The Bolivian-born Escalante is perhaps best known for helping to turn the math program at East L.A.'s Garfield High School into one of the finest in the country. Escalante's success was dramatized in the aforementioned Stand and Deliver, which he described as "90% truth, 10% drama". He stated that several points were left out of the film:
- It took him several years to achieve the kind of success shown in the film.
- In no case was a student who didn't know multiplication tables or fractions taught calculus in a single year.
- Escalante suffered a gall-bladder attack, not a heart attack. This distinction was clouded over in the film.
The news of Escalante's death is up on Edward James Olmos' website. He is survived by his wife Fabiola and his sons Fernando and Jaime Jr.
Below is a scene from the movie Stand and Deliver:
The real Jaime Escalante talks about being a teacher: