If ever there were an icon for great teachers in this country, it would be Jaime Escalante, the renowned math teacher made famous in the movie "Stand and Deliver." Escalante died March 30, 2010, at the age of 79 from cancer.
Escalante transformed the math program at his East Los Angeles high school, pushing his struggling students, largely poor and Mexican American, to pass the Advanced Placement Calculus exam. At one point, his school had the fifth-highest number of advanced placement calculus students in the country.
The Los Angeles Times described Escalante as someone who "liked to be judged by his results, a concept still resisted by the majority of his profession." And in his death it is his results that live on, in the lawyers, doctors and teachers whose minds he helped challenge and grow.