March 31, 2010
Cynthia Leonor Garza
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On the Death of Math Teacher Jaime Escalante
Former Garfield High School teacher and United Teachers Los Angeles member inspired a nation
WASHINGTON—Today, we mourn the loss of one of teaching’s best—Jaime Escalante. The 1988 film “Stand and Deliver” captured and shared with a nation Escalante’s deep passion for teaching, and his unflinching drive and belief that his students could succeed, regardless of their background. His story and his life’s work still resonate with the public and remind us of the challenges facing our public schools, students and teachers. Ultimately, Escalante’s story is one of hope and inspiration—that great teaching goes beyond the classroom. Great teachers can change lives.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.