The movie follows the story of Jaime Escalante, a math teacher in an underprivileged high school in East Los Angeles who inspires his disadvantaged students to learn calculus. Escalante transforms the school’s math program and helps his students pass the difficult Advanced Placement Calculus exam. The film highlights Escalante’s unconventional teaching methods and his ability to connect with and motivate his students. At the core of the movie is the theme of beating the odds through hard work, perseverance and believing in oneself.
What is the main plot of the movie?
The main plot centers around Jaime Escalante, a Bolivian immigrant, who starts teaching basic math at Garfield High School in East LA in the 1980s. Most students at Garfield are from poor and minority backgrounds and face many challenges. Escalante sets out to change the school’s culture and ignite a passion for math in his students. He starts an advanced calculus program, using innovative techniques focused on mastery. Escalante helps students gain fundamental math skills before even attempting calculus. His methods emphasize repetition and encourage students to learn from their mistakes. Escalante faces much skepticism and opposition, with students struggling with the difficult coursework and other teachers doubting the students can pass the AP Calculus exam. But Escalante is an inspiring and stubborn teacher who connects with his students. He motivates them to keep trying, resulting in an unexpected number of students passing the notoriously difficult calculus test. The film climaxes around the challenges the students face taking the exam for the first time and Escalante’s fight to get the scores validated once accusations of cheating arise.
Who is the main character?
The main character is Jaime Escalante, the math teacher who inspires low-performing students to master calculus. Played by Edward James Olmos, Escalante is originally from Bolivia and is passionate about math. He decides to teach at the struggling East LA high school because he wants to make a difference. Escalante is persistent, quirky, demanding and charismatic. He connects with his students by drawing on his own experiences as an immigrant navigating challenges. Escalante has unorthodox teaching methods, using techniques like giving pop quizzes frequently, requiring re-tests, and making students wear uniforms. He refuses to give up on any students, believing everyone is capable of learning calculus with the right mindset and effort. Escalante is an exceptional educator who changes his students’ lives.
Who are the main supporting characters?
Some of the main supporting characters include:
– Angel Guzman (Lou Diamond Phillips) – One of Escalante’s first calculus students who struggles with fractions and negative numbers initially. Eventually masters calculus and becomes a leader helping classmates.
– Ana Delgado (Virginia Paris) – A bright student skeptical about Escalante’s unconventional style but later one of his most eager calculus pupils. She offers translations for Escalante.
– Ben Jimenez (Will Gotay) – A rebellious student who resists Escalante’s tough love before eventually thriving in calculus.
– Mr. Gradillas – The principal at Garfield High. Doubts Escalante’s methods but eventually supports calculus program. Played by Andy Garcia.
– Other Students – Classmates who first doubt themselves but rise to Escalante’s high expectations.
What time period is covered?
The movie is set in the 1980s, mainly focusing on the period from 1982-1987 at Garfield High. It captures Escalante as he starts at Garfield and first attempts to recruit students to calculus in 1982. The film climaxes around the events of the 1987 AP Calculus exam, when a record number of Garfield students pass but accusations of cheating emerge. The movie covers Escalante’s early struggles to establish his calculus program and build it up to national recognition over this crucial time period for the school.
What is the setting?
The setting is Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. Located in a low-income, predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, Garfield High faces many challenges with underfunded resources, low test scores, and doubts about students’ potential. The school’s downtrodden environment is shown through scenes of graffiti and litter in the halls and general apathy among students and faculty. Most students come from poor immigrant families and will be the first in their families to graduate high school, let alone go to college. The movie provides social commentary by portraying the despair and obstacles students face in this disadvantaged neighborhood.
What are some key inspirational scenes?
– Escalante forces students to re-take a test until every student passes, emphasizing his no losers policy. His high standards push students to rise to the challenge.
– To gear up for the AP exam, Escalante has students run timed mock exams and teaches test-taking techniques. The students are seen vigorously driling.
– Escalante connects math to real world careers to motivate students, taking them on a field trip to a restaurant to have them calculate food costs.
– Struggling student Durell finally understands negative numbers after an epiphany during a fast-paced review session, showing Escalante’s techniques working.
– Escalante encourages his students to believe in themselves, drawing similarities between their challenges as minorities and his experiences as an immigrant.
What are some key challenges?
– Escalante faces opposition from the school administration, with principal Gradillas doubting students can handle calculus rigor.
– Students resist the difficult coursework, with some dropping out or thinking they aren’t smart enough for calculus.
– Escalante teaches multiple jobs to support his family, resulting in exhaustion.
– Racism and bias work against the students, especially when Escalante fights to get the AP scores validated after cheating allegations.
– Poverty, crime, teen pregnancy and other issues outside school affect students, making learning more difficult.
What is the role of math in the movie?
Math is central, with Escalante determined to defy low expectations by taking inner city students from basic math to mastering calculus. To him, calculus represents a path out of poverty and a brighter future. The conceptual leap from simple math to calculus symbolizes the immense hurdles disadvantaged students face. Scenes of students struggling with new concepts highlight how math skills build on each other systematically; students must conquer their deficiencies in fundamentals in order to reach calculus. Calculus becomes a metaphor for beating the odds through determination.
How does the movie depict teaching?
The movie provides social commentary on inner city education by portraying the transformative power of a devoted teacher. Escalante rejects the status quo of low standards and uses unorthodox methods aimed at mastery, not just competency. His demanding style and high expectations push students beyond what they believe they can do. The movie highlights his ability to connect culturally with his students and motivate them. Intense after school and weekend sessions convey Escalante’s commitment. The film suggests effective teaching requires passion and believing all students can learn, regardless of background.
What film techniques does the director use?
– Montages with upbeat music show Escalante helping students practice calculus problems again and again, emphasizing hard work pays off.
– Close-up shots highlight student frustrations but also triumphant moments when concepts click.
– Dialogue-heavy scenes feature Escalante interacting with students in Spanish to build personal connections.
– Outside shots of the graffiti-filled school and neighborhood depict the gritty realities students face.
– High camera angles look down on students taking the AP exam, conveying the pressure and high stakes.
– Motifs of eggs represent nurturing students towards success; Escalante compares them hatching to his teaching.
Stand and Deliver is an uplifting film about defying expectations through education. Jaime Escalante transforms the lives of his students by inspiring them to conquer calculus and believe in themselves. The movie sheds light on challenges facing disadvantaged schools and the power of committed teaching. Escalante’s unconventional pedagogy and ability to connect with minority students drives home the message that with proper support and high standards, all students can thrive academically regardless of background. While a work of fiction, the film is based on real events and conveys themes of perseverance and beating the odds that still resonate today. With strong performances and insightful writing, Stand and Deliver offers an entertaining yet thoughtful portrayal of students and teachers rising to meet challenges.