HispanicVista Columnists

Latinos and The Power of Education

By Manuel Hernandez

       A door opens when a key is used to unlock it. Education is the key that unlocks the door to a new world of opportunities. Without education, humanity merely survives and risks its existence. Research and statistics have supported the fact that a quality education is much more than a fixed set of norms, rules and regulations. In the dawn of a new administration come new ideas, new strategies and new methodologies. A new beginning is the motor that ignites the power of education.

     The importance of education is often misconstrued by those who have the power to implement strategies and initiatives to improve the current high school drop-out rate. Without a high school diploma, Latinos are prevented from obtaining a college education and a prospective career. With high voting turnouts and population statistics, Latinos have gained ground and continue to nullify Census experts and pollsters alike. But there are less Latino graduate students across colleges as compared to other minorities.

        How do we try to comprehend the power of education and its role in America?  An action plan is needed. The educational crisis is a problem of implementation. When a team of academics wrote an Education Report for the President of The United States of America in 2004, they found similar patterns in the assessment of education of Latinos in America. There is no easy solution. It is a process, but the new administration has already received a plan about ways in which to improve academic standards for Latinos. Standards need to be enhanced with vision and knowledge on how to improve interest in reading and writing, math and science.

         Sociologists predict that by the year 2050 half of the United States population will be Latino. These are huge numbers, but they do not mean anything in mainstream America. As the numbers continue to develop and grow (45 million Latinos), the causes augment too. By the end of the decade, if a plan is not implemented, the war on terror will take second place to the true nature of the educational dilemma in America. For eight rounds, Muhammad Ali studied George Foremanís weaknesses (assessment), and then he set forth a plan and implemented a strategy.  Why wait another hundred days?

    There will always be time, but the time is now. We may not have eight more rounds to assess, evaluate and investigate. The power of education must not be underestimated. A better educated community means less social problems at all levels. Let us do it. Our children and generations deserve a better today not tomorrow.

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Manuel Hernandez, a contributing columnist to HispanicVista.com (www.hispanicvista.com), lives in Puerto Rico where he teaches school. He has a B.A. and MA Teaching English. He is a candidate for a PhD. He has just published a textbook titled, Latino/a Literature in The English Classroom (Editorial Plaza Mayor, 2003). For more information, e-mail him at mannyh32@puertoricans.com .