Jaime Escalante, the “Stand and Deliver” calculus teacher, died March 30 of cancer at the age of 79. A Bolivian immigrant, Escalante began teaching calculus at Garfield High in 1978: Most of his students came from low-income Mexican families. By 1987, Garfield students took more AP calculus exams than all but four high schools, public or private, in the country. People started to think that low-income, minority kids could learn calculus, if properly taught.
Often in conflict with other teachers and administrators, Escalante left Garfield High in 1991 to teach at a Sacramento High School, Reason reports. He’d created a math enrichment program to get students from basic algebra to calculus. The other math enrichment teachers left too. Garfield’s calculus program collapsed.