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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.

Taking Latino Generations to a Supernatural Dimension

by Manuel Hernández

In a universal world where the “natural world” governs many of
our educational outcomes, it is necessary that we Latino leaders take
the present and up and coming generations to live within a supernatural
dimension. For American Latinos to have a leadership role in the world
of American politics, education, higher education, science, computers,
cyber-space, high-tech and global enterprise, the American educational
system must produce supernatural leaders who can become pro-active
visionaries in all institutions in the United States. Although Latinos
have gained ground in sports, fashion, music and entertainment, they
continue to lag behind in education. Thus, a transition from the natural
to the supernatural dimension is essential. Only then will we obtain
results and take the Latino generations into a supernatural dimension
where academic results become part of our every day lives. In education,
results are measured and exhibited in charts, diagrams, statistics and

However, for too many Latinos, the American educational system is
a hurdle to high for them to jump. The supernatural dimension demands
that we go beyond statistics. The “natural world” depicts a reality, but
it is up to all of us to awaken and believe in ourselves. Going beyond
the natural may seem highly unlikely, but concrete and specific gains in
education are the result of hard work, dedication, motivation and
inspiration. When Jaime Escalante decided to go beyond traditional
paradigms and prepare Latino teens in East Los Angeles for the Advanced
Placement Exams, the system labeled him a fool. But when his redefining
work transcended and obtained results, even the system became a believer,
and the reality was overwhelmed by the supernatural.
The United States Census Bureau expects the number of Latinos to
almost double from 35 million to 63 million by 2030. Latinos will make
up 25 percent of the kindergarten–12th grade population by 2025. There
is no doubt that Latinos are the fastest growing minority and represent
a valuable and integral part of the United States. But Latinos are 13
percent of the population, and yet a mere 6 percent in higher education.
In many states, Latinos have the highest dropout rate and the lowest
test scores, and many are not prepared to enter institutions of higher
learning. At the present, only 17 percent of Latino fourth-graders at
the national level read at their grade level, and the percentage is even
lower in mathematics. As a consequence, Latinos have become aware that
the educational development of their community is intrinsically related
to their struggles to achieve economic, social and political justice in
the United States of America. But we Latinos must begin to cast away
traditional ways of thinking and take our children to a different level
where we govern ourselves by what we believe in not by what we see with
the natural eye.

The assessment and causes are the same for Latinos across America.
The strategies governors, mayors and school administrators are
implementing are different, but the mirror of assessment does not
reflect tangible, definite and transcending results. Why? The process of
improving educational standards begins with Latino parents. Many Latino
families who lack the resources must be empowered to address their
children’s needs. Latinos support public education, but they are seeking
strategies to improve the education of their children. For teens to
make progress in higher education registration, it is imperative that
they receive the educational opportunities that in the past have not
been available to them. Why not take advantage of the so-called Latino
vote momentum to sway the disussion towards education? Without education,
the ever-growing population risks its voice in America.
Educational opportunities become available when we begin acting
upon our faith. When we let trifles govern our mindsets, children
suffer the consequences. Instead of an on-going and endless futile
debate on who is responsible, what language should we speak or what
party represents the voice of our communities, let us build and
construct upon our values and strengths. The walls of Jericho seemed
invincible, but an unpractical but supernatural strategy brought down
what naturally seemed impossible.

Declaring the supernatural will take us not only to believe but
also to do and act on behalf of our children. It is not the work of one,
but one will need to reconstruct and redesign a strategy that will make
the difference and enhance educational standards for Latino children
and other Americans as well. Only in the supernatural will the present
educational assessment displayed in charts and statistics become part of
the past. The transition from one level to the next is a process in
itself. After anguish, pain and sorrow are buried, a whole new dimension
where the supernatural reigns and a new educational horizon surfaces
are the outcomes of the sacrifice and efforts of all.