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.
“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.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.
“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
IDRA’s retrospective, Alianza: Our Legacy and Our Future (PDF), gives a reflective and celebratory look at the milestones and the people who began this journey.
“The Power of Partnerships: How Alianza is Reshaping Bilingual Teacher Preparation”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. by Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter (May 2003) pp. 11-12, 14-15.
“Former Secretary of Education for Mexico Honored in San Antonio,” IDRA Newsletter(San Antonio: Intercultural Development Research Association, May 2003) pg. 13.
“Binational Collaboration Prepares New Teachers,” by Linda Cantú, M.A., IDRA Newsletter (February 2002) pp. 1-2, 9-11.
“Carrying Out Our New Promise,” by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., IDRA Newsletter (September 2000) pp.1-2; 10-13.
“Project Alianza – Second Year Milestone,” by Josie Danini Cortez, M.A., IDRA Newsletter (June-July 2000) pp. 7-11.
“A Model Teacher Preparation and Leadership Development Initiative: First Year Findings,” by Josie Danini Supik, M.A., IDRA Newsletter (August 1999) pp. 3-6.
“Project Alianza: Tapping Community Resources for Bilingual Teachers” by Linda Cantu, M.A., IDRA Newsletter (February 1999) pp. 1-2, 8.
“IDRA Receives Grant for Teacher Preparation and Leadership Development Program,” IDRA Newsletter (October 1998) p. 18.
Alianza Teacher Preparation Research Publications
Méxican Normalista Teachers as a Resource for Bilingual Education in the United States: Connecting Two Models of Teachers Preparation
This publication provides an international comparative perspective on teacher preparation in Mexico and the United States, with a special focus on the preparation of bilingual education teachers. Its primary audience consists of teacher educators, program administrators, international transcript evaluators, and registrars in the United States working with students who have prior teacher preparation in the Mexican system. Therefore, the largest section of the monograph is dedicated to providing a thorough description of this system.
(IDRA and Arizona State University; No ISBN; Paperback; 100 Pages; 1999; $28.00)
Spanish Language Proficiency of Bilingual Education Teachers
This monograph addresses a long ignored issue in bilingual education, the academic Spanish language proficiency of bilingual education teachers. The author draws on relevant literature and research and on personal experiences to discuss this dimension of bilingual education. (IDRA and Arizona State University; No ISBN; Paperback; 64 Pages; 1999; $20.00)
Certification and Endorsement of Bilingual Education Teachers: A Comparison of State Licensure Requirements
This monograph addresses a long ignored issue in bilingual education, the academic Spanish language proficiency of bilingual education teachers. The author draws on relevant literature and research and on personal experiences to discuss this dimension of bilingual education. (IDRA and Arizona State University; No ISBN; Paperback; 64 Pages; 1999; $20.00).
The Views of Mexican Normalista and U.S. Bilingual Education Teachers: An Exploratory Study of Perceptions, Beliefs and Attitudes
This monograph reports on conversations held with the normalista teachers involved in Project Alianza before they completed their studies and became credentialed in the United States. The authors sought the teachers? views about the teaching profession, the preparation of teachers and the role of teachers in the community. The report shows great congruence between these teachers and their US reared counterparts involved in bilingual education programs. Nonetheless, some differences exist and these may become more than marked once the teachers enter US classrooms and begin to practice the profession they interrupted, often for many years, as they sought a social and economic footing in this country. (IDRA and Arizona State University; No ISBN; Paperback; 82 Pages; 2000; $23.00)
Elementary Curricula in Mexico and the United States: A Comparative Analysis of Content Standards and Objectives
In this monograph, John Petrovic (now of the University of Alabama) begins the much needed task of comparing the curricula of public schools in the United States and those in Mexico. As was the case with the teacher education report, we were faced here with a difficult comparison since the K-12 curriculum is national in Mexico and thoroughly decentralized in the United States. By focusing on two key states with large Hispanic populations, Petrovic was able to identify differences and similarities in the curriculum objectives for math and language arts in the two countries. It is the first of many such analyses that should be carried out in order to pin down the differences between what bi-national children experience in one country and in the other. (IDRA and Arizona State University; No ISBN; Paperback; 118 Pages; 2000; $33.00)
Teacher Recruitment and Employment Practices in Selected States: Promising Prospects for Foreign-Trained Teachers
This monograph broadens the perspective to include the experience of states and school districts that have credentialed foreign-trained teachers, other than those involved in Project Alianza. We set out to document, in broad terms, the collective experience of these entities in order to identify problems and opportunities that others have had in working with foreign teachers, chiefly normalistas. We were pleased to find that these efforts have been mostly positive. Problems and obstacles exist, but are not intransigent and can be solved with only modest effort and the will to act. (IDRA and Arizona State University; No ISBN; Paperback; 56 Pages; 2001; $16.00)
El Desarrollo del Proyecto Alianza: Lessons Learned and Policy Implications
This study documents the design and implementation of Alianza and synthesizes the lessons learned by various institutions involved in the process. This publication is designed to inform others who may be interested in doing similar research and display what might be expected as they attempt to implement the general concept of Alianza. (IDRA and Arizona State University; No ISBN; Paperback; 98 Pages; 2002; $28.00)
These publications were prepared by the Center for Bilingual Education and Research, College of Education, Arizona State University as a resource for Project Alianza – a consortium of organizations and universities working to improve preparation programs for bilingual education teachers. Project Alianza was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through a collaboration of Intercultural Development Research Association and the Mexican and American Solidarity Foundation.
Partners in this extraordinary journey included the following (sister universities in México are listed in italics).
Intercultural Development Research Association
Mexican and American Solidarity Foundation
Secretaría de Educación Pública
Arizona State University
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – San Antonio
California State University at Bakersfield
Escuela Normal del Estado Profesor Jesús Manuel Bustamante Mungarro(Hermosillo, Sonora)
California State University at Long Beach
Escuela Normal Estatal, Ensenada (Ensenada, Baja California Norte)
Southwest Texas State University
Escuela Normal “Profesor Serafín Peña” (Montemorelos, Nuevo León)
Texas A&M International University
Escuela Normal “Ing. Miguel F. Martínez” Centenaria y Benemérita (Monterrey, Nuevo León)
Texas Women’s University
Benemérita y Centenaria Escuela Normal Oficial de Guanajuato (Guanajuato, Guanajuato)
University of Texas at El Paso
Escuela Normal Experimental Miguel Hidalgo (Chihuahua)
University of Texas Pan American
Escuela Normal Federalizada de Tamaulipas (Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas)
University of Texas at San Antonio
Benemérita Escuela Normal de Coahuila (Saltillo, Coahuila)