Knowledge and Education: Keys to Latino Salvation
by Manuel Hernández
When I attended grade school at Winfield L. Morse in Tarrytown,
New York, my teachers, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Parker, Mrs. Biazzo
Russo emphasized and stressed the importance of education.
As a typical
American boy, I learned to read and love the classics at a
age. Tarrytown, today called Sleepy Hollow, is small but rich
and pride. It is known for the setting of Washington Irving’s
Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. Tarrytown’s junior high
the name of the influential American writer, and its high
named after the legendary headless horseman. In terms of language,
spoke English at school, but Spanish was the primary language
house and at church. I lived in a household where two cultures
languages became one. There was no fuss or discussion about
when to use
English or Spanish. It was natural for me to speak English
friends and Spanish with my family. I was just another typical
boy who spoke in two languages. My family, teachers, school
Louie were instrumental in my up-bringing and education. They
I did not perish because of lack of knowledge.
In Erika Robles last week’s article on hispanicvista.com,
states that “Education is the only way to succeed in a competitive
country like the United States of America.” This is a blunt
a cold truth. The sudden and unexpected growth of the United
Latino population brings forth interesting yet unanswered
will the present and future governments address the educational
in the Latino community? When will we Latino leaders unite
as one to
create a public educational policy to present to both major
parties? What specific projects and proposals will be created
American Latinos to face critical social, economic and educational
issues? The importance of education is often underminded by
those who have the power to attend the current high school
drop out rate.
For Latinos and everyone in America, education and knowledge
key to salvation.
In crime, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, drugs and
areas, Latinos have high marks. The turn around and restoration
come within the Latino community. In order to sustain themselves
help out at home, many Latinos teens enter the workforce at
a very young
age and do not continue higher education studies. Two of my
Monroe High School, Julio and Judith, left their household
last semester in school, attended classes during the day and
from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am to pay for rent, bills and food.
support by teachers and friends, they graduated from high
is the story of many of our teens today.
For Latinos to have an active role in the world of cyber-space,
high-tech and global entrepeneurship, the American educational
must produce critical thinkers who can become pro-active participants.
However, for too many Latinos, our educational system is a
high for them to jump. With the upgrading of SAT’s and high
exams, we Latino leaders must revise our priorities and prepare
children for the present and future. While music and entertainment
center role in our living rooms, our children fall behind
in school. We
are the largest minority in population, but the smallest minority
higher education. Like bears, Latinos hybernate and risk a
place in American history.
Republicans and Democrats have shown interest in immigration,
health care, tax benefits and reducing the deficit. How about
We may have to do it ourselves. Wake-up Latino! Let us be
about ways in which to improve interest in reading and writing.
Latino astronauts being trained for the next shuttle space
our in a position that we cannot take for granted. Academic
need to be enhanced with vision and knowledge on how to identify,
and improve our children’s interest in all subject areas.
need more role models to go back to school and talk and interact
our children. It is time to design an educational agenda that
the expectations of all within the Latino community. Only
then will they
have an opportunity of growth to earn a degree and receive
what has been already granted to us all, an education.