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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.

The Educational System in the United States: Is it equipped to educate minorities?

By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright

The minority preschool, elementary, secondary and high school population continues to grow and is a vital factor in education today. According to Education Week, the minority school population from k-12 has surpassed the majority for the first time in history (projected 50.3 percent). As more and more families continue to make the trip to Florida, Texas, California and other states with a steady rise in Latino population, the demographics of schools have changed radically. The minority population grows in numbers, but its numbers have not been met with sufficient strategies that can bridge the gap in their learning process.

Although it is a matter of survival at the beginning of the adjustment process, education is a key value cherished by all minorities, but at the same time, are less likely to receive a quality education than mainstream students. How about those minority students born and brought up in America? How have they been affected by the phenomenon? The inability to meet the growing demands of second language learners versus the increase in the student population is detrimental for those who are in the initial stages of the development of second language skills and in dire need of a quality education. When the minority lags academically but rises in student population, the loopholes can become frightful, and the quality of education for all students is at stake.

There are discussions throughout the states across America that are making attempts to train and bring educators up to date with the needs of minority students, but the increasing numbers of students outgains the beginning stages of academic support. There are reports of at least 1000 families moving from Puerto Rico to the United States every week. With the political outbreak in Venezuela, there are record breaking number of Venezuelans also coming to the United States. About 75% of these families are moving to Florida. As a result, schools are purchasing more portables and are hiring more teachers but have taken lightly the academic process that these students have when entering classrooms.

The United States Department of Education has preferred to delegate its leadership role to state governments. As a consequence, states are scrambling and improvising to meet the demands of a growing student population but without a vision-those efforts are left without purpose, guidance and direction. Why not facilitate and create a vision and allow states to construct their blueprint according to the needs of each one? There are viable strategies available but not enough decisiveness to foster them. Is the educational system in The United States equipped to educate the enormous wave of incoming minority students this year and the years to come? Some questions are best left unanswered.