Stand and Deliver (1998)

Every few years, a movie makes a splash by portraying a teacher or coach in a positive light. While many grab viewers’ attention, few remain in their hearts. This is in large part due in part to the white- yuppie- moves- to- the- ‘hood- and- educates- under-privileged- youth trope. Seriously, we’re over it. However, this particular movie highlights an ordinary teacher with extraordinary confidence. Real-life math teacher, Mr. Escalante, upon whom this movie is based, has said he considers this telling of his story to be 90% truth and and 10% drama, which is high praise considering—not only are most movies, which are supposedly based on true events merely inspired by their premise and loosely follow the actual occurrence—most heroes don’t consider themselves as such. In this case, an important distinction is made when a high school teacher managed to turn a classroom of rowdy students into calculus prodigies: “There is two kinds of racism, Mr. Escalante. Judging a group because they are a minority and not judging a group because they are a minority.”

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