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Professor Manuel Hernández
Essays Collection

Address: : 2012 Ernest St. Kissimmee, Florida 34741

Manuel Hernandez was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1963. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and finished a Master�s in Education from Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx in 1994. He has coordinated symposiums, produced and coordinated television interviews on the literature written by Puerto Rican and Latino/a writers from the Diaspora. He has done numerous presentations, workshops and seminars on how to integrate latino/a literature in the English classroom. In 2014, he participated in a TedxTalk (Connections) at Southern New Hampshire University. He is the author of three books, , Latino/a Literature in the English Classroom (Editorial Plaza Mayor, 2003), The Birth of a Rican (Imprenta Sifre. 2008) and Living the Kingdom with purpose (Imprenta Sifre, 2013). He is a Language Arts teacher at Osceola School District in Florida.

Education,The Key to Salvation of Latinos
By Manuel Hernandez

According to recent statistics, a bit more than 50% of Latino students in the United States of America graduate from high school. The importance of education is often underminded by those who have the power to implement strategies and initiatives to improve the current high school drop-out rate. Without a high school diploma, Latinos are prevented from obtaining a college education and a prospective career. For Latinos and everyone else in the United States, education is the key to salvation.

The sudden and unexpected growth of the United States Latino population (35.8 million and growing) brings forth interesting yet unanswered questions. How will the present and future governments address the staggering high school drop-out rate amongst Latinos? What specific projects and ideas will be developed to empower American Latinos to face critical social, economic and political issues in the up-coming years? In order for Latinos to have an active role in the world of cyber-space, high-tech and global entrepeneurship, the educational system must produce critical thinkers who can become pro-active participants.

However, for too many Latinos, the public educational system is a hurdle to high for them to jump. Latinos have become the largest minority in the United States, and their presence has been felt in recent political campaigns in the United States. In close to 30% of all congressional districts, Latinos account for more than 10% or more of the population. The turning point in the Presidential elections of 2000 turned more than a few heads in Washington. In the past New York City mayoral campaigns, Latinos appeared weak and undecisive when Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer lost his primarial race to Mark Green, but they regrouped and formed alliances with African-Americans to support Mayor Bloomberg's win.

With long-time veteran Latino politicians in major US cities and Congress, superstars in music and movies leading the way, the new millenium promises to open new windows of opportunity in the United States. The educational system has failed to meet the particular demands and interests of Latinos; this works against those who want to follow the footsteps of a few megastars who have become successful in a world locked out to them in the past. These doors have opened because of their commitment to hard-work, perseverance and education. How can these doors remain open if education serves a community that grows in number but diminishes in knowledge?

Both major political parties in the United States have shown interest in immigration, health care and tax benefits. How about education? Let us be specific and spear-headed about ways in which to improve academic standards for Latinos. Standards that need to be enhanced with vision and knowledge on how to improve interest in reading and writing. Only then will they have an opportunity of growth to earn a degree and receive what by grace has already been granted to us all, an education.