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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.

The Latino Agenda in the 2008 Elections: Education
By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright 2007

There has been a lot of talk about the sudden and lasting impact of Latinos in the United States. They have become much more than a trend, phenomenon and a generational boom. The Latino social, financial, political and cultural growth has surpassed all predictions and continues to make a difference in all avenues, roads and pathways of the great American Nation. There are many Latino issues on top of the electoral table, but two are the most dominant today: immigration and education. But without a doubt, education will continue to be the core issue and a frontrunner in the discussion of ideas amongst the hopefuls on both sides of the political highway.

Many would agree that this is a defining moment for the Latino population in the U.S. Los Angeles has its first Latino mayor in over a hundred years. This is a moment in the Latino community, politically, where the community is flourishing and blossoming. The Latino population is 40 million plus and growing by the minute. One out of every five children in the U.S. is now of Hispanic descent. Both major American political parties are scrambling to find strategies on how to approach and attract the so-called Latino vote. It truly is a time to step up, affront and act on behalf of the Latino children who are going to be the leaders of the community tomorrow.

It is very difficult to measure the academic success of Latino children. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, “At every level of schooling educational outcomes differ among native born and immigrant Latinos and between Latinos and other racial and ethnic groups. Measuring those differences and the factors that produce them are critical to understanding the Latino future.” At the same time and in the nick of time, these educational outcomes cannot be taken lightly and should encourage immediate intervention, pre-planned prevention and long-term academic planning.
The highest high school dropout rate amongst minorities is preventing Latinos to attain a higher education degree. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a college graduate will earn more over a lifetime period than a high school graduate. According to recent research done by Jay P. Greene, a senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute, The national graduation rate for the class of 1998 was 71%. For white students the rate was 78%, while it was 56% for African-American students and 54% for Latino students.
If Latinos are less likely to graduate from high school but continue to grow in population, the United States has an economic situation that needs attention. The focus in the national Latino debate has been immigration but the on-going everyday debacle is education. This is no time for promises. It is time for action. The Latino agenda today, tomorrow and in the 2008 elections is education. With no education, there is no vision of the future. The solution to the academic situation lies within the Latino community not in the minds of those who are interested in rocking the boat after January 20, 2009. It is going to take a national Latino effort, but it will help Latinos to continue to make an everlasting effect that not only will impact now but transcend our generations later.