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.)
Mathews traces Jaime Escalante's career as an educator from its start in Bolivia to his splendid successes teaching calculus and other mathematics courses to disadvantaged high school students, mostly Latino, at Garfield High School in East Lost Angeles. Possessing great enthusiasm for and understanding of adolescents, Escalante has pushed his students beyond their self-imposed limits. His efforts have served as a model for other educators. While inspiring, the book is sometimes repetitive and lacking in organization. However, examples of Escalante's independence of thought, courage, and commitment in pursuing actions he considered best for his students are especially valuable to readers.Pat Wollter, Sonoma State Univ., Rohnert ParPark, Cal.
Story of a high school teacher whose students (underprivileged and Hispanic) have set standards in mathematics "all but unequaled in American education." No bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)