×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Stand and Deliver Teacher Jaime Escalante Dies

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the national-hero dept.

Education 389

DesScorp writes "Jaime Escalante, the math teacher portrayed in the hit '80s movie Stand and Deliver, has died of cancer at age 79. Escalante is legendary for creating the advanced math 'pipeline' program at Garfield High in East Los Angeles in the '70s and '80s, an area populated mostly by poorer Hispanic families. Escalante's students eventually outpaced even richer schools in advanced placement tests for calculus. Escalante refused to accept excuses from his students or community about why they couldn't succeed, and demanded a standard of excellence from them, defying the notion that poor Hispanic kids just weren't capable of advanced work. While Escalante became a celebrity because of the hit movie about his efforts, jealousy from other teachers ... as well as red tape from teacher's unions and the public school bureaucracy, resulted in Escalante and his hand-picked teachers leaving Garfield. Since his departure, Garfield has never replicated Escalante's success with math students, and Reason Magazine reported on the shameful way in which others tore down what Escalante and his teachers worked so hard to build."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

389 comments

Truly (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | about 4 years ago | (#31689974)

Truly an American icon. Or at least a Mexican one.

Re:Truly (5, Interesting)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | about 4 years ago | (#31690008)

Yes, my cousin Juana was one of his students, indirectly. She went on to major in math at Cal and ended up graduating magna cum laude. Whenever you ask her about her academic career, the first person she points to is Escalante.

Re:Truly (4, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#31690048)

Juana tell us more about her and her experiences in Escalante's class?

Re:Truly (1)

srussia (884021) | about 4 years ago | (#31690350)

Juana tell us more about her and her experiences in Escalante's class?

Hey B.A.G., that was a pun not an analogy. Maybe you should expand your nick to BadTropeGuy.

Re:Truly (5, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#31690342)

one thing that caught by eye:

Open Enrollment. Escalante did not approve of programs for the gifted, academic tracking, or even qualifying examinations. If students wanted to take his classes, he let them.

His open-door policy bore fruit. Students who would never have been selected for honors classes or programs for the gifted chose to enroll in Escalante's math enrichment classes and succeeded there.

it hints perhaps that the drive to try is far more important than natural ability.

Re:Truly (1)

d3matt (864260) | about 4 years ago | (#31690422)

My wife got into the better SAT prep courses at her high school by forcing her way in (there was some entry test she didn't quite pass). I'm glad she did because she was national merit!

Advanced classes should always be easy to get into!

Re:Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690520)

My wife got into the better SAT prep courses at her high school by forcing her way in

How? With physical force? Is she big and intimidating?

Re:Truly (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#31690034)

Truly an American icon. Or at least a Mexican one.

I think he was Bolivian maybe.

Re:Truly (2, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about 4 years ago | (#31690134)

Technically, Mexico and Bolivia are both American.

And as we all know, "technically correct" is the best kind.

Re:Truly (1, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#31690224)

Technically, Mexico and Bolivia are both American.

But Mexico is not Bolivia. That was my only point.

Re:Truly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690284)

Technically, Mexico and Bolivia are both American.

But Mexico is not Bolivia. That was my only point.

So fucking what. One's full of wetbacks and the other is full of spics. I'M NOT SEEING A MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE HERE.

Re:Truly (2, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#31690318)

So fucking what. One's full of wetbacks and the other is full of spics. I'M NOT SEEING A MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE HERE.

That doesn't speak highly of your intelligence.

Re:Truly (4, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#31690152)

He was from Bolivia. Hispanic != Mexican.

Re:Truly (1, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 4 years ago | (#31690316)

But he educated the Hispanic poor community, which is why he would be an icon for them.

St. Patrick wasn't Irish, but is definitely an Irish icon.

Re:Truly (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690516)

I think Carlos Mencias pointed this out before. If you are hispanic and live in L.A. you are Mexican.

Re:Truly (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690836)

Someone else probably said that first.

Rest in peace. (4, Insightful)

gambit3 (463693) | about 4 years ago | (#31689990)

I'm going to cry. Really.
I had the blessing to meet Mr. Escalante just a few months ago, before he was diagnosed with cancer. What a wonderful, wonderful man.

They should name schools after people like him.

Re:Rest in peace. (4, Interesting)

Cytotoxic (245301) | about 4 years ago | (#31690104)

One would think so. But if you read the fine article from Reason magazine, you'll see why that will never happen - at least not the public schools. In fact, the school he transformed worked very hard to undo all of his good works. Quite successfully too. Apparently, all evidence of math and calculus prowess and teacher competence have been eradicated at Garfield since he was pushed out.

Re:Rest in peace. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690238)

Yeah, but Reason magazine is one of those pseudo-libertarian GOP shilling rags.

Not to say that the article is wrong or its information is false; just that people interested in rational, fact-based inquiry would want to see the information confirmed by another source.
Preferably, not another right wing bullshit factory.

Re:Rest in peace. (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 4 years ago | (#31690546)

So it'd be better if it came from a pseudo-communist Democratic shilling rags?

Reason has been named one of the best english language magazines twice in the last 10 years.

I work in K-12 education and have for the last 15 years, sorry to burst your bubble but it takes a moderate or right-wing news source to critically look at public education, the Unions and administration. Reason will look at it, so might the Atlantic but the New York Times sure isn't going to.

Re:Rest in peace. (2, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#31690682)

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/obama-takes-on-the-teacher-unions/

Oh really? [nytimes.com]

From the first paragraph:

President Obama gets an A+ for his education speech just now. He made all the traditional and necessary points that one would expect a progressive Democrat to make — such as the crucial necessity of more early childhood programs — but he also added elements that will make teachers’ unions uncomfortable. And, frankly, that’s terrific. The Democratic Party has been too close to the unions for too long, and their interest is not precisely the same as the students’. The unions would be failing their members if they didn’t cry foul when bad teachers were pushed out, but that’s what we need more of. Education reform is going to mean challenging the unions, and Obama signaled that that’s what he plans to do.

And that's not really the only opinion piece you can find from the New York Times that is critical of the teacher's unions.

Re:Rest in peace. (1, Troll)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 4 years ago | (#31690774)

Opinion peace isn't the same as the organization going after an entity.

Maybe the NYT is moderate enough to be critical, I just tossed up an example. Didn't have time to look further cause I'm at an Education conference ;)

Re:Rest in peace. (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 years ago | (#31690446)

I disagree with the slant of the article that this is a scandal. Have the Chicago Bulls been just as good without Jordan? Of course not. Special people are special. You are lucky when you get them, but most of the time you have to work around not having them.

Re:Rest in peace. (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | about 4 years ago | (#31690550)

I disagree with the slant of the article that this is a scandal. Have the Chicago Bulls been just as good without Jordan? Of course not. Special people are special. You are lucky when you get them, but most of the time you have to work around not having them.

When you don't have those special people because they were driven out without good cause... then yes, it's scandal.

Re:Rest in peace. (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#31690814)

I disagree with the slant of the article that this is a scandal. Have the Chicago Bulls been just as good without Jordan? Of course not. Special people are special. You are lucky when you get them, but most of the time you have to work around not having them.

I think this gentleman and John Taylor Gatto have a lot in common [cantrip.org]. The "special" thing about Gatto is his ability to see a spade and call it a spade [johntaylorgatto.com] instead of getting lost in all of the justifications and excuses. This one-line summary in no way does justice to either of the above-linked works, but Gatto went to some of the poorest inner-city schools in some of the worst neighborhoods and found that the children there were eager and very able learners once you stopped treating them like idiots. You'd think the school systems would appreciate anyone who can demonstrate that, but they didn't.

So I think your analogy to the Chicago Bulls doesn't really work. The Bulls experienced a particularly outstanding individual but presumably, all the other players would have wanted to attain that level of talent. The school systems are experiencing problems that are institutional and profoundly anti-educational. I don't believe the problem with schools is funding or ability. I think the problem is that they are not really interested in improving their methods or looking too closely at their results.

Re:Rest in peace. (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 4 years ago | (#31690240)

I'm going to cry. Really. I had the blessing to meet Mr. Escalante just a few months ago, before he was diagnosed with cancer. What a wonderful, wonderful man.

They should name schools after people like him.

One of my math teachers from high school was a huge fan of the movie and Mr. Escalante's work. So much that he even inspired me with his joy of teaching... to win the regional math competition; as my reward was a free pass to sleep through his class the rest of the semester.

Needless to say I caught up on a lot of sleep during those days...

Re:Rest in peace. (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | about 4 years ago | (#31690454)

They should name schools after people like him.

Sure, whatever. Name whatever you want.

What they REALLY should do is stop dumbing down the curriculum and "passing" ever-crappier performance, and follow the methods he used (no more excuses, no more "but it's hard why should I learn" bullcrap). Set the bar high and the kids will reach for it, set the bar low and kids will nap.

Re:Rest in peace. (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | about 4 years ago | (#31690662)

Step one is holding students (and teachers) accountable, which requires convincing everyone involved (students, parents, teachers, administrators) that it's a good idea. Good luck with that, let me know how it goes.

Once you get that taken care of, then you can worry about setting the bar higher. While a single teacher might be able to take both steps at once (Escalante prooves this can work, for a time), reforming an entire institution requires baby steps.

Re:Rest in peace. (2, Informative)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 4 years ago | (#31690488)

This is from the Washington Post article:

... In retirement, he divided his time between California and Bolivia, where he complained that several schools were named after him but had given him no money for the rights.

One reason why they usually wait until someone dies to name something after the person.

As an aside, Purdue University was named after John Purdue, and not only did the state of Indiana not pay him anything for the name, he had to bequeath many acres of land to get them to put his name on it.

Re:Rest in peace. (2, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#31690728)

Or instead of wasting time and resources on trivial things like naming and renaming schools (does the name of the school really mean anything?) they should instead be working to foster more teachers like Escalante.

To hell with those who won't better themselves. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690014)

To hell with those people who won't voluntarily better themselves.

If you don't continually strive to do better on your own, then that's your problem and you should be shunned by everyone who can take a little bit of initiative and learn things on their own.

Like this incident shows, the issue in this case, and many others, isn't about the people being stupid. It's about them just not caring enough about themselves to improve their situation.

Re:To hell with those who won't better themselves. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690128)

To hell with them? No, to hell with social Darwinism.

Re:To hell with those who won't better themselves. (3, Interesting)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | about 4 years ago | (#31690174)

His case is an interesting one in the Nature vs. Nurture argument. He showed that, by nature, inner city hispanic kids were just as capable at advanced studies as anyone else -- it simply required a mixture of blasting the old nurture ("You'll never be good enough to be something like an engineer, so why don't you just open a restaurant, work construction, or run a shop?") with discipline, attention, expectation, and teaching.

Re:To hell with those who won't better themselves. (3, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | about 4 years ago | (#31690230)

Escalante's example is nearly opposite of what you're proposing. It's about someone caring enough about OTHERs and improving their situation dramatically.

You on the other hand are barking up the "people should just help themselves" tree.

Re:To hell with those who won't better themselves. (1)

DesScorp (410532) | about 4 years ago | (#31690512)

Escalante's example is nearly opposite of what you're proposing. It's about someone caring enough about OTHERs and improving their situation dramatically.

You on the other hand are barking up the "people should just help themselves" tree.

But while he personally sacrificed to help others... he could have made a lot more money had he stayed at Burroughs... he in fact did very much demand that his students take personal initiative. He wasn't a raging Libertarian or anything, but he DID expect a large sense of personal responsibility from his students.

Re:To hell with those who won't better themselves. (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#31690826)

You can't force people to learn. Escalante's gift was his power to inspire others to improve their own education. He didn't do the work for them -- he just convinced them that he believed they could do it, and that it was worthwhile. Let's not kid ourselves; these kids worked their asses off to pass the Calculus AP exam. They couldn't have been so successful if it wasn't the most important thing in their lives at that time. The ability to make people believe in a better future through hard work -- that seems to be a element that is sadly lacking in the current Republican talking points.

Re:To hell with those who won't better themselves. (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#31690234)

People tend to live up to other people's expectations. Teachers don't expect Black and Hispanic students to do well. Yes, ultimately people are responsible for their own success or failure, but it doesn't help when you've got teachers telling young kids "It doesn't matter if you do your homework or not -- we'll promote you anyway" (and yes, my ethnic daughter was actually told this by her teacher -- the same teacher that threatened to sue me for complaining she wasn't doing her job.)

Re:To hell with those who won't better themselves. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690464)

People tend to live up to other people's expectations.

More than that, people tend to live down to other people's expectations too.

Yeah haters, this *is* News for Nerds (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | about 4 years ago | (#31690062)

He was played in a movie by the guy from Blade Runner *and* Battlestar Galactica.

Re:Yeah haters, this *is* News for Nerds (5, Informative)

d1r3lnd (1743112) | about 4 years ago | (#31690140)

Also, some of you might have a passing interest in mathematics.

Public schools (4, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | about 4 years ago | (#31690078)

It's no wonder he got lots of resistance against his peers, administration and teachers union. Public schools are not about education, its about creating dumbed down automatons who are easily controlled.

"I don't want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers." [deliberate...ngdown.com] - John D. Rockefeller

Re:Public schools (0)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31690326)

It's no wonder he got lots of resistance against his peers, administration and teachers union. Public schools are not about education, its about creating dumbed down automatons who are easily controlled.

Did you go to public schools? If so it's sad that you consider yourself a dumbed down automaton who is easily controlled. If you didn't, how would you know what public schools are like?

Re:Public schools (1)

Kashell (896893) | about 4 years ago | (#31690418)

I agree with the grandparent, and I went to public schools.

The teachers were so bad, so unenthusiastic, and the curriculum so dumb, that I decided by my 10th grade year to sleep during school and learn on my own at home.

Thank god for the internet, or I would have never had the education that I decided to take for myself.

Re:Public schools (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31690614)

I went to public schools (and underfunded NYC public schools at that) up to and including university and I received an excellent education.

Re:Public schools (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#31690840)

I went to public school. I didn't learn anything in school that I didn't already know until I was at university.

Agreed, schools are for dumbing us down (2, Interesting)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 4 years ago | (#31690378)

So true. And it's sad your post got modded down as Troll, since you are 100% right on, and whoever did that is probably caught up in the ideology behind monstrosity that is modern schooling (of course, most private schools are little better). Escalante failed to make large changes and was taken down by the institution because, ultimately, he was doing what should not be done in schools -- get poor people to think and climb out of their assigned class in life. More supportive links:

Gatto:
    "Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling"
    http://www.amazon.com/Dumbing-Down-Curriculum-Compulsory-Schooling/dp/086571231X [amazon.com]
    http://www.newciv.org/whole/schoolteacher.txt [newciv.org]
    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/16a.htm [johntaylorgatto.com]
"""
Before you can reach a point of effectiveness in defending your own children or your principles against the assault of blind social machinery, you have to stop conspiring against yourself by attempting to negotiate with a set of abstract principles and rules which, by its nature, cannot respond. Under all its disguises, that is what institutional schooling is, an abstraction which has escaped its handlers. Nobody can reform it. First you have to realize that human values are the stuff of madness to a system; in systems-logic the schools we have are already the schools the system needs; the only way they could be much improved is to have kids eat, sleep, live, and die there.
"""

Illich:
    http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-illic.htm [infed.org]
    http://reactor-core.org/deschooling.html [reactor-core.org]

John Holt:
    http://www.holtgws.com/ [holtgws.com]

Collections of links by me on this:
    http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-October/005379.html [listcultures.org]
    http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-November/005584.html [listcultures.org]
    http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-November/006005.html [listcultures.org]

Why not just give the school money directly to the parents as they see fit to take care of their children? One proposal (by me):
    http://www.pdfernhout.net/towards-a-post-scarcity-new-york-state-of-mind.html [pdfernhout.net]

Re:Public schools (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#31690392)

Obviously, the answer to the problem of owning class people gaming the system in their favor is to do away with all government oversight of the owning class, and sell the government to them wholesale. Because, if we had an unregulated free market, all the little mom and pop operations would rise up against their corporate masters and we would immediately have a free and fair market in everything. Obviously, the government is not protecting the little guy from the owning class, they are keeping the little guy down for the owning class.

But wait, if all that is true, why is it the owning class telling us this? Why are the rich leading the charge to get rid of government regulations? Are they trying to use reverse psychology on us or something?

Re:Public schools (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 4 years ago | (#31690642)

Ah, good to know you can always be counted on to defend the forces that tore down Escalante's progress. Just what I expected.

(Hint: The ruling class isn't leading the charge to bring meaningful improvements to schools ... just ask Congress.)

Re:Public schools (1)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#31690862)

How am I defending "the forces that tore down Escalante's progress?" I think you suffer from reading comprehension problems.

Did you miss the quote I was responding to?

It's no wonder he got lots of resistance against his peers, administration and teachers union. Public schools are not about education, its about creating dumbed down automatons who are easily controlled.

"I don't want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers." [deliberate...ngdown.com] - John D. Rockefeller

It isn't the government that benefits from churning out uneducated drones, it is the owning class. I never said the owning class was leading the charge to bring meaningful change to schools, I said the opposite. The owning class wants uneducated drones, and they are arrogant enough to come right out and say it.

Re:Public schools (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 4 years ago | (#31690872)

>Because, if we had an unregulated free market, all the little mom and pop operations would rise up against their corporate masters and we would immediately have a free and fair market in everything.

Or ,you know, what would actually happen. Big companies would crush these little nobodies by selling with major losses until they go broke or other dirty tricks that are banned by regulation.

Its hilarious that you believe all regulation exists to further the largest companies and that a free market is a solution to all our economic woes. There's no such thing as a free market, its a fiction that is only able to exists because of government regulation else it becomes fraud and abuse central where only the biggest players win.

Way to miss my point completely, dude (2, Informative)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#31690908)

You, uh, might want to reread my post. Don't just stop when you begin to get angry at what you think I'm saying. Read the last paragraph.

Exactly (1)

DesScorp (410532) | about 4 years ago | (#31690426)

I don't quite understand why you're being modded troll when critics of the system from both right and left agree that public schools aren't so much focused on education as they are on producing "useful people"... to employers, government, etc. As much as conservative groups support things like charter schools, minority families... traditionally loyal Democratic voters... support them even more, because despite ever increasing dollars on public schools, the public system isn't getting it done with their kids. Washington D.C. schools spend more per pupil than just about anywhere else, and yet have among the worst scores and graduation rates.

Re:Public schools (3, Insightful)

edittard (805475) | about 4 years ago | (#31690486)

"I don't want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers." - John D. Rockefeller

He's still calling the shots, is he? Plutocrats are bad enough, but zombie plutocrats is just going too far.

Re:Public schools (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 4 years ago | (#31690740)

You go too far when you claim that schools are for producing "dumbed down automatons." Nowhere is that a consensus.

There is a tension. The establishment recognizes that we need brilliant thinkers or our country will be outmatched by others. On the other hand, it wants docile creatures.

The real problem is that most teachers are useless--in the extreme.

Re:Public schools (4, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 4 years ago | (#31690838)

>>Public schools are not about education, its about creating dumbed down automatons who are easily controlled.

You know it's funny. I work teaching teachers technology, and I can't recall ever hearing a teacher say they really wished their kids would all be dumbed down automatons. Instead, you hear them all sharing positive stories about a kid that gets engaged with the subject matter and starts thinking on his own. Except for some really burned out teachers, this is pretty much universally true. They ALL want kids interested in a subject, capable of critical and independent thought, and being successful in life (ideally by going to college).

Now - inter-teacher rivalries and jealousies? Sure, I'll believe in that explanation as to why they undid the program at Garfield. But losing your entire cadre of teachers trained in his method probably had more to do with it than anything.

The only bit that I will agree with you in this regard is that schools tend to be very socially conservative institutions (by this I don't mean politically conservative, like Republicans, but rather resistant to change). AAA teachers tend to get kicked out of the system. I had Jan Gabay as my English teacher for the 9th and 12th grades - she was Teacher of the Year for the entire country in 1990-something, did a year traveling the country speaking on teaching, went back to Serra High for a couple years, and has since quit public schools to teach at the UC San Diego Charter School.

I also had Rick Halsey (IIRC, grandson of Admiral Bull Halsey) as a bio an AP Bio teacher, was an amazing teacher who took us into the canyons near the school to study actual plants and animals in the chaparral ecosystem. Every year he took his students on a week-long trip during Spring Break to go kayaking down the Colorado River or hiking in Anza Borrego, etc. He quit because the school was worried he was exposing them to too much liability risk.

Our system right now is rather dysfunctional. But teachers want kids to succeed - they don't want to produce dumb automatons. It's no longer the 1800s where we need to prep kids for work in the mills - "21st Century Skills" and all that is the current paradigm in education.

Shining Example (1, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 4 years ago | (#31690142)

This is a shining example of how politics are ruining America's youth.

Re:Shining Example (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | about 4 years ago | (#31690330)

Maybe a good place to spell out what you are talking about, rather than relying on "this".

Re:Shining Example (1)

Snap E Tom (128447) | about 4 years ago | (#31690380)

Did you know that Californians, on average, have the 3rd lowest IQ in the country? Only Louisiana and Mississippi have lower average IQs than California.

When I read stories like this one about post-Escalante Garfield, I'm not surprised.

Re:Shining Example (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690430)

Why would anyone be surprised? Look at the racial makeup of California. Except for a few pockets of whites in Northern California, the state is almost overrun with Blacks and Mexicans.

"Racial Makeup" (2, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | about 4 years ago | (#31690630)

Why would anyone be surprised? Look at the racial makeup of California. Except for a few pockets of whites in Northern California, the state is almost overrun with Blacks and Mexicans.

While I know the poster was trolling, his comments are in stark contrast to Escalante's own work: anyone, regardless of skin color or income, can better themselves if they're willing to work hard enough and dedicate themselves in the long run. Escalante proved it, and he proved it with student AP calculus scores eventually outpacing even the very rich schools like Beverly Hills. It's shameful that some of his own fellow teachers thought he was being "cruel" to Hispanic kids by expecting excellence, and that he was risking their "self-esteem". Well, those teachers chased him off, and now I wonder how high the esteem of those students is now that they're no longer reaching the academic heights that Escalante took them to?

American Education (1)

JerLasVegas (791093) | about 4 years ago | (#31690204)

Of course they got rid of him! How dare the poorer class schools be able to progress!

Re:American Education (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 4 years ago | (#31690490)

How dare he create the expectation that teachers who claim to be "professionals" should be held to a standard of actually producing results. We can't have that, and unions are there specifically to make sure that it doesn't happen.

Why I still think we need vouchers (4, Insightful)

5pp000 (873881) | about 4 years ago | (#31690280)

From TFA:

Gradillas has an explanation for the decline of A.P. calculus at Garfield: Escalante and Villavicencio were not allowed to run the program they had created on their own terms. In his phrase, the teachers no longer "owned" their program. He's speaking metaphorically, but there's something to be said for taking him literally.

In the real world, those who provide a service can usually find a way to get it to those who want it, even if their current employer disapproves. If someone feels that he can build a better mousetrap than his employer wants to make, he can find a way to make it, market it, and perhaps put his former boss out of business. Public school teachers lack that option.

There are very few ways to compete for education dollars without being part of the government school system. If that system is inflexible, sooner or later even excellent programs will run into obstacles.

I've never understood why the left, which has supported the idea of a single-payer health care system, can't get its head around vouchers, which amount to a single-payer education system. No, a voucher system isn't perfect; yes, there will be abuses. But look at the ongoing train wreck of a system we have now!

In a voucher system, Jaime Escalante would have been massively successful, probably at the top of an organization teaching thousands of students. So what if some fundamentalists use their vouchers to send their kids to religious schools? Vouchers would finally give us a way to end the culture of mediocrity that has such a death grip on our schools now.

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (4, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | about 4 years ago | (#31690382)

Because vouchers in general are not about school choice, but a means of forcing taxpayers to pay for religious education: subsidizing those who already send their children to parochial schools. If voucher programs exclude religious schools, there would be no schools to send the children to.

Also, vouchers don't cover the whole cost: Mr Escalante couldn't do what he did in a private school as, even with vouchers, the students couldn't afford to attend.

Wait... What?! (3, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 4 years ago | (#31690720)

subsidizing those who already send their children to parochial schools.

The parents of the kids in parochial school pay twice: once for their own kids' tuition, once again for their neighbors' kids via the school and property taxes. The typical voucher plan doesn't "force a taxpayer to pay for religious education," it allows a taxpayer to pay for what he actually uses.

Meanwhile, if all the kids who were in parochial school were to leave parochial school and enter the public system (into which their parents had already paid their share) that public system would collapse. Even with the "extra money" coming in from the parents of the kids who are not educated publicly, the public system is on the verge of financial, educational, and architectural collapse. You should thank God (erm, sorry) every day that the "religious kids" are not in the public system; the public system couldn't handle it.

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (2, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | about 4 years ago | (#31690902)

Because vouchers in general are not about school choice, but a means of forcing taxpayers to pay for religious education

You seem terrified that a parent might send their kids to a church-affiliated school "with tax dollars"... when most parents are contributing to those tax dollars. As long as the school is accredited, so what? Some of the finest schools in the country are church-affiliated, especially Catholic schools. I'm not Catholic myself, but between an inter-city public school and a Catholic school in the same area, I'd damn sure take the Catholic school.

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (5, Interesting)

pluther (647209) | about 4 years ago | (#31690402)

As a leftist extremist, I've never been able to understand it either.

When I was volunteering at the Obama campaign office, this was probably my second biggest argument with most of my fellow workers, after nuclear power.

There have been some very bad voucher schemes proposed, which amount to nothing more than yet another tax break for wealthy people while shifting the burden to the poor.

But there have also been some good voucher schemes proposed. Something that would let parents send their children to any school, public or private, that they wanted, would be awesome. Something that would actually reduce the cost of expensive private schools for those who can't afford it would be great.

Getting the fundamentalist nutjobs out of the public schools and into their own little inbred communities where they can't do any harm to the rest of society would just be a bonus, as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | about 4 years ago | (#31690746)

Getting the fundamentalist nutjobs out of the public schools and into their own little inbred communities where they can't do any harm to the rest of society would just be a bonus, as far as I'm concerned.

They already have this, its called home schooling.

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 4 years ago | (#31690842)

As a leftist extremist...Something that would actually reduce the cost of expensive private schools for those who can't afford it would be great.

Explain to me how this is a "leftist extremist" point of view. Something about what you claim to be and what you support is not jiving. The only "extreme" point of view you're supporting here is that you believe private schools should be subsidized by the government (without all the burdensome "regulations" and "mandated enrollment" that public schools are stuck with). So as a taxpayer I get to pay for an institution that could deny my kid attendance arbitrarily?

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#31690458)

I agree with you about vouchers. I think Charter schools are a reasonable compromise, so it is appropriate for Obama to push for those. The problem current problem with Charter Schools is that it requires the same school district personnel whose jobs are threatened by the success of charters schools to approve any new schools. Strangely enough, the Beaverton School District has steadfastly opposed ANY charter schools within the district. "Politics" and "Conflict of Interests" appear to be interchangible words these days.

P.S. I went to a Catholic High Schools as a non-Catholic, and my kid sisters were home schooled. I heartily recommend both as alternatives to public school education. Escalante should have taken his passion to a private school, where he could recruit willing students from all over LA (private school don't need to worry about arbitrary district boundaries). He could have had an even greater impact without having to fight an entrenched bureaucracy every step of the way.

In Escalante's memory, I say we all start petition drives to name one of our local schools after him -- it seems the most fitting tribute to this great man.

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (4, Insightful)

sean_nestor (781844) | about 4 years ago | (#31690468)

I've never understood why the left, which has supported the idea of a single-payer health care system, can't get its head around vouchers, which amount to a single-payer education system. No, a voucher system isn't perfect; yes, there will be abuses. But look at the ongoing train wreck of a system we have now!

In a voucher system, Jaime Escalante would have been massively successful, probably at the top of an organization teaching thousands of students. So what if some fundamentalists use their vouchers to send their kids to religious schools? Vouchers would finally give us a way to end the culture of mediocrity that has such a death grip on our schools now.

Chiefly because exposing school systems to a competitive market implicitly accepts that some schools will fall into even worse decay that they currently are. Poor schools become poorer, with little funding to hire better teachers or acquire better books.

As schools are not objects which can house an infinite number of students, some students will be forced to attend those schools caught in that downward spiral - schools that are not only sub-par, but lacking funding and interaction with a diverse body of students, since all the brightest have made it into the "nice" schools.

When you consider that some students are going to be shafted big time by this arrangement, you may see why some (not just on the left) don't like the voucher system. Education after 18 is no longer compulsory, so good luck compensating for those all-important developmental years of education.

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (2, Insightful)

5pp000 (873881) | about 4 years ago | (#31690714)

Chiefly because exposing school systems to a competitive market implicitly accepts that some schools will fall into even worse decay that they currently are. Poor schools become poorer, with little funding to hire better teachers or acquire better books.

As schools are not objects which can house an infinite number of students, some students will be forced to attend those schools caught in that downward spiral

This doesn't make any sense. There's no limit on the number of schools that can be created. Vouchers make it easier for parents to remove their children from failing schools and put them in better ones. Poorly run schools will quickly lose all their students and shut down. It's the current system that keeps failing schools in operation, not a voucher system!

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (5, Informative)

sean_nestor (781844) | about 4 years ago | (#31690894)

This doesn't make any sense. There's no limit on the number of schools that can be created. Vouchers make it easier for parents to remove their children from failing schools and put them in better ones. Poorly run schools will quickly lose all their students and shut down. It's the current system that keeps failing schools in operation, not a voucher system!

Schools do not just appear. They take a great deal of financing and legal paperwork. Your dream of grassroots school systems sprouting up is fantastically misguided.

Yes, vouchers help some parents place their students into better schools. Undoubtedly. But what you are breezing over is the effect this has on the other students who aren't quite so lucky. When considering educational models, you need to give attention to all students - not just the bright ones. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and all that. That is where vouchers fail.

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (2, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 4 years ago | (#31690478)

It's ultimately about controlling the ideas that youth are exposed to. Sure, children may be sent to some pretty wrong-headed schools with these vouchers... but the parents, and eventually the child, presumably are taxpayers.

It's all about social control. The left is concerned (rightfully) about children being taught anti-evolution, racist, religious bullshit, but it's more than that. It's about instilling social, democratic values into youth. The right tends to feel that vouchers/homeschooling are a good way to shaping youth, the left, as always prefers to "socialize" (in the "society") sense of the word and wants to build a "community" and by extension obedience to community standards and norms, even if they have to force community's down people's throat like the right wants to force religion on other people.

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (1)

asolidvoid (964293) | about 4 years ago | (#31690552)

I'm not very familiar with how a voucher system would work, so let me know if I'm off base, but in your example—wouldn't it still keep him from providing adequate service to underprivileged hispanic youth, since he's so good at what he does—everyone in LA would want their kids to be taught by him, diluting his impact on the community that needs it (and presumably he would have wanted to serve) most?

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 years ago | (#31690718)

I've never understood why the left, which has supported the idea of a single-payer health care system, can't get its head around vouchers, which amount to a single-payer education system.

Because their end goal is a single provider health care system for everybody but the elite, just like they already have for education (for the most part).

Re:Why I still think we need vouchers (2, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | about 4 years ago | (#31690830)

I've never understood why the left

Union, unions, UNIONS! vs. Blacks!

Yes, it's one of the issues that tears at the fabric of two core Democratic Party groups. I've seen polls [citation needed] where the majority of Blacks support vouchers. Many of their communities are strongly religious, and that tends to be part of the reason for the support. Unions, OTOH, know that many of those small, diverse, competing schools won't sign a contract.

So far, Union money beats Black desire in the Democratic Party.

Said before, and said again, no real progress in the USA until we break the shackles of entrenched special interests on both the Left and the Right.

Ah, jealousy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690298)

One of the most powerful of human emotions, especially amongst the teaching profession...

CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690300)

NOOOOOOOO NOT JAIME!!!!11ELEVEN!!!

wait, what'd he do again?

This is why we need guns in schools (0, Flamebait)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | about 4 years ago | (#31690332)

After reading the article, I can only be outraged by Maria Elena Tostado, the administrator who let political expediency outweigh academic legitimacy.I guess the lesson, we should learn from this is that evil wins. I can think of dozens of examples from my own life where the dogs have won.

The only lesson, that I can learn from this affair, is that we need more guns in schools.

-Regards.

Token gesture... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690362)

...the inner city students are still more likely to end up in jail and drop out of high school. Plus I don't trust the ways tests are administered to these sorts of students. It's easy to fudge the scores for better funding, etc.

Was it wrong of me to hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690366)

... that William Adama would rally the Galactica staff and Viper pilots with a rousing cry of, "Stand and Deliver!"

Some of his achievements (4, Informative)

Subm (79417) | about 4 years ago | (#31690406)

It would be hard to overstate the impact Escalante has made on the education reform movement in the U.S. He and Rafe Esquith were the first to prove very publicly and definitively that demography is not destiny and that inner-city kids, with great teaching and high expectations, could achieve at high levels.

At his peak, Escalante had 187 students at one time sitting for the Calculus AP exam — and his students accounted for ONE-THIRD of all Mexican-Americans passing the exam in the country.

sadham&ghonneria revisited..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690438)

deepending on where one is, it looks just like that, except on a much grander scale.

the manufactured 'weather' appears to be making things at least worse.

just like military 'school', everybody must be punished for the misdeeds of a few.

fortunately for many, it has been said that the creators love the least of us the most, it's an upside down kingdumb, the meek shall.. etc..., stuff like that. makes one think there'll be plenty of 'stuff' left after the big flash. see you there?

Teachers should be the celebrities (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 4 years ago | (#31690476)

It would be a worth while effort to increase teacher pay and encourage more great teachers instead of spending it all on the same books every couple of years and other crap. Kids actually learn from great Teachers.

Re:Teachers should be the celebrities (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 4 years ago | (#31690716)

First define what makes a "great teacher". In my mind, it is not defined by how well you know the subject you are teaching as it is by how well you know your target audience (students and their parents). Escalante's gift was not just that he had a passion for math, but that he was successfully able to transfer that passion to so many kids. This was helped by the fact that many of them could relate to him, but I think that anybody that has a passion for teaching, respects their audience, and doesn't try to bullshit them could achieve similar results.

Órale, vato! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31690496)

Wassapenin? Dónde está la biblioteca?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...