Jaime Escalante of Stand and Deliver fame died on March 30th and according to Jay Matthews, writing for The Washington Post, some of his students went on to be "recruit[ed]" by "USC, Harvey Mudd, and the other California colleges recruiting Garfield grads."
Well good for them. But Garfield hasn't sent anyone to Harvey Mudd recently. Might it be a good idea to see just what he did that inspired those kids? Nah. Let's just rinse and repeat.
I've got my own bones to pick with his depiction which were nicely summed up in this excellent Reason Magazine 2002 article about the real Jaime Escalante and how the educational establishment loathed him and his methods, despite their successes.
It is less well-known that Escalante left Garfield after problems with colleagues and administrators, and that his calculus program withered in his absence. That untold story highlights much that is wrong with public schooling in the United States and offers some valuable insights into the workings -- and failings -- of our education system. [...]
Calculus grew so popular at Garfield that classes grew beyond the 35-student limit set by the union contract. Some had more than 50 students. Escalante would have preferred to keep the classes below the limit had he been able to do so without either denying calculus to willing students or using teachers who were not up to his high standards. Neither was possible, and the teachers union complained about Garfield's class sizes. Rather than compromise, Escalante moved on.
[T]here is no inner-city school anywhere in the United States with a calculus program anything like Escalante's in the '80s. A very successful program rapidly collapsed, leaving only fragments behind.