Jaime Escalante passed away yesterday. He was an inspiration not only to his many students but to educators world-wide. His legacy is proof that it is not family background, economic status, "ranking" of one's school or college, fancy facilities or any other extraneous factor that leads to successful learning and thus successful students -- it is inspired teachers who believe in their students' ability to learn and do not allow students to not believe in themselves.
He took students who had been written off not only by society, but unfortunately even by teachers and the school system. He took students from one of THE worst schools in America and produced learners whose accomplishments on the AP exam were exceeded by only a small handful of exclusive high schools in the country -- Andover, Exeter, and New Trier being three of them.
His accomplishments fly in the face of comments (made to my face by Senate aids in 2009) that many students should not go to college. This country can only be its best when we educate all students and we do not discriminate on potential based on prejudices that are either socio-economic, racial, or intellectually elitist.
Imagine if we all fought for and believed in our students as Jamie Escalante did in his. May he be an inspiration to all of us in the years to come. Long live "Kimo"!
Note: If you have never seen the movie "Stand and Deliver", you should!