Hispanic Heritage month presents cultural issues

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    TCU’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage month continues this week with two of three scheduled educational series hosted by faculty members. Cecilia Silva, a professor in the School of Education, will lead a discussion at noon Tuesday in the lobby of the Brown-Lupton Student Center on education in the Hispanic community.

    Sophomore social work major Daisy Delgado is a member of the Hispanic Heritage month planning committee and helped organize the educational series.

    “For the Latino population, education is a very big area,” Delgado said. “A lot of people argue that teaching bilingual education in schools is a waste of time, but we need to know more than one language, especially if it is one that millions in the U.S. speak.”

    According to the national census Web site, Texas has the second highest number of Hispanics in the nation, and the third highest percentage of Hispanics in its population.

    Delgado said education was the major issue the committee agreed needed to be discussed.

    “Education was one of the first topics we thought of,” Delgado said.

    According to the Department of Education Web site, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said one in every five children under the age of 18 is Hispanic.

    According to the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, the English language learners population is the fastest growing K-12 population in the United States. However, in the 2001-2002 school year, Texas school districts were unable to fill 26 percent of open secondary education bilingual/ESL positions.

    Delgado said the committee was eager to incorporate TCU faculty into their presentations. She said there was an immediate response from faculty to the committee’s request for them to share opinions and experiences through the series.

    The second of three discussions will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Student Center lobby. Juan Rojo, an assistant professor of Spanish, will discuss the views and stereotypes associated with immigration in the United States.

    “Immigration can be a very volatile topic,” Rojo said. “No one really looks at the issue for what it is.”

    Rojo said he will focus his discussion on the positive sides to immigration. He said he will be discussing the contributions of Mexicans and Latin Americans to the U.S. culture.

    Delgado said she can relate to the subject because her parents immigrated from Mexico.

    “It is something that affects me on a daily basis,” Delgado said.

    The educational discussions are intended to help TCU students better understand their community, Delgado said.

    “A lot of students did not grow up in a community that is diverse,” Delgado said.

    She said the objective of these programs is to educate the TCU population and better inform students and faculty of Hispanic culture.

    Delgado said many people at TCU have preconceived notions about the Hispanic community. She said that the programs in the remainder of the heritage month celebration are intended to correct those notions that are false or better inform those with previous ideas on their way of life.