Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
It's not that they're stupid, they just don't know anything
Strategos | In Space above Planet Earth | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stand and deliver is one of my favorite movies. It's the story of a man who begins teaching at a high school in the slums of Los Angeles, expecting to teach Computer Science. When he arrives what he instead finds is that there is not computer department, and he's stuck teaching basic math to a bunch of social misfits. The beginning of this movie sets the stage wonderfully by showing us the kind of people who inhabit the city as he drives through it on the way to the first day of school. When he arrives at the school we see the students in their natural environment (and a rough one it is). What is a teacher to do?
The protagonist of this awe-inspiring story (Jaime Escalante) is a wonderful example of what can happen when a person chooses to adapt to certain environments and NOT adapt to others. When he's given the task of educating a group of kids that includes some scary gang-member type looking kids, instead of acting like a teacher he acts tough right back (reminding them that they're in HIS domain). Yet, when he's brought into a room with the other teachers and school staff, he goes against the grain. When the school's head advisor tells the principle that everyone is doing their best, he immediately says that he's not. And when she tells the principle that Escalante is asking too much of his students, he boldly tells her that the students will rise to the expectations of their teacher.
This alone makes the movie interesting. But what adds even more drama to situation is the fact that each and every student in the class Escalante teaches has their own peer pressures to deal with. Some students have unsavory friends who would laugh at their taking a class seriously. Some of the students have boyfriends or girlfriends who don't understand their sudden interest in school. And some of the students have to deal with parents who don't understand why their education should come before taking care of their own family.
As the movie progresses Escalante announces to the board that he wants to teach Calculus to his best students, despite the fact that the students hadn't studied any of the prerequisites for the course. Naturally this requires them to study through their summer break, and then six days a week with extra hours!
In any teen environment there is always peer pressure. But what happens when positive peer pressure conflicts with negative peer pressure? When our gang-member type Angel first starts the class he is hesitant to get involved because of his rough and tough friends. When Escalante singles him out however, the pressure of the teacher is greater than the pressure of his "friends". Over time this has a tremendous effect on him. Towards the end of the movie, he's riding with his friend and starts acting stupid, and gets his friend a traffic ticket. When the guy becomes angry with him and wants to fight, Angel just walks away. What does this say about him as a person? To me, it shows that whether he likes it or not, he no longer belongs with his old associates, he's now turning into a responsible individual.
As I said before, at the outset of the movie Escalante is the one who is thrown into pressure groups. He could become just like the other teachers, or just become uncaring like the kids in his class were initially. What he does instead is nothing short of a miracle. He uses his understanding of human nature, and the natural tendency of people to work better when their thoughts are united to his advantage. His class becomes its own little world, a club for the elite, the strong and the brave. And early on, when one of the students refuses to take a test, the other students quickly turn against her and ridicule her. She then quickly becomes obedient and gets back to work (positive peer pressure was too much for her). The harder the students are pushed and the more is expected of them, the more they feel like a team (how can I forget the scene where a student says that the rest of the class will have a better chance of making it without him?).
The driving force of the scholastic miracle (and this movie) is Escalante. As he himself said, if the students don't have the desire, he will give it to them. And that's exactly what he did. He MADE them want to succeed. He MADE them have the motivation to keep pushing and striving for higher and higher goals. Basically, he educated them on how to be successful and hard-working individuals. People who normally wouldn't have anything to do with each other (computer nerds, homeboys, and rockers) all were united by their desire to achieve and make themselves into something great. They pushed themselves harder than anyone had ever done in their lives, and when push came to shove, they were successful in every way. Every single student Escalante taught passed the exam for college credit. Every one. Motivation is a powerful thing, and sometimes if you don't already have it an extraordinary person can give it too you.
Everyone should see this movie."
NotATameLion | Michigan | 12/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Stand and Deliver, directed by Ramón Menéndez and starring Edward James Olmos, is an entertaining dramatic retelling of a true story about what one man can accomplish when he dedicates his life to serving others. The film contrasts the results of an educational system where no one cares enough to do anything more than to emptily, heartlessly "go through the motions," with what can be achieved through the labors of a single teacher who cares enough to demand more. The film argues for this more caring kind of educator. Each contrast suggests the inherent superiority of educators putting more than just their time into teaching their students; they must put in their hearts and souls as well.The story is told from a several perspectives. The primary perspective is that of Jaime Escalante, a man who leaves the private sector to teach public High School in Eastern Los Angeles. There are a couple of secondary perspectives told concurrently with that of Escalante. One is that of Angel, a troubled youth who is Escalante's most challenging student. Another is the ongoing romance between two of Escalante's other students: Lupe and Pedro. These differing perspectives serve as a narrative device in the film. The shifting back and forth between these story lines helps to break up the film into comprehensible segments within the linear whole. These alternate perspectives help build the viewer's affection for and interest in the students portrayed; while at the same time building the dramatic tension of the plot. All in all, Stand and Deliver is successful in its aims (namely advancing the argument that there are no "uneducatable" students) while remaining compellingly entertaining. In the late twentieth century movies supplanted literature as catalysts for social change. I believe that Stand and Deliver, as well as several other movies like it, have successfully moved education to the forefront as a national issue. The film is in that respect (which may well be the most important respect) a monumental success. I wholeheartedly recommend this movie."
Educational and thought-provoking lesson about dreams.
Strategos | 05/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"STAND AND DELIVER is one of the best movies to show to high school kids, whether you're a parent or a teacher. Real life math teacher Jaime Escalante, protrayed by Edward James Olmos, teaches his students more than adding and subracting fractions in the cruel setting of East Los Angeles. He shows them how to stretch beyond their limited lives and to rise to their dreams, and he teaches them how to stand up after the world tries to crush their hopes. I show this movie every year to my 8th grade math students, and when the ending credits are rolling, they are always stunned silent, unable to speak. They love STAND AND DELIVER!"