Groups in Society
Stand and Deliver Film is a reflection of the real story as portrayed by Jaime Escalante, a math teacher at Garfield High School. The film itself is a true indication of how the marginalized individuals in the society are treated. The marginalization aspects start at the Garfield school which is economically disadvantaged. Despite the Garfield school lacking the sufficient resources to offer adequate learning, it is the only hope for the minorities and the weak groups to acquire education. The film appears to insinuate that this condition has been caused by societal influences since Garfield high school is associable with t
he Hispanic people and the educators believed that all the students were hardcore criminals. The educators' perception had been influenced by the notion that Hispanic background bear gang members (Heldiz, 2017). In the film, the two key marginalization themes are well-showcased through education inequalities and discrimination.
In the film, it is evident that students from the inner-city schools are not treated equally as the rest of the students in the country because of their background. Education is a universal system and all students should receive similar education and learning facilities irrespective of where they come from. However, this is not the case as exhibited in the film which shows that students in the Garfield school received less quality education because they came from “barrio” (Grimes, 2010). Inequality in education has severe consequences for the economy and the country. Reports indicate that America loses billion dollars through taxes revenues and loss of productivity every year when the students' dropout out of schools (Angrist, Cohodes, Dynarski, Pathak, & Walters, 2016). Students in the poorly-resourced schools are likely to drop out of schools because of the unfavorable learning environment which is further worsened by their marginalized condition.
The inequality in education is not only portrayed through the denial of resources but also via the favoritism which is rooted in the attitude that students from marginalized backgrounds cannot perform well. For example, Escalante and his students produced surprising calculus results in 1982. The eighteen students passed the Advanced Placement calculus exam. Nevertheless, the favored society which feels that all should belong to them disputed the results through the Educational Testing Service which ordered 14 of the 18 students who had performed well to retake the exam (Grimes, 2010). Two of the students declined to redo the test by stating that they did not need credit to go to college. Surprisingly, 12 students proved the Education Test Service wrong by performing extremely well not putting into consideration that they had only one day to prepare. The two students who declined to redo the test represents the marginalized learners who drop out of schools because of unfair policies and rules which favors the advantaged at the expense of the minority groups. Nevertheless, 1982 marked the turn of events for Garfield since it continued to produce amazing results and hence the film title, Stand and Deliver (Angrist, Cohodes, Dynarski, Pathak, & Walters, 2016).
Discrimination is another fundamental element used in the film to explain the manifestation of marginalization. Paula Rothenberg explained how discrimination is perpetuated in the society by considering several factors:
“Making choices is an essential part of everyday life for individuals and organizations. These choices are shaped in part by social structures that set standards and influence conduct in such areas as education, employment, housing, and government. When these choices limit the opportunities available to people because of their race, sex, or national origin, the problem of discrimination arises” (Rothenberg, 2005, p. 243).
Rothenberg position explains how the scarcity of resources leads into the race and background-based discrimination. For example, the ETS was convinced that because of the Garfield students’ reputation and background, they cheated in their AP Calculus exam and therefore, they had to retake it to prove their performance. This shows that the upper class in the society are unlikely to accept the success of the marginalized society, especially when it is evident that it will threaten their position. Garfield school proved its performance in the later years when it continued to do extremely well and this showcases that the disadvantaged society has to be outstanding for the system to accept it as part of the wider successful community. The Garfield success was only accepted by ordering the students to retake AP exams and maintaining the same consistency in later years.
Stand and Deliver, is a perfect example that no matter the challenges, the marginalized can prove the wider society wrong by doing what is right and doing it quite well. Through the efforts and commitment of Jaime Escalante, Garfield High School disputed the notion that the large society had towards inner-city schools in the East of Los Angeles. Despite the stereotyping, unfavorable learning environment and discrimination the school was able to Stand and Deliver. The film strives to tell the less advantaged in the society that they have the capacity to do ordinary things which other people in the society do. Escalante’s student managed to deliver results like everyone else.
Angrist, J. D., Cohodes, S. R., Dynarski, S. M., Pathak, P. A., & Walters, C. R. (2016). Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston’s Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice. Journal of Labor Economics, 34(2), 275-312.
Grimes, W. (2010). Jaime Escalante, Inspiration for a Movie, Dies at 79. NYTimes.com, 1-3.
Heldiz, A. (2017, June 29). Please Stop Talking About 'Stand and Deliver'. Retrieved from https://www.newamerica.org/weekly/edition-170/please-stop-talking-about-stand-and-deliver/
Rothenberg, P. S. (2005). White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism. New York: Worth Publishers.
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