Legendary East L.A. Math Teacher Jaime Escalante Is On A Stamp Now
Jaime Escalante, the Garfield High School math teacher/ hero who was portrayed in the 1987 film Stand and Deliver is now also immortalized on a stamp. And what a deserving honor it is!NBC L.A. reports that the U.S. Postal Service has dedicated a special Limited Edition Forever Stamp to Escalante, the calculus teacher affectionately known as "Kimo," who used creative teaching methods, and damnit, a lot of heart, to inspire his low-income, Latino students to excel at math. Stand and Deliver follows the 1982 school year, when 18 of his students passed the Advanced Placement calculus test—a highly unexpected feat. So unexpected in fact, that the College Board falsely accused 14 of the students of cheating—an accusation loaded with racist implications. 12 of the students re-took the test, and all passed. Eat it, College Board.
Beyond the scope of the film, Escalante turned the East L.A. high school into a math powerhouse; by 1987, there were only four other high schools in the country that had more students passing the AP calculus exam than Garfield.
In the stamp unveiling ceremony last week, actor Edward James Olmos, who portrayed Escalante in Stand and Deliver said, per ABC-7, "I don't know one pope, I don't know one engineer, I don't know one sports giant, I don't know one astronaut that could have done it without a teacher. If it wasn't for teachers, none of us would be where we are today."
"As a teacher he proved time and time again that with the right inputs into the right formulas conventional wisdom could be defied," said official Robert Cintron at the stamp unveiling ceremony last week.
According to the USPS, the stamp's illustration is based on a photograph taken by Escalante's son Jaime in 2005, and shows him in his "signature flat cap" standing in front of a chalkboard covered in calculus symbols.
Now would be a good time to pay your respects to the awesome mural depicting Escalante and Olmos at the northeast corner of Wilshire and Alvarado, facing MacArthur Park.
And if you have the ganas order some stamps!