2016 47c Jaime Escalante
For Jaime Escalante (1930-2010), teaching math was more than just a job – it was the promise of a better future for hundreds of students.
Escalante taught physics and math in Bolivia for 12 years before moving to the United States in the 1960s. He worked odd jobs, taught himself English, and earned another degree so he could teach in America.
In 1974, Escalante began teaching at Los Angeles’ Garfield High School, where the students were deemed “unteachable.” But Escalante knew that with hard work, they could flourish. He created an Advanced Placement calculus class and pushed his students to succeed.
By 1982, Escalante’s calculus class had increased to 18 students. When they all passed the test that year, the testing service became suspicious. Fourteen students were asked to retake the test, which twelve did. All twelve passed again and were able to have their grade reinstated. A book, The Best Teacher in America, and a movie, Stand and Deliver, were based on these events and made Escalante a national figure.
The calculus program grew after that. Garfield sent more students to the local college than any other area high school. Jaime Escalante received many awards, which included the Presidential Medal of Excellence in Education. But his greatest reward was his students’ success. As he put it, “teaching is touching life.”
Issued: July 13, 2016
First Day City: Washington DC
Type of Stamp: First Class Mail
Banknote Corporation of America
Method: Offset, Microprint
Quantity Printed: 12,000,000
Jaime Escalante (1930-2010) was a noted East Los Angeles teacher whose unique teaching techniques led school students to succeed in Calculus. His story received national attention with the 1998 movie, Stand and Deliver. The stamp was designed by Greg Breeding, with Jason Seiler creating the original artwork.