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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.

By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright
(Professor of English at the University of Phoenix PR Campus and English Program Facilitator for the Fajardo School District)

August 28th, 1963, marked a new era on the historical calendar for equal rights for African Americans and all minorities as well. Martin Luther King's , "I Have A Dream" speech in the shadow of Lincoln's Memorial a century after the Abolition of Slavery foreshadowed the events that America is living today with the election and reelection of Barack Obama. The struggle for equal rights is still present today and will remain with us tomorrow. In 2000, Latinos became the largest minority in the United States. Five decades after the greatest speech of the 20th century, Latinos are denied the opportunity to partake in the so-called "American Dream". Without a quality education, there is no dream.
Just like African Americans, Latinos are entitled to receive a better and improved quality education. There is an unrecognizable "cultural difference problem" (Models of Teaching, p.413) in America today. The Latino school population continues to grow at unprecedented levels, and their specific and concrete academic needs are not fully being attended. Cultural differences in the classroom are an advantage for the culturally competent teacher and enhance the academic development of all children.
The learning styles of Latino children are tied to individual differences and cultural diversity. Curriculum development should find reading approaches to bridge the gap every classroom day not only during Hispanic Heritage Month. A typical course syllabus for a high school student in a heavily Latino school populated district will without a doubt feature the American and British classics. Why not create bridges of literary analysis to enhance identity and pave the way for the development of literacy by integrating culturally relevant literature? A mirror of the people will not only create cultural awareness but boost reading comprehension and provide the gateway to further literary analysis.
A half a century ago Martin Luther King recognized that America needed to transform its mindset. Today we are moving forward and racial equality has come a long way. An improved and better equipped curriculum is the mirror of that mindset, but there are "miles to go" before we sleep. With the Administration's recent legislative stand on immigration, millions of more Latinos will enroll in the American public school system in the up and coming years. Are we ready and willing to receive them? The struggle for a quality education is an essential part of that dream. Equal rights and equal opportunities can only be achieved with a quality education. Latino education is a dream, but a focused, driven and guided education can really make a difference in a child, family, community, city and a nation.