Foundation Funds Provide Assist to Celebrated Teacher Escalante
In the past seven years, the church has poured at least $45 million into the former Gilman Hot Springs resort. In the foreground is the $18.5-million management building that includes a wing of offices for church leader David Miscavige.(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)
A close view of Bonnie View, a $9.4-million mansion that ex-members say was constructed for the expected return of late church founder L. Ron Hubbard. Church officials say the mansion is simply a museum to commemorate Hubbard’s life and house most of his possessions.(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)
Receptionist Charlotte Heldt at Golden Era Productions. The artwork behind her depicts Scientologys Bridge to Total Freedom, the church’s path to enlightenment.(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)
Inside Golden Era Productions, staffers produce nearly all the printed materials for the church. Here, a foil is pressed onto a lecture binder cover that will be used for a CD of one of Hubbard’s speeches that has been translated into German.(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)
Hubbard invented the e-meter as a device that could measure the spiritual clarity of his followers.(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)
The Scientology movement’s Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education has befriended one of America’s most celebrated teachers, Jaime Escalante of Garfield High School.
Escalante is the East Los Angeles teacher profiled in the hit 1988 film “Stand and Deliver,” which chronicled his success in teaching advanced calculus to barrio students.
During the last few years, the foundation has provided Escalante with tens of thousands of dollars for computers, audiovisual aids, tutors and scholarships. In addition, the foundation has solicited contributions from major corporations to help Escalante’s Garfield High mathematics program grow in size and sophistication.
In fact, the foundation has been Escalante’s primary benefactor.
He is now teaming up with the foundation to develop a series of 12 educational videos for distribution by the Public Broadcasting System. Called “Futures,” the series is intended to motivate students by showing them the relevancy of math in the workplace. The foundation’s president will be the executive producer, while Escalante will be host of the series.
Escalante says he was unaware of the foundation’s links to Scientology. “No, no,” he said, “they (foundation officials) never mentioned that name.” But, he added, it makes no difference.
“From my point of view,” he said, “I really don’t mind what they are. The only thing I care about is that they help my students, my kids. That’s my main goal.”
The foundation, for its part, has not been reticent about publicizing its support of Escalante. Its promotional literature regularly includes photographs of Escalante in his classroom or standing side-by-side with beaming foundation executives.
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