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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: The Numbers Speak For Themselves:
By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona and Cristobal Cardona copyright@2006

According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 42.7 million Latinos in the United States. If we were to count the residents of Puerto Rico, the Latino population is approximately 46 plus million. That makes them roughly 14 % of the population in the United States of America. The U.S. Census projections place them at a strong 24 % by the year 2050. That is one out of every four Americans will be Latino. The numbers are overwhelming and without a doubt present a series of challenges to the Latino nation.
How can we improve our Latino population in colleges and universities across America? The Census places Latinos at 11 % of the total college population. That makes them 3 % lower than the 14%, which makes up the total Latino population. The numbers speak for themselves and highlight our weakest link of all: education. There cannot be any real progress made without an educated constituency. Ignorance is essentially the consequence of lack of knowledge. Education imparts knowledge and is the key that opens the doors to locked opportunities unavailable to the uneducated.
I know that these numbers have been heard and shared before, but we must do something now before the years go by and find us waiting for the next Ricky Martin or Marc Anthony to come around to start a new entertainment boom. This is not about singing and dancing. It is about the education of our children and their quality of life. How can we decisively stand up for what we believe in? How do we get a hold of ourselves to understand that we must cast away our petty differences now, before history undermines our legacy as a people.
First and foremost, there has to be a united national Latino educational coalition with representation from all fifty states. Second, that united coalition must design an educational vision that will set forth a national educational agenda. Third, the national agenda must be presented to Congress, debated, revised and forwarded to the President of the United States for approval. This national agenda must be sent to the United States Department of Education as a mandate to establish and implement immediately. It is not that simple, but we Latinos cannot continue to be led by educational plans that have not been supported by us.
The numbers speak for themselves. We are just three years away from the first decade to pass by, and we continue to stall and lag behind. There is so much emphasis being placed on personal accomplishments in sports, politics and entertainment that we forget that an educated population will become not just the one or two faces in music, Congress and on the playing field, but the ones who can change policies and the destiny of our next generations to come. If we do not speak out now, we are just conceding to the outdated education models that our youths have to endure in the inner cities and ghettos. The measure of a great nation is how much emphasis and care we give to the underprivileged of society, because as they become more empowered, the more the whole nation becomes empowered.

(Cristobal Cardona, an ex-student of Manuel Hernandez-Carmona collaborated in this article)