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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.

Latino Education: Neglect and Overlook: By Manuel Hernandez

There is a problem in Latino education-a problem rooted not from parent
involvement or lack of, violence, domestic violence, teenage pregnancy,
dysfunctional families, cultural and language barriers, discrimination
and social injustice. It is a problem of generational clashes that come
into conflict because of lack of knowledge, neglect and overlook. There
is no doubt that Latinos believe that the improvement of the American
school system is the highest priority right now, but the 2005 school
environment in America is reigned by outdated views and policies which
were designed for students with a different set of experiences than the
recently arrived Latino student of the 21st century.
Whether we decide to confront the problem or not is not the issue
rather how, when and where the consequences of our indecision and
inaction will affect us all. It took a tragic moment in history to make
us aware that homeland security cannot be taken for granted. When I
worked as an English as a Second Language High School teacher at James
Monroe High School in the Bronx, New York from 1988-1991, the recently
arrived immigrant teen was immediately received by a culturally aware
assistant principal who made every human effort possible to make the
first school experience in America a welcomed one. Students were
interviewed, tested, evaluated and placed in ESL levels where well-prepared
and trained teachers polished and assessed language skills on a daily
basis. By their junior year, many of these kids were already reading and
writing at their grade level requirements. In 2005, the great majority
of these programs are non-existent and the transition to mainstream
English courses is sudden and forceful.
Latinos are aware that the social, financial and educational
development of their community is unequivocally related to their
struggles to achieve economic, social and political justice in the
United States of America. However, Latino children continue to struggle
academically and do not meet the academic demands of city, state and
national testing requirements. Although the demographics and ethnicities
of the 21st century Latino immigrant have changed, the periods of
adjustment, identity collision and culture shock stages are the same now
as was in 1988. With the Latino population growing at a quiet yet giant
pace, how much time do we have to continue to neglect and overlook
Latino education?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a college graduate
will earn more and have more career opportunities over a lifetime period
than a high school graduate. If Latinos are less likely to graduate
from high school but continue to grow in population, America has an
economic situation that needs immediate attention and hands-on
intervention. The Latino people have great potential to make an impact
and change the course of American history, but the current neglect and
overlook has clouded a vision for the American Latino population.
Latino education is the current core issue that will ultimately
set the stage for the Latino contribution to the United States of
America. America has taught us to dream and believe in ourselves. That
dream which is “deeply rooted in the American dream”(Martin Luther King)
demands an education. There are new free tickets to watch the show.
Latino education is the ticket that will open the doors to a whole new
world of opportunities. Let us not continue to neglect and overlook that
which will benefit our generations and us as well.