Monday, April 5, 2010

The ones who get it done

Jay Matthews of the Washington Post writes of the passing of a mighty educator:
The stunning success at Garfield led U.S. presidents to endorse Escalante's view that impoverished children can achieve as much as affluent kids if they are given enough extra study time and encouragement to learn.

In 1987, 26 percent of all Mexican American students in the country who passed the AP Calculus exams attended a single high school: Garfield. That meant that hundreds of thousands of overlooked students could probably do as well if they got what Escalante was giving out. But what was that?

Whenever I suggested that the great teaching I was seeing at Garfield might be the reason so many students were succeeding in AP, people at parties dismissed me as romantic and naive. 
Well, yes, it's common wisdom that poor kids can't succeed, except that devoted educators rebut that wisdom, over and over, by finding a way to beat those poverty odds.  Thank you, Mr. Escalante, for being one of that glorious breed!

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