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Dr. Luis “Tony” BáezFeatured

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.

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The Importance of an Early Childhood EducationFeatured

Early childhood programs are an influential approach for school readiness. They are design to establish a critical foundation for their academic success and future well-being. Teachers and staff are trained to recognize individual needs, skills and abilities enabling them to address specific needs as children’s body and brain are undergoing rapid development.

The early years of a child offer opportunities to prevent, prepare, motivate and instruct under a healthy routine and structure. Children are able to develop good habits essential for their school experience and successful future.

DE COLORES DAYCARE… Our Beginnings

As a young mother of two small children, 18 years ago, I was faced with one of the most challenging decisions a parent has to make, the search for daycare. I am grateful for my mother’s help in the consuming task of research, enquires and visits on our search for a daycare that would fit our needs and at the same time fulfill my motherly expectations; however, we found ourselves where we first began.

The disappointments and frustrations we experienced led us to one of the most fruitful decisions we have made; the decision to open our own daycare center. A different kind of research was about to begin… how to find our way into opening our own daycare center, and that’s where our story and De Colores Daycare dream began.

In 2004, both my mother and I enrolled in the required courses to open our own daycare center and a year later in 2005, we opened the doors of De Colores Daycare Center in our family home keeping up to the maximum capacity of eight children. Two years later, in June of 2007 we acquired the building where our Center is located today, on Muskego Avenue.

My mother and I were challenged with the need to return to school to obtain an Associate Degree in Early Childhood. For that purpose, in 2008 we enrolled at the Milwaukee Area Technical College where we graduated from in 2011 with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood with an additional Administrator’s Credential.

It took three years of sacrifices in maintaining the center in good standing while attending night school, but with the support of our families and our determination to offer the best of ourselves, we pursued the dream of growing and expanding De Colores Daycare Center

Today, after 17 years of serving our community, we attribute our success to the great team-work and dedicated commitment of our long-term teachers who day by day share our vision, goals and passions. In 17 years, it has been our experience that word-of-mouth has been our best marketing, a fact of which we are so grateful and proud. We know this could not have been achieved without the contribution of our loyal community. Presently we have a capacity of 28 pre-school aged children including infants and toddlers and a total of seven teachers under my direction.

We diligently worked through the pandemic months and followed all CDC guidelines. We are participants of the State of Wisconsin Youngstar Program, which rates different areas of quality within the daycare operation. Daycares are rated from one to five stars and De Colores Daycare Center has consistently rated four stars, something that sounds easier than it is.

We recognize that every child is in need of a solid foundation in preparation for school, and we are determined to provide and empower each child with the necessary tools to succeed. We take pride in our team-work and the best part is that we get to enjoy what we do every day. We sincerely care for every single child that walks through our doors and while we do this, we help fulfill the needs of their parents or guardians.

De Colores Daycare has made a difference in the lives of many children throughout the past 17 years, yet, we continue to find ways to better serve as we plant seeds in the young lives under our charge. My mother, Socorro Villalobos and I, Ana Rojas, are grateful for the support of our awesome team and the community we serve.

Written By Ana Rojas

Owner/Administrator

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