Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Bill Dembski’s new online book on inspired learning


It Takes Ganas William A. Dembski It Takes Ganas: Jaime Escalante’s secret to inspired learning

Great teachers are typically unknown beyond the immediate circle of their students, colleagues, and families. That was not the case with Jaime Escalante. Escalante taught calculus with outstanding success at Garfield High, in a tough Hispanic neighborhood of East Lost Angeles. Escalante’s success was portrayed in the 1988 film Stand and Deliver, for which Edward James Olmos, who played Escalante, received an Oscar nomination. At its height, Escalante’s program at Garfield saw 85 students pass the Advanced Placement calculus test, more than at any but a handful of high schools across the nation.

Most people these days, if they remember Escalante, immediately think of Stand and Deliver. That film ended on a high note, celebrating Escalante’s achievements and fame. But few people know what happened thereafter. Escalante’s brilliant math program at Garfield High did not survive his departure in 1991. Within a few years, math scores at the school had settled back into the realm of low expectations where they had stood before his arrival there.

So what happened? It Takes Ganas reviews how Escalante achieved his unprecedented success — indeed, a success that to this day remains unmatched. But it also recounts the largely untold story of the forces of entropy and inertia that quickly returned Garfield High back to the status quo.More.

What puts this book, by William Dembski and Alex Thomas at the head of the class, in short, is that it confronts the facts others avoid:  First, despite all the tax-funded blather about excellence, mediocrity is normal by definition. All kids are not above average and never will be.

That part is just life. But steady declines in test scores and sinkholes of predictable low achievement are not normal patterns. They are usually caused events. All we know for sure is that throwing more money at the problems seldom has any influence because lack of money was never a driver in the first place.

You can read the book by clicking on the chapters.

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@2: The average is not necessarily the median. But yes, although I'm sure News doesn't mean it literally, all kids cannot be above average. Rob
The problem in Hispanic areas is lack of assimulation into american areas. so they stay like mexico. This teacher shows how its all about motivation. Yet teachers won't do it. It must be from the people themselves. By the way i suspect the movie and nomination is the problem. the enforcement of identity segregation. I'm sure the movie was terrible but it highlighted Hispanics. Yet thats the problem. The kids should be americans and not hIspanics and spread out and come up to american standards of ability. All of them. Most problems in america are based on identity problems. Its not the schools or teachers. The censorship of iD/YEC is also a resistence to smarter kids. Robert Byers
"All kids are not above average and never will be." No, only half of them. clown fish
OT: Drone flying over Masada and Sodom & Gemorrah captures beautiful footage Gamorrah,Masada and Sdom - video https://vimeo.com/127085540 bornagain77

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