Who speaks and Who speaks not?
by Manuel Hernández
To speak or not to speak English or Spanish that is the
question. Latinos have once again brought up the dilemma of
and who speaks not English or Spanish. As the language debate
into heights yet unknown, truth is that the education of Latinos
is in a
state of national crisis. According to US Census numbers,
one in eight Americans is Latino. The Latino population augments
second while the education boom diminishes by the hour. We
should shift gears and understand that the language issue
is a reality,
but its impact must be placed in its macro-context: education.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education reveal a
gruesome discovery. Twenty-five percent of Latinos do not
school, compared to 15% of the national average. According
preliminary interim study released by scholars, Latino teens
likely to graduate from high school and that less than half
register in college. As the Latino population continues to
grow to 16
percent of the total population by 2020, the end results for
America may be catastrophic. The U.S. Census Bureau expects
of Latinos to almost double from 35 million to 63 million
Latinos will make up 25 % of the kindergarten–12th grade population
2025. The economic consequences of poorly educated students
disastrous for the country as a whole. As a predominantly
culture, we can only look forward to the integrity of language
Latinos focus on the educational issues that enhance our rights
our cherished tongue.
Education should be a Latino priority. In a boxing match,
opponents study each other’s weakness. When that is discovered,
takes advantage while the other loses the fight in a step-by-step
process. Muhammad Ali spent eight rounds educating himself
Foreman’s weakness. We all know what happened after that.
has been examined, revealed and exposed. Will we rise to the
lose the fight by knockout In Francois Grosjean’s Life with
Languages, he defines code switching as “the alternate use
of two or
more languages in the same utterance or conversation”(145).
and academics have recognized the use of two languages as
with a high degree of competence, does it really matter if
we speak more
Spanish than English and vice-versa? Let us use the same reason
passion to sustain our positions in education.
Both major American political parties have shown interest
immigration, health care, homeownership and tax benefits.
education? Let us be specific in ways to improve academic
Latinos. Are we going to design a proposal that will meet
the demands of
our teen population? Will we support bilingual education or
English proficiency programs? Will we educators agree on how
consolidate academic standards? Will we Latino parents leave
of our homes and get involved in parent’s associations in
answer to these questions and other educational issues of
importance are more than just a language matter. The educational
are many but with a vision to win, we consolidate our children
disciple them in the process and send them as leaders for
our up and
coming generations tomorrow.
The supernatural growth of the United States Latino population
brings forth more interesting yet unanswered questions. What
projects and proposals will be created to empower American
face critical social, economic and political issues? In crime,
pregnancy, domestic violence, drugs and other areas, Latinos
scores. The turn around and restoration must come within the
community. The alternatives must come from we Latino educators,
administrators, academics and students.For Latinos to have
role in the world of cyber-space, high-tech and academics,
educational system must produce critical thinkers who can
participants. However, for too many Latinos, our educational
a hurdle to high for them to jump. With the upgrading of SAT’s
school state exams, we Latino leaders must revise our priorities
prepare our children for the present and future. While music
entertainment take center stage in our living rooms, our children
behind in school. We are the largest minority in population,
smallest minority in higher education. Who speaks and who
English or Spanish? Spanish or English? Is that the question?
is the key, and language is the vehicle. Without the key,
we will not
ride the vehicle.