Make Us Your Puerto Rico Homepage!

Welcome to

Bookmark and Share

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: A Personal Response
By Manuel Hernandez copyright@2006

Potential is what all human beings have deep inside their hearts. When potential is born (comes out), it becomes and through experience transforms itself into success. But it needs to be developed, processed and placed in action, before it can be declared a success. Just like the human body, Latino education has many parts (cells). However, just like the body functions with many cells for its mobilization, Latino education needs contributions from all its parts before it can be proclaimed a success. Latino education’s potential is the responsibility of all those cells (teachers, parents, administrators, counselors, school boards, etc.) acting and working as one for the sole benefit of our children and the generations to come.
There is no doubt that the United States Department of Education is focused on achieving its academic goals. But it is not exclusively the work of the Government to set forth a plan to help every student reach high standards, to reduce school dropout rate problem among Hispanics and other minorities and to scientifically improve city, national and state testing requirements. The Latino community must work as one to change the course of the education of its children in cities and states across America. The Government will always have its educational priorities and national agenda, but we Latino leaders are the ones called to give back by what grace has been given to us, an education.
The legacy of the social advocates of the 20th century fostered and demanded changes in the American educational system. Thanks to their efforts, Bilingual education was born, but thirty-eight years after its conception, it is now part of American history. But a new century and new centralized policies have changed the priorities of many Latino leaders and the academic outreach of the Latino school population has yet to be defined by those who are the ones ultimately responsible for its outcome.
It is wise to learn from the past, and the efforts of our predecessors taught us that a coordinated and united cell was the key to provoke national change. In the 20th Century, the sacrifice of all transcended the individual agendas of one. There were individuals who lead but depended on the cells within the body to function. Latino giants like Antonia Pantoja in New York City and Jaime A. Escalante in Los Angeles were just two of hundreds of Latino leaders who did what they had to do but always counted on the community for help, assistance and guidance.
How can educational standards today meet the expectations of the largest minority in the United States when the educational curriculum does not represent them as a community? Why aren’t t city, national and state tests reflective or culturally sensitive of Latinos or other large minorities? When will the individual agendas of a few politicians stop getting in the way of the education of our children?
Team sports in America have taught us that one individual is not enough to win a national championship. It took Dwayne Wade three years to fully develop his potential and win a championship, but it was only because he was able to lead a united effort by his team that they won it all. Latino education has made it to the playoffs and has gone beyond the first and even second round of the playoffs but without a team effort there will be no championship. This is only a personal response from part of the team. It is time for Latino education to get its act together and play the game to win; our children deserve that and more. What do you think?