On Education and Training

Ms. Plascencia in a meeting where scarcely 10 people were gathered in a very humble home in the south side of Waukegan. /Photo: Courtesy L. Vázquez

Ms. Plascencia in a meeting where scarcely 10 people were gathered in a very humble home in the south side of Waukegan. /Photo: Courtesy L. Vázquez

Dear Editor, During the last three weeks I attended several events that were very enlightening like the CAG meeting (Community Advisory Group) of May 18 at the Bowen Park. This group is involved in many projects that have to do with the environment including the Waukegan waterfront among other much worthy activities. Nevertheless, there were two activities and a reading event that brought back to the forefront of my mind my deep concerns for our minority community. A) I attended a play in Chicago at The Looking glass Theater called Beyond Caring. (Lookingglasstheatre.org/REFLECT). The invitation came as a courtesy of the Chicago Workers Collaborative, Waukegan Office. “Beyond Caring” is a raw, real life depiction of the kind of suffering that the Temporary Worker of the cities and suburbs of this beautiful country have to endure. The play was a collaborative work between the Director-Creator Alexander Zeldin, and eight organizations of the Chicagoland area. Most of the temporary workers depicted in the play are immigrant, documented, or otherwise. In the temporary workers world we often find many Afro-American workers but the vast majority are Hispanics that have come to this country “seeking a new lifestyle”. Regardless, it is a very tough, unforgiving world for those involved. B) I had also the opportunity to attend a special screening of the movie “Betting on Zero” directed by Ted Braun and featuring several Hispanic people that have lost thousands of dollars in what seems like a pyramid scheme. The idea behind of the make-yourself rich movie, is based on a method of recruiting people that invest their hard earned money in what seems a sure fire business, that is: duplicating the number of paying-people recruited. The more people you recruit the more money you make. That reminds me of a type of equations that are called exponential equations where the values of Y grows exponentially. It also reminds me of something that I studied in biology: Bacterial growth. Bacteria, like in Escherichia Coli, the colony duplicates every 15 minutes and it grows to staggering quantities in matter of hours and days. This is the type of picture people are sold: more people, more money you make. Unfortunately our Hispanic people rarely see this money or their own money. Sad story. C) I had the chance to read an editorial from the News-Sun from the week-end edition of May 6-7, 2017(The News-Sun, Editorial, May 7, 2017, “D. 60 Chief’s short…”) this editorial, from my own perspective, presents a negative, myopic view on the re-negotiated contract of Ms. Theresa Plascencia as a District 60 School Superintendent. Ms. Plascencia has been hired as a new superintendent with the hope of curing an ailing school district which has been in a desperate situation for tens of years. The editorial is very critical of Ms. Plascencia salary, it wants changes without giving concessions, without looking at the potential that a caring, intelligent and committed new superintendent is bringing to Waukegan. I met Ms. Plascencia in a meeting where scarcely 10 people were gathered in a very humble home in the south side of Waukegan. A home in a neighborhood where no other past superintendent has gone in many, many years, if ever. She went there to hear our people, see their frustrations and to listen to their hopes! Again, during my forty years in Waukegan or environs, I had never seen something similar, a superintendent visiting forgotten places like these. This what being humble and sympathetic means and this is what being professional requires! It is fair to pay a commensurate salary for motivated, well-meaning employees. The three different cases presented here, apparently do not show any correlation nor they seem to bear any resemblance with each other, nevertheless, education or training is at the core of all of them. In the first case, A) deprivation of education tend to keep people locked in the bottom rungs of the success ladder. The second case, B) shows the need for a better education in mathematics and science. The third case, A) shows that gender or race are not in the way of a very successful career if you choose the right field of study and you work very hard to be the best you can be. To the high school graduate: As we come to the end of another school year, I want to congratulate you, as a Hispanic graduate from any of the high schools in our readership area, and we all hope that a college degree is in the priority list of all the things that you plan to accomplish. It will be good for you, your family and the extended Hispanic community. Best wishes! Sincerely, Luis Vázquez