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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.

Focusing on the Needs of Latino Students (Content Standards)
By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright

Focusing on the needs of Latino students is making an alignment with the content standards (C.S.) and grade level expectations of each state and school community. Although there are different versions, the core values of the book Christians call Bible are the same. Much like those who interpret the Bible, it is the responsibility of state and city school communities to align their content standards with the specific school needs assessment to which they serve. The alignment does not only come in words but in principle. The New York City Board of Education serves a multi-ethnic and diverse school community of millions of students which spread out in five different boroughs. The Department of Education in Puerto Rico serves primarily Puerto Rican students in seventy-eight municipalities organized in twenty-eight mega school districts. Two different school communities with diverse and unique academic interests but both adhere to content standards and grade level expectations.
The content standards provide an academic platform, and school districts and teachers make the interpretation and adjust accordingly. When the C.S. do not meet the expectations of school communities, the results are not only reflected in city and statewide testing but put a strangle hold on student achievement. How can an English teacher from Chicago teach Shakespeare to a recently arrived seventeen year old immigrant from Guatemala? This is the story in hundreds of school districts in cities across America. Thousands of immigrant children who are not only threatened to be deported but lack reading and the mathematical skills needed to pass city and statewide examinations. Knowing the Spanish language at home is not always a guarantee for these students to take what may seem an obviously easy course since the Spanish spoken at home is usually different from the “Castellano” taught at the school. Content Standards must provide for the diverse academic needs assessment of each community. Ever since No Child Left Behind was created in 2001, the school population in most districts across America has changed drastically. The Latino population continues to surge, but the Law has stagnated and must be changed!
Because NCLB has not advanced, Latino students continue to have retention and suspension/expulsion rates that are higher than those of Whites, but lower than those of Blacks. Regardless of the lower numbers of drop outs, Latino students still have higher high school dropout rates and lower high school completion rates than White or Black students. The role of culturally competent teachers has been part of the remarkable strides that have been made in educating Latino students. Research shows that talented and dedicated teachers are the single biggest contributor to the educational development of these children especially in areas where role models are far and few between.
President Barack Obama has encouraged Congress to work towards comprehensive changes in the NCLB 2001 Law. Latino leaders have been shy about Obama’s desire to change the ten year old law. Focusing on the needs of Latino students is making an academic difference to help improve the quality of Latino children. The 21st century has focused America’s eyes on terror, war and the economy. The empowerment of children in America is focusing towards the improvement of the education of Latino children and all American children as well.