Defender of the civil and human rights of Latinos in Wisconsin, he has promoted bilingual and multicultural education.
We highlight in this issue Dr. Luis “Tony” Báez. For over fifty years, Dr. Báez has promoted and defended the civil and human rights of Latinos and other s, especially of children and youth affected by educational systems.
In Wisconsin, he has promoted bilingual and multicultural education, and has helped established school-and college-based programs, and opportunities for the professional growth of Latinos.
Further, he has promoted the idea that bilingualism and multiculturalism is good for all of us.
Dr. Báez is constantly learning about the great educators of the past and present, especially in Latin America. These humanist thinkers fought for schools based on a learner-centered pedagogy, as opposed to the austere and alienating focus on a pedagogy that suppresses the intelligence and creative capacity of the child, destroys the disposition to learn, and wrongly measures intelligence through standardized tests.
This is an approach that has not worked. Dr. Báez has called for its end, supplanting it with arts, music,
languages. Growth in reading, writing, math, science skills, and other skills will follow, he says.
Similarly, he proposes a humanizing re-education of parents and adults to stop destructive and trauma causing child rearing. He promotes a decolonizing pedagogy that rejects injustice and racial-social inequality, and which embraces learning that is fun, promotes peace, not hate, a love for life, and a safe and promising democratic world.
Dr. Báez has a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is a scholar who has taught in schools and higher education. He is a former Vice-President of the Milwaukee Public Schools Board; former member of the Executive Committee of the Wisconsin Association of School Board Members; and former Chair of the National Latino Educational Research and Policy (NLERAP). He is also the former Executive Director of Centro Hispano Milwaukee; former Provost and Chief Academic Officer of the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), where he held various positions and created college level bilingual programs. He was Provost at the bilingual Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College in Bronx (City University of New York); and Coordinator of the National Origin Desegregation Assistance Center at the University Milwaukee-Wisconsin.
Dr. Baez has traveled to other countries to speak on educational issues; plays the guitar, sings of social justice and performs Latino poetry. He appears regularly in podcasts, radio and TV programs, and was founder in Milwaukee of a Spanish TV program: Adelante! winner of an Emmy Award in 2013.
He is also the recipient of many awards including the Martin Luther King Heritage Award for Social Justice. In his name, the Wisconsin Association for Bilingual Education annually offers the “Tony Báez Leadership and Advocacy Award.” In 2020, he was the recipient of the prestigious international OHTLI award by Mexico for his advocacy for the rights of Latinos and bilingualism in the U.S.