambitions they hold for themselves. They gradually came to realize that the only way to escape their own poverty-stricken barrio is to improve themselves intellectually. With Escalante to help them, they’ve found the courage to rise to the standard of success.
The students took the AP Calculus exam in the spring of their senior year. The class’ academic achievements soar dramatically for they all passed the exam. But their achievement was put into question and the Educational Testing Service accused that they have... [continues]
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