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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.

Latino Vote 2012: Immigration vs. Education (2)
By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright

There has been a constant discussion concerning the issues that affect the largest minority in the United States, and politicians, educators and scholars agree that immigration and education are the two most dominant today. With fear of deportation comes social isolation, and fewer academic and economic opportunities. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a college graduate will earn more over a lifetime period than a high school graduate. According to Jay P. Greene, a senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute, the national graduation rate for the class of 1998 was 71%. For white students, the rate was 78%, while it was 56% for African-American students and 54% for Latino students. The trend has varied little since.
Although Latinos are a strong electoral voice in key political focal points in many major cities across America, politicians from both sides of the arena have centered the discussion of issues that concern them to one: immigration. It is highly unlikely that they will turn their focus to other issues without the voice of the Latino people. Polls continue to favor President Barack Obama alongside all of his four possible GOP counterparts. With the encouragement of polls and political advisors, there may be very little interest to change the scale of value in the discussion to the education of Latinos. The only way that education will be included as a “must” issue in discussions in national debates is that we Latino leaders speak out ourselves and stand up for the education of our children.
Yes, there are programs like Educational Achievement Services, Inc. (EAS) founded in 1994 by Consuelo Castillo-Kickbush that motivate, encourage and develop the next generation of leaders. EAS has impacted more than one-million children today and has received national acclaim and recognition for its underlying commitment to the education of Latinos. There is no doubt that there are dozens of organizations like EAS that are key in social transformation, one child at a time. But there is a dire need to make public statements of what organizations like this one and others are zealously doing for education in America.
During the plight of the Latino community in the 1960’s, the Bilingual Education Reform was born, but an economy in recession and a less involved Latino leadership paved the way for the English Only policies of the 1990’s. The Bilingual Education Act, Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1968 (or BEA) was legislation that recognized the needs of Limited English Speaking Ability (LESA) students, but the election of President George Bush in 2000, 9/11 and the War on Terror relegated the discussion of national issues to the economy, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2008, the Latino vote was overwhelmingly for President Obama, but four years later, the education of Latinos is still not an issue of national debate in political circles. Both major political parties have taken advantage of the silence of Latino leaders. Let me not to the marriage of true minds ignore the fact---immigration is key, but education is the underlying core issue that will not only have an effect on us today but our future generations as well. An illegal immigrant lives in constant fear, but a high school dropout is at risk of not only being deported but having to live an entire lifetime without the opportunities that all of us were granted in America’s public school system.