25. Jaime Escalante
Jaime Escalante was a teacher from
Bolivia. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1963. He was thirty-three years old and
spoke almost no English.
Life was difficult for Escalante in the
United States. He could not be a teacher in California. He had to go to college
again. It took him many years, but he did it. He worked at a restaurant to
support his family at the same time.
Finally, when he was forty-three he
started to work at Garfield High School in Los Angeles. This school had a bad
name. There were many gangs and the students were not doing well. Soon
Escalante changed things.
Escalante worked with his students. He
taught them math. Me used his own methods, or ways, and they worked. The
students learned and enjoyed their math. In 1982, fourteen of his students
passed an advanced math examination. Nobody believed this. People said the
students were cheating. The students wanted to show they were not cheating.
They took the exam again. And they passed again. This was a miracle in a place
like Garfield! This was the work of Jaime Escalante.
Every year Escalante produced top class
students. People know him as one of the best teachers in America. There is even
a movie and a book about him.