Note: This program is no longer active.
As the number of Latino youth in the United States increases, there is a critical shortage of people who are prepared and certified to teach students who are learning English. Less than half of the country’s 3.8 million children who are learning English are being served in bilingual or English as a second language programs – and even fewer are enrolled in well-designed, well implemented programs taught by certified teachers who speak their language.
It is against this backdrop that Alianza flourished. In 1998, the Intercultural Development Research Association and the Mexican and American Solidarity Foundation created a model teacher preparation and leadership development program with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. As a result, a true alliance was formed that transcended individual relationships and causes transformations in individuals and institutions. This has been the legacy of Alianza.
“The normalistas value learning about the
U.S. education system and, of course, the opportunity to improve their English language skills. The regular students are valuing the opportunity to improve their Spanish language skills. They highlight the harmonious and open interaction that exists between the two groups and the opportunity to learn Spanish as well as other cultural traits from México.”
– Alianza educator
This binational effort enabled more than 300 teachers to become leaders in bilingual and bicultural settings. Within the first four years, 70 Alianza graduates were positively impacting more than 6,000 children in bilingual classrooms and reducing the shortage of bilingual education teachers in Texas alone by 10 percent. Participating universities in several states expanded their bilingual curricula to include courses of study and practical experiences that enhance the abilities of teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, and community leaders to collaborate effectively. Alianza also enhanced the capacity of Latino and non-Latino students and educators to speak Spanish and work in cross-cultural environments – abilities that are essential to success in the 21st century.
Alianza targeted teacher aides who are bilingual, traditional students in teacher-preparation programs in universities, and normalistas who are legal U.S. residents who were teachers in México. Alianza also equipped educational systems to prepare teachers and other educators to perform effectively in bilingual, binational and bicultural contexts.
“Teaching and understanding the bilingual student in the
United States are enriched by creating binational collaboratives where teachers and universities exchange pedagogical views and ideas.”
– Alianza educator
This partnership bridged countries, cultures, organizations, world views and experiences. See a list of the Alianza partners.
The project conducted research to support universities in their reform efforts. See also articles about Alianza from the IDRA Newsletter.
Alianza tapped human, social, and economic capital. See Alianza: Our Legacy and Our Future (PDF)