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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.

Latinos and Education in America (Part 1 of a three part series)

by Manuel Hernández

While Latinos and education are at a crossroads to meet objectives, a vision, which will consolidate, disciple and send our children on a greater path is needed to embrace the educational issues that affect Latinos today. Latino children will make up 25 percent of the school population in the United States in twenty-one years. The general consensus is that Latinos are the fastest growing minority in the United States. Although one out of every four children in Americas schools will be Latino, in New York City 37.8 percent is Latino already. By 2025, probably half of the Citys school population may very well be Latino. But in education, Latinos have not been receiving positive numbers. What is the vision and what are the recommendations to enhance the education of Latinos and other Americans as well?

First, employment opportunity programs must be identified and provided. State and city agencies can identify job-training programs for Latino parents. Allocated funding must be increased to involve parents in GED, English as a Second Language, career counseling and community service programs. Enable partnerships with private corporations that serve these communities to provide the funding necessary for such programs. These programs have been implemented in the past, but it is time to rediscover our roots in an organized and well-designed vision. Well-trained and employed parents result in better financial situations for families. Thus, children receive the benefit of an financially stable parent who in return will motivate children to emulate behavior. Opportunities to receive extra-curricular support for city, state and national testing requirements are enhanced. The final outcomes are better grades, higher scores and greater higher education opportunities.

Second, include an age grade-appropriate transitional bilingual education program with a strong English as a Second Language component to new and recent arrivals. Develop defined and delineated identification and placement procedures and carry out specific diagnostic and assessment measures. Incorporate the use of authentic young adult and childrens literature to supplement the classics. If recent and newly arrived immigrant teens and children cannot make a connection with the text, it possesses no fixed and final meaning. As a result, there will be very little possibility of a response, reaction, interpretation and literary analysis.

Last, provide Latino parents with a meaningful voice in their childrens education. The process of improving educational standards begins with Latino parents. Participating in the decisions that affect the education of their children must not only be limited to parent associations in schools. City councils, state assemblies and congress must provide a sound and solid platform, which will provide all children in America with much more than hear say. By hard fought and earned experience, America knows that organizing councils have always proven to be a difficult and challenging task, but the end results are order, objectives and results themselves.

Once the vision is implemented, the ladder of success will facilitate the healing and restoration of American values that have impacted and influenced our nation since its foundation. It is a pledge to educate and empower our children and send them on an envisioned road to promote the educational excellence that all of them deserve. A generation after the historical I Have A Dream has paved the way to I Have A Vision to provide all Americas children with quality education and excellent academic standards.