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Stand and Deliver 1988
Description: Jaime Escalante is a mathematics teacher in a school in a hispanic neighbourhood. Convinced that his students have potential, he adopts unconventional teaching ways to test and turn gang members and no-hopers into some of the country's top algebra and calculus students.
Released: 11 Mar 1988 Director: Ramón Menéndez Writers: Ramón Menéndez, Tom Musca Actors: Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan, Virginia Paris Genres: Biography, Drama
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Stand and Deliver Reviews:

Why is this film depressing? It's a real storyline about a high school teacher who managed to motivate a group of struggling students to attempt one of the best academic challenges a high school student can undertake. It's the real storyline of the underdogs sticking it to the system. It's the real storyline of a teacher fighting the system and winning...Or did he? Despite the success portrayed in the movie, 1987 was the high water tag for the Garfield High School AP Calculus program. In 1987, the principal who had supported Escalante with his AP tool went on sabbatical and was replaced by an administrator with a various academic focus. The teachers' union complained about Escalante's class sizes and teaching assignments, and petty rivalries and jealousies abounded, eventually forcing Escalante and his partner teacher out of the school. Unable to search help for his unorthodox methods, in 2001, Escalante moved back to his native Bolivia, where he teaches calculus at a local university.As much as I love this movie, each time I watch it, I become depressed all over again. It's been over 25 years since Escalante began the AP Calculus tool at Garfield High, and one would think that the educational system would learn from him--not only from his example as a teacher, but also the factors that forced him to leave the school, but ultimately the country.It's not just Garfield High School, and it's not just advanced mathematics. I hear the same words that the naysayer teachers and administrators spoke in the film spoken on a everyday and weekly basis on the public high school campus where I teach. I see the same objections and doubts and obstacles thrown up by the administration and teachers' union in the film thrown up by administrations and unions today. I work each day with the same underprivileged yet eager to be educated students as Escalante had, students who just need someone to challenge them and trust in them. And I see my students war vs the same weak expectations and prejudices as the students in the film faced.Which leaves me with the question--what has really changed in 25 years? If this is such an outstanding, motivational movie, why has it not produced a systemic change? Why are underprivileged yet bright students routinely passed over and allowed to fail? Why are creative, energetic, passionate teachers forced out of their schools and even their professions by school systems unwilling to embrace unorthodox methods, even if those ways are proved to promote student success? Escalante poured everything he had into his job. Teaching was his life, his passion--not only a vocation, but an avocation. He was willing to sacrifice his private relationships and his own health for the sake of the students in which he believed... For what? Nothing has changed. 25+ years later, nothing has changed.Yes, he made a difference in the lives of those students, and of students for more years than just those portrayed in the movie, but once he left, the tool essentially left with him. Despite all of his passion and sacrifice, he effected no systemic change.And it's that knowledge that, to me, makes this such a depressing film.


There are many movies about teachers breaking through to tough students. Many are trite, sappy and formula-written. This is one of the several truly strong movies in this genre. Each member of the cast gives an wonderful performance. This is particularly real of the students. Adult writers in this category usually fail to write convincing adolescent dialogue, but the students in this movie talked and acted quite convincingly. The role of the teacher was not glorified, but treated as a regular human being who was doing his greatest to do something good, sometimes in the right method and sometimes in the wrong way. The race subplot was powerful, but not too preachy. In short, this was an perfect and inspiring storyline of teachers and students overcoming their shortcomings and being the greatest that they should be. A stunning and vastly underrated film.


Back when I was the age of these children that Jaime Escalante taught I want I had a math teacher who should have made it as interesting and challenging as he did for the barrio children he taught in East Los Angeles's Garfield High School.Stand and Deliver is one of the greatest movies of the Eighties and one of the most inspiring I've ever seen. Anyone who should receive children fired up about algebra and calculus as Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante did has my undying respect.Olmos is one of those rare teachers whose very presence in the lives of his students makes them change. So many I had back in the day were just time serving bureaucrats, tiny better than clerks who took attendance. Of course I had some nice ones too, but not in mathematics, I was type of hopeless in that subject.But something that I didn't realize about math then, but that Olmos tells and Stand and Deliver emphasizes is that math is the nice equalizer. There's no cultural bias in math, no interpretative spins on it, you either know it and do it or you don't. It does support to develop the gray cells, no doubt about it.The Mexican-American children he teaches in Garfield High School have it in their minds they'll be filling station attendants, quick meal cooks, or day laborers, striving for better is not something they think about. More than teaching them math skills, we are shown how Olmos makes them trust in themselves and their potential. It's certainly a better life lesson than anything else. I doubt any of Escalante's children at parties do quadratic equations for entertainment.Lou Diamond Phillips has a helping role in this movie which was made earlier than his breakout role in La Bamba, but released later. Of course his billing was adjusted as befit his fresh star status. He's very nice as the child who makes a deal with Olmos for three textbooks, one for home, one for class, and one for his locker just so his photo among his home men is kept secure. After all as Olmos says, we wouldn't wish anyone to receive the concept you're really smart.Rosanna DeSoto who was LDP's mother in La Bamba is Olmos's wife in Stand and Deliver, loyal and supportive. Another nice performances are from Carmen Argenziano as Olmos's supportive school principal and of the children besides Phillips, you will love young Vanessa Marquez.Andy Garcia and Rif Hutton enjoy a couple of educators from the Educational Playing Service, read Standardized Aptitude Use (SAT) who can't quite trust what Olmos has accomplished with these barrio kids. Has to be something wrong here. You have to see the movie to see what comes out of their questioning Olmos's competence and integrity.Edward James Olmos was nominated for Greatest Actor in 1988. Unfortunately he was up vs a singularly special performance by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. The true Jaime Escalante no longer teaches in the USA. A several years ago Escalante went back to Bolivia to give back a tiny to the folks from where he came. That's entirely in keeping with the hero of this boy that Stand and Deliver says the storyline of. One of the most inspirational movies ever made, don't ever miss it when broadcast.



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