Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
Arizona State University
University of South Florida
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Tempe, Ariz
Tampa, Fla
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 9, no. 18 (May 17, 2001).
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c May 17, 2001
Thinking out of the box : one university's experience with foreign-trained teachers / Belinda Bustos Flores.
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1 of 17 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 9 Number 18May 17, 2001ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Gene V Glass, College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2001, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education .Thinking Out of the Box: One University's Experience with Foreign-trained Te achers Belinda Bustos Flores University of Texas—San AntonioAbstract Texas like many states is facing a teacher shortage The author suggests that the teacher shortage should be considered in l ight of the diverse school population. Across states there is a need fo r well-prepared teachers to work with linguistically and culturally diverse school populations. Thus, areas such as bilingual educatio n continue to be critical shortage areas. While different attempts a re currently underway to increase the number of preservice bilingual educ ators, another way districts have addressed this issue is to employ fo reign-trained teachers as paraprofessionals or as teachers. Recently, Texa s passed a regulation that would allow legally residing foreign-trained t eachers to become certified Texas teachers upon passing the appropria te teacher competency exams and demonstrating English proficie ncy. The passing of this "fast-track" regulation appears to demonstr ate that the state board is thinking out of the box by tapping into a commun ity's resources and acknowledging that immigrants can offer the communi ty services beyond


2 of 17menial tasks. However, the researcher cautions that such actions may not increase the number of teachers and may not assure teacher quality. To support this notion, the researcher offers an analy sis of a university's experience with the integration of legally residing foreign-trained Mexican teachers in their bilingual education teach er preparation program. The researcher posits that increasing the number of qualified teachers does require for entities to think out of the box, such as tapping into a community's natural resources; nevertheless, any plan of action should be critically examined and deliberated. Texas is facing many challenges in standardizing t eacher certification. On the one hand, there is a predicted shortage of 600,000 teac hers and on the other hand there is a call for improved teacher quality [State Board of E ducation (SBEC), 2000]. This predicted shortage for all teachers is not unique t o Texas, but is an issue confronting states across the nation (Fetler, 1997). In examini ng demographic trends, the relative small number of minorities pursuing teaching career s, and thus a lower number of potential bilingual educators, is disproportionate to the increased number of language minority students [Texas Education Agency (TEA), 19 94, 1999; Recruiting New Teachers, 2000]. Thus, bilingual education remains as a critical shortage teaching area (Flores & Clark, 1997). In Texas, approximately 17% of the early childhood (EC-K) and 17% of the elementary level (1-6) teachers teaching in a bilingual education setting are not certified as bilingual education teachers (SBEC 2000). Confounding the shortage issue is that some bilingual education teachers, wh ile able to demonstrate basic interpersonal skills in Spanish, lack academic lang uage proficiency required for the teaching of abstract concepts (Guerrero, 1997, 1998 & 1999). To alleviate the critical shortage for bilingual e ducation teachers and the lack of academic language proficiency of some current bilin gual education teachers requires that state universities, school districts, and the state board to explore the circumstances that have led to this situation. For example, the majori ty of bilingual education teachers represent minority individuals who have maintained their first language despite of subtractive language educational practices in the U nited States. Subtractive language education practices have existed in two forms. Prio r to the onset of bilingual education, linguistic minorities were discouraged and punished for speaking their native language. With the onset of bilingual education, the native l anguage has been seen as simply a means for acquiring English and not for the mainten ance of the first language This type of subtractive language schooling experience has re sulted in loss of the native language (see Escamilla, 1994; Peaselvarez & Winsler, 199 4). Another factor to consider is that the demographic trends for minority teachers, and ultimately bilingual education teachers, will n ot likely change considering the barriers that exist for minorities in pursuing high er education. Subtractive schooling is evident in the form of "dumbing" of the curriculum for minority students (Valencia, 1991; Valenzuela, 1999). Specifically, in pursuing teacher education, prospective minority teachers are often derailed from their goa ls because of high-stakes testing (Flores & Clark, 1997; Flores & Clark, 2000a; Valen cia & Aburto, 1991a; Valencia & Aburto, 1991b; Valencia & Guadarrama, 1995). Even if Unz and the "English-only" movement were t o be successful in their mission to eradicate bilingual education, this acti on would not reduce the number of linguistic minority children in our society. In fac t, California is one of the states that continues to have the largest number of language mi nority children (Waggoner, 1999). Studies have noted that most generalist teachers ar e not prepared to address the needs of


3 of 17language minority students and often feel inadequat e when working with this population (Monsivais, 1990; Hernndez, 1995; TEA, 1995; Natio nal Center for Educational Statistics, 1999). Another important consideration is that ethnic and linguistic minority students benefit cognitively and socially from thei r interaction with ethnic and linguistic minority teachers (Galguera, 1998; Snow, 1990; Vale ncia & Aburto, 1991a). Consequently, the need for well-prepared teachers w ho have specialized skills for working with language minority children is of great importance. Therefore, to address the current trends, entities must engage in recruit ment efforts that tap into non-traditional pools of minority individuals. A recent recruitment strategy has been to replenis h the pool of bilingual education teachers with foreign-trained teachers. A case in p oint is that some Texas border school districts employ legally-residing foreign-trained t eachers, specifically normalistas, teachers educated and certified in Mexico, as bilin gual education teachers (see Schnailberg, 1994) or teacher aides (see HewlettG mez & Solis, 1995). Another strategy has been to import teachers from Mexico an d Spain for bilingual classrooms in California (Valadez, Etxeberra, Pescador, & Ambisc a, 2000) and in Georgia (Maggs, 1998). A more recent strategy for increasing the number o f bilingual educators has been to certify legally-residing normalistas through Project Alianza (alliance), a teacher preparation initiative that is being implemented as a model at several universities throughout Texas and a university in California (Ca ntu, 1999; Supik, 1999; Cortez, 2000; Quezada & Inzunza-Franco, 2000). (Note 1) Uni versities involved in the project form an alliance to achieve Project Alianza goals o f: a) increasing the number of certified or endorsed bilingual education teachers, b) recruiting potential teachers from the natural resources within the community, and c) creating models for the enhancement of teacher preparation programs and outreach strate gies (Supik, 1999; Quezada & Inzunza-Franco, 1999). At the university level, the project assists participants by providing mentoring, advisement, course work, and f inancial support. The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) was selected to impleme nt the project. Of the 200 applicants to UTSA's Project Alianza, the project c ommittee interviewed over 50 qualified applicants and 25 have been selected for the project; approximately 20 participants continue in the project. Early this spring, another teacher recruiting stra tegy was conceived when a new regulation was approved in Texas regarding foreigntrained teachers (SBEC, 2000). Passing the required state-mandated exit competency tests may now accredit foreign-trained teachers, who are legally residing in the state. The regulation does require that individuals demonstrate English profic iency. Essentially, this process would allow for legally residing licensed normalistas to pursue a fast track to obtain certification in the state of Texas. Prior to this regulation, foreign-trained teachers had to go through a university's accreditation office and obtain a deficiency plan. Although the new regulation is a positive step in the right dire ction in recognizing the potential of legally residing immigrants, and demonstrates that the board is thinking out of the box, this type of quick fix does not assure quality amon g the teacher ranks. There has been no research to date that links a teacher competency te st with teacher performance (see Flores & Clark, 1997, 2000a). The board is assuming that if foreign-trained teachers can pass the required exit tests, they will be competen t teachers. As Darling-Hammond (2000) observed, teacher qualifications are intimat ely linked with student performance. In addition, this fast-track certification contradi cts what Texas is trying to do in revamping the teacher standards to improve teacher quality. In light of Texas' new regulation that allows fast -track certification for


4 of 17foreign-trained teachers, this piece reflects cauti on that arises from the Project Alianza experiences that one university has had in working with normalistas The fast track certification promotes certain assumptions that may need to be clarified. School district personnel and others may make an assumption that th ese normalistas will be able to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of language minority children. A second assumption is that there will be a close match betw een the normalistas and language minority children. A third assumption is that these fast-track normalistas will be effective teachers. Lastly, there is an assumption that this regulation will radically increase the number of teachers. First of all, important to remember is that many l anguage minority children are U.S. born, not foreign born. Only 38% of all Hispan ics are foreign born (Waggoner, 2000). Thus, language minority children's linguisti c and socialization experiences reflect the diversity within U.S. society. Secondly, normalistas were socialized and prepared in a distinct manner than their first or second U.S. g eneration counterparts. Molina Hernndez (1999) noted that normalistas entering into the California higher education system would have to adjust because of the differen ces in the normal teacher school preparation versus the university teacher preparati on program. Thirdly, important to acknowledge is that normalistas were not prepared as bilingual education teachers and have taught in essentially a monolingual, fairly mo nocultural setting. Valadez et al. (2000) have noted the incompatibilities between for eign-trained teachers, from Mexico and Spain, and language minority children in Califo rnia. Researchers have also cautioned that alternate routes for certifying teac hers can be a dangerous practice (Berliner, 1987; Hidalgo & Huling-Austin, 1993). Te achers without a strong preparation often feel powerless to challenge the status quo wi thin the school system (Flores, 1999). A recent comparison of five bilingual teacher prep aration programs with the normalista normal school preparation, led the authors to conc lude that normalistas have been well prepared as teachers and for the most par t would only require specialized course work in the area of bilingual education (Pet rovic, Orozco, Gonzlez & Daz del Cossio, 1999). The subsequent paragraphs provide so me support for this conclusion as identified through this university's experience wit h normalistas. All decisions regarding the project are discussed and determined by the Pro ject Alianza committee, which consists of a director, a coordinator, and faculty advisors. For this current exploration, data analysis included document analysis, interview s, and reflections; these data assisted in identifying issues and in determining recommenda tions. The UTSA's Project Alianza acknowledged that the normalistas are well-prepared in their normal schools; however, als o believed that the integration of normalistas into U.S. schools would require the metamorfosis/m etamorphosis of ideologies (Clark, work in progress). As Monz (200 0) noted in her own personal journey from being a paraprofessional to becoming a teacher, To assume that teacher preparation merely adds peda gogy to an existing identity is take a very simplistic view of humanity Becoming a teacher involves developing new identities and reconstructi ng some existing identities. Further teachers' funds of knowledge ar e not static, but evolve and are subject to interaction with othersÂ…. The faculty would agree that not only have normalistas been well prepared as normal teachers, the majority (90%) also have a hig h degree of academic Spanish as evident in their personal interviews and class assi gnments, as well some (25%) have content-specific knowledge in math, science, and li terature. Nevertheless, although


5 of 17normalistas bring these positive attributes, there are several factors that must be considered in certifying them as a bilingual educat ion teachers and should be deliberated in designing a program of study, for example: Language Dominance Psychosocial Factors Datedness of Pedagogical and Content Knowledge Degree Equivalence and Program of Study Support Structures Language Dominance In recruiting legally residing normalistas for Project Alianza, the committee conducted informal interviews with all applicants. Although the majority (95%) of the normalistas had lived either in Texas or the US for an average of 5 years, ranging from 6 months to 10 years, evident from these interviews, and later confirmed with formal assessment and during the initial phases of the pro ject, specific needs were recognized. The following areas were addressed for this group: Second language acquisition and development English language skills development throughout the program of study Procurement of professors that understood needs of second language learners Supplemental instruction throughout the project In order to immediately address the need for secon d language acquisition, the normalistas received intensive English instruction during the first phase of the project, which occurred during the spring of 1999. This phas e focused on skill development, specifically targeting reading and writing skills a ssessed in the state mandated teacher entry exam, Texas Assessment of Skills Program (TAS P). After this initial phase was completed, the students' feedback was one of great appreciation; they felt they had received a great basic foundation in English that w ould assist them in their formal course work. As indicated in the English instructor's repo rts, the majority (95%) of the normalistas had shown a great deal of growth and improvement i n their English skills, nevertheless out of the twenty participants, initia lly only 3 passed all three portions of the TASP. Therefore, it was evident that the Project Alianza participants would require continued second language support in the form of su pplemental instruction, selection of appropriate personnel, and on-going English languag e development. Interestingly, a minority (10%) of the normalistas also needed to polish their writing skills in thei r native language. During the second phase the studen ts enrolled in formal course work as determined by their specific certification plan. Fo r the most part, students were placed in the same three out of four classes. This cohort was combined with a Title VII cohort participating in a "grow your own" federally-funded grant, which consisted of paraprofessionals pursuing their degree and certifi cation requirements. Their experiences as a combined group allowed for reciprocal learning to occur. At times, the normalistas served as mentors, especially when the situation c alled for the use of Spanish or for the reflection on a certain t echnique. In other classes, the roles were reversed; the paraprofessionals assisted the l earning of the normalistas by giving examples of classroom reality as they had experienc ed as learners or as teacher assistants. They also served as English language mo dels.


6 of 17 Initially, in the classes in which English was use d as the means of instruction, several instructors allowed the normalistas to complete assignments in their dominant language. They further encouraged the students to s ubmit their work in the second language and would provide students feedback as to how to improve their writing. These proactive techniques assisted in reducing the normalistas anxiety about writing and speaking in their second language. Nonetheless, two years after the project begin, there continues to be on going focus to increase the normalistas English proficiency. Currently, after 5-6 attempts, over half (60%) of t he 20 participants continue to have difficulty in passing the writing portion of the TA SP.Datedness of Pedagogical and Content Knowledge Another issue confronted was the datedness of the normalistas' preparation; for the most part the majority (90%) had completed thei r program of study ten to fifteen years prior to applying to the project. This issue is problematic for any individual pursuing teacher certification after a long hiatus (Hidalgo & Huling-Austin, 1993). Moreover, unique to the normalistas is that although the majority (75%) of the normalistas had attended the same or similar teacher preparati on programs at normal schools in the northern part of Mexico, the Project Alianza committee lacked complete familiarity with the content of their program of st udy. Thus, the committee concurred that an initial assessment would further guide them in determining a program of study for the normalistas Although in the conversations and interviews with the normalistas the committee was very impressed with their pedagog ical and content knowledge, specifically for some normalistas in the areas of math and science, the committee al so acknowledged that in order to get certified in Texa s, all teachers have to pass the ExCET (Examination for Certification in Texas). Two ExCET tests are required for bilingual teacher certification, the Professional Development and the Bilingual Comprehensive; some bilingual teachers also take the Early Childho od. Each of these tests measures specific domains that a beginning teacher must know in relation to pedagogy and content. Thus, the committee determined that these exams would serve as an initial formal measure. In order to ensure that the project applicants would be equitably assessed, the committee decided to have these instr uments professionally translated. An experienced translator, educated in Mexico and familiar with the area of education, translated three sample tests in the are as of professional development, bilingual comprehensive, and early childhood. Once all the items were translated for each area, bilingual faculty reviewed the items to assure clarity and randomly back-translated a number of items to assure accurac y. These tests were given to all qualified applicants ( n = 48); important to note, the results were not use d in the selection process. The results of these initial measures were examined employing item analysis. The analysis revealed demonstrated areas of strengt h and weakness for the group. However using the same passing standard as the stat e (70%), only one normalista passed the Spanish version of the bilingual comprehensive practice test. The initial findings assisted the committee in making decisions regardin g course work for the selected participants. Thus, although well prepared as normalistas the preparation did not necessarily assure success in the initial Spanish-v ersion practice exit tests. A number of plausible explanations can be identified; similar t o any experienced teacher: (a) what the normalistas had learned in their program of study has become i mplicit knowledge (See Schn, 1983, 1987); and (b) the normalistas classroom experiences in the classroom guide their decision making (See Berliner, 1987; Fl ores, 1999). Given that the pretest assessed all the qualified applicants, the committee decided


7 of 17to give another practice test in English to the sel ected participants after the initial year of the program. With special permission from the Offic e of Teacher Certification and Placement, the participants were administered the E nglish practice qualifying elementary professional and comprehensive exams; usually these exams are given only to completing teacher candidates. The results were muc h more promising for the qualifying professional exam than for the comprehensive exam. In the professional qualifying exam ( M = 71, 47%), four of the participants ( n = 16) passed the test. For the qualifying comprehensive exam, none of the 23 participants pas sed the comprehensive exam ( M = 54, 54%). In examining the passing participants dat a revealed that the four passing participants were about to complete their program o f study because they had previous college course work at the local community college prior to enrolling and participating in the project. Since then three of these four have completed their certification program of study and have passed the professional exam. In addition to having more course work, these individuals also had a higher level of Englis h proficiency. These findings suggest that the normalistas level of English along with pedagogical and conten t knowledge will likely determine their outcome on the state's manda ted tests. However, a word of caution is necessary, the practice qualifying exams althoug h closely correlated with the state's mandated tests, are not 100% predictors of outcome. Additionally, the only qualifying comprehensive exam available is the one administere d for all teachers; one has yet to be developed for the bilingual candidates. Moreover, t he findings have to be considered in light of the fact that the over half (63%) of the p articipants lacked another year or more of course work before being eligible to taking the university qualifying exams. Nevertheless, these qualifying exams are used at th e university to determine eligibility for taking the state's ExCETs and, therefore, the c ommittee agreed to consider the outcome of the findings in guiding further decision -making. Unfortunately, competency exams often create a high-stakes situation in which minorities are kept from achieving their educational goals (Flores & Clark, 1997; Flor es & Clark 2000a; Valencia & Aburto, 1991a, 1991b; Valencia & Guadarrama, 1995). As the normalistas proceed in their program of study, they have confi rmed and revealed how a paradigm shift is occurring within t heir thinking specifically in how to best teach specific content or how to approach read ing instruction (Prez, Flores, & Strecker, in press). Thus, the normalistas are engaging in critical reflective thinking and comparing what they had learned as normalistas and what they are learning as incipient bilingual education teachers. The critical reflecti on enhances their ability to make informed decisions. Noteworthy, although the current state regulation would allow foreign-trained teachers to simply to take the state-mandated test, evident in this analysis is the likelihood that the majority (80%) of current parti cipants would not have been successful in simply taking the ExCET without any c ourse work or the development of English language skills. Further, their program of study has been purposefully crafted to assist the normalistas in challenging preconceived notions and to update them with current content and pedagogical knowledge. Psychosocial Factors Apparent in the initial interviews with the normalistas was that our bilingual education teacher preparation program would have to address psychosocial factors such as, ethnic identity, acculturation level, bior mu lticultural perspective. This need was further underscored during the initial phase of int ensive English development. Some (20%) normalistas revealed that they had been against bilingual educ ation for their own


8 of 17children because of preconceived biases. They were concerned with the level of Spanish being used in the classroom and they were concerned that their children would not acquire English. Some (30%) normalistas did not understand why so many Mexican Americans experienced failure in the U.S. and belie ved that some Mexican American simply did not take advantage of the opportunities provided within this country. A minority (20%) of the normalistas was repulsed by the Mexican American use of Spanish, specifically when code-switching. These expressed beliefs were also verified in form al studies conducted with normalista applicants prior to matriculation into Project Ali anza. These studies demonstrated the relative nature of ethnic or cultu ral identity; for some individuals ethnic identity often represents their sociopolitic al awareness as a minority group within the U.S. society. Flores & Clark (2001, 2000b) stud ies revealed that these legally residing normalistas aspiring to be bilingual educators were more likel y to ethnically identify with their country of origin. These resear chers indicated that the normalistas may lack experiences within a sociopolitical and hi storical context in which one is not the majority power holder. On the other hand, a pre vious study, Clark & Flores (in press) surmised that Mexican American preservice teachers ethnic identity labels demonstrated a continuum from Mexicano to Hispanic. Thus, Mexica n Americans may choose their ethnic identity label based on their personal affil iations and experiences within a sociocultural-political context. Conversely, the normalistas ethnic identity was rooted in their Mexican experiences. Clark and Flores (2000b & 2000c) also revealed tha t while the majority of the normalistas had a positive and high teaching efficacy, some normalistas had an external locus of control in regards to their teaching effic acy. Thus, these normalistas are likely to use external factors, such a family, home and co mmunity, to explain their inability to teach. As Flores and Clark (2001) concluded, this t ype of explanation promotes deficit thinking. In another study, Clark and Flores (2000a) noted a high degree of academic language use and proficiency and positive attitude towards Spanish, bilingualism, and bilingual education for the normalistas However, as indicated by the multivariate results, simply having a high degree of use and a p ositive attitude towards Spanish did not guarantee a positive relationship with bilingua lism or bilingual education. Interestingly, for example although bilingualism wa s valued by the normalistas this was found to be in contraposition with their notion tha t bilingual education may conflict with the attainment of American values and may cause bil ingual children to have an accent in English. Therefore, the program advisors determined that al though the normalistas had a strong sense of national identity as Mexicanos they lacked an awareness of what it means to ethnically identify self and they lacked k nowledge of the Mexican American struggle. Evident was the need for course work that reflected the U. S. sociocultural, historical, and political context. There was anothe r need to assist the normalista to identify self from a bi or multicultural perspectiv e and to examine biases in relation to teacher efficacy. This is being addressed through c ourse work and seminars. Formal course work was also needed to gain understanding o f bilingual children's language development, specifically examining the phenomenon of codeswitching. Degree Equivalence & Program of Study One of the most difficult issues encountered was d etermining a program of study based on the degree equivalence. In Mexico, over th e last fifteen years there has been


9 of 17different means of acquiring a licensiatura (licensure, equivalent to Bachelor's degree). As the committee became familiarized with the Mexic an licensing system, this issue became less cumbersome. For normalistas having a licensiatura a post baccalaureate certification program was designed. Although it wou ld have been much simpler to just accept normalistas with licensiatura a decision was made to accept nonlicensed normalistas especially if they had been working as paraprofes sionals in the field. Thus, for normalistas who have less than licensiatura the committee is working with the teacher certification department to design a degree program that determines the course work that should receive credit and addresses their needs. This process has been to date one of the greatest challenges. Specifically, the normalistas' certification program addresses the aforementioned issues through the fol lowing course work: Foundations of Bilingual Education including socioc ultural, historical, and political topics Bilingual content methodology including native lang uage and second language instruction theory and instruction Dynamics of language and culture, specifically soci olinguistics, communicative competence Field experiences and student teaching Despite the fact that the normalistas had taught in Mexico, the committee conceded that the field experiences were necessary in preparing them for the realities of the U.S. classroom. This notion has been supported through the data gathered from the field experiences (Prez, Flores, & Strecker, in pr ess). All normalistas' field observation evaluation ratings have ranged from above average t o excellent, with the majority (75%) of the supervising teachers providing additional po sitive feedback regarding the normalistas' performance. Depending on the field ex periences feedback and evaluation received for each individual normalistas student-teaching may not be necessarily required. Support Structure One of the most important components in this projec t has been the ability to provide a support structure for the normalistas Fortunately at this university, a coordinator provides and monitors these support str uctures for the project. In fact, the role of the coordinator is considered to be pivotal in assuring the success of project participants. Navigating the university is often a complicated a nd cumbersome process that often discourages even the traditional university s tudent. During the initial recruiting and application stages, it was evident that the applica nts would require assistance for navigating the university system. Therefore, much g uidance was given to the applicants in completing the task of matriculation into the un iversity. Also as aforementioned, the normalistas are placed in their classes as a cohort; their cla sses and university instructors are carefully selected to assure that they have opp ortunities to be successful in attaining certification as bilingual educators. Prior to attending UTSA, most of the normalistas had been under-employed in menial jobs; nevertheless this was their source of income for their families. Thus, the need for financial assistance was great and financi al support is making the attainment of bilingual certification a reality. Although the pro ject provides financial assistance, the normalistas were also guided to other forms of financial assis tance available through the


10 of 17university's Office of Financial Aid. Most normalistas did not know that they were eligible for federal moneys or the process of how t o obtain these funds. Throughout the project, normalistas have opportunities to also meet informally as a co hort to build collegiality and moral support. This process has gr eatly assisted them as they encounter academic, financial, or personal challenges in thei r lives. Nevertheless, to date, 3 individuals of the original cohort left the project due to personal or financial challenges. In sum, from this university's experiences, minima l support structures include: (a) guidance and mentoring, (b) financial assistance, a nd (c) motivational support. During the past year, the three completing normalistas were subsequently hired as bilingual education teachers. As novice bilingual education t eachers, they have concerns as all new teachers do, but have expressed that they know that they have the UTSA's Project Alianza community to provide them on-going support.Conclusion This preliminary analysis reveals that a university can assist in the integration of foreign-trained teachers. Project Alianza has assis ted the normalistas to navigate the university system to assure that they receive maxim um credit for their credentials and that a program of study is clearly outlined so that they may pursue their teaching credentials in a timely manner. In addition, the pr oject provides financial support for tuition and books as well as psychosocial support i n the form of mentoring and monthly activities. The normalistas face challenges as proud individuals. Their profes sionalism has earned them admiration from other students. As one student revealed, I see how hard they have to work, because English is not their dom inant language, and I tell myself, if they can do it, so can I." The integration of the normalistas with the other bilingual teacher preparation students has resulted in the re alization that one group can contribute to the other's learning. When both groups took a co urse on Mexican American history and culture, the normalistas learned first hand about the Mexican American's ex perience with language discriminatory practices, such as cor poral punishment for speaking their first language. The normalistas expertise in math and reading pedagogy is of great resource for preparing preservice teachers to work with recently immigrated students. The faculty has noted that the normalistas are very competitive, but that this competitiveness is to assure group success, not ind ividual success. Other students have also taken note on the positive aspects of group ve rsus individual competitiveness. As a bilingual teacher preparation entity, this universi ty's experiences with the normalistas has been challenging and rewarding, to say the leas t much has been learned. Of greatest concern is the normalistas English language proficiency because this may like ly determine whether or not they will be able to be su ccessful on the required TASP and ExCET exams. Engaging in critical dialogue regardin g the on-going experiences will likely assist this university in creating a stronge r bilingual education teacher preparation program for foreign-trained teachers and may assist other teacher preparation entities in their efforts. Therefore, thinking out of the box to alleviate th e teacher shortage requires much more than a state regulation; to remedy the teacher shortage in bilingual education and the call for quality teachers require careful thoug ht and deliberation. Given the encountered difficulties experienced by the majorit y of the UTSA Project Alianza's normalistas the fast-track certification for foreign-born tea chers regulation may not likely make a difference for increasing the number of quality teachers. Recently in Texas, to address the current 45,000 teacher shorta ge, another regulation was considered


11 of 17that would have allowed bachelor's degree holders t o teach in the public school (SBEC, 2000). Districts hiring these non-certified "teache rs" would be required to provide mentors. These fast-track non-certified teachers wo uld be required to enter into a teacher certification program after 180 days of employment and pass the appropriate ExCET exams, but the proposal did not appear to have any other requirements. This current proposal was seen as controversial; thus, it was re jected and sent back for further deliberation. However, Education Commissioner Nelso n (2000, as cited by Gutierrez) suggests that although this proposal was not perfec t, the proposal was a means to address the current teacher shortage. The message that comes from these fast-track certi fication trends is that anyone can be an effective teacher and that teaching does not require specialized preparation. Unfortunately, non-certified teaching candidates wi ll likely end up in low-income, mostly minority schools as is presently the case (S BEC, 2000). In discussing this new proposal with two principals, both expressed cautio ns in hiring non-certified teachers because they have noted differences between fully c ertified teachers and alternative certification teacher candidates. These administrat ors remarked that non-certified teachers not only lacked pedagogical knowledge, but also lacked content knowledge. Hopefully, the lessons learned to date will assist in critically examining this fast-track trend.Note1. Project Alianza is funded by the W. R. Kellogg F oundation and is a collaboration of Intercultural and Developmental Research Associatio n and the Mexican and American Solidarity Foundation. The views presented here are those of the author and not of these organizations.ReferencesBerliner, D. C. (1987). Ways of thinking about stud ents and classrooms by more and less experienced teachers. In Calderhead, J. (Ed.) Exploring teachers' thinking (pp. 60-83). London: Cassell Education Limited.Cantu, L. (1999, February). Project Alianza: Tappin g community resources for bilingual teachers. IDRA Newsletter, 26 (2), p. 1-2, 8. Clark, E. R. (work in progress) Metamorfosis/Metamo rphosis. Clark, E. R. & Flores, B. B. (submitted Spring 2000 a). Is Spanish proficiency simply enough? An examination of normalistas attitudes towards Spanish, bilingualism, and bilingual teacher competencies & pedagogy.Clark, E. R. & Flores, B. B. (2000b) NORMALISTAS: A prospective pool of bilingual teachers? A study examining their self-conceptualiz ation and self-efficacy. Paper presented at AERA Annual Conference, New Orleans, L A. Clark, E. R. & Flores, B. B. (2000c). Report on a S tudy of Normalistas' ethnic identity & teaching efficacy. NABE NEWS, 24 (1), pp. 20-23. Clark, E. R. & Flores, B. B. (2001). Who am I? The social construction of ethnic identity and self-perceptions of bilingual preservice teache rs. Urban Review, 33 (2), 69-86.


12 of 17Cortez, J. D. (2000, June-July). Project Alianza-Se cond year Milestone. IDRA Newsletter, 27 (6), 7-11. Darling-Hammond, L. (2000). Teacher quality and stu dent achievement: A review of state policy evidence. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8 (1), 1-49. Available: Escamilla, K. (1994). The sociolinguistic environme nt of a bilingual school: A case study introduction. Bilingual Research Journal, 8 (1-2), 21-47. Fetler, M. (1997). Where have all the teachers gone ? Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8 (2), 1-18. Available: Flores, B. B. (1999). Bilingual teachers' epistemol ogical beliefs about the nature of bilingual children's cognition and their relation t o perceived teaching practices. Unpublished Dissertation, University of Texas at Au stin. Flores, B. B & Clark, E. R. (submitted Spring 2001). A critical examination of Mexican foreign-trained normalistas self-conceptualization and self-efficacy. Flores, B. B. & Clark, E. R. (1997). High-stakes te sting : Barriers for prospective bilingual education teachers. Bilingual Research Journal, 21 (4), 335-358. Flores, B. B. & Clark, E. R. (2000a). Standards and high-stakes testing: Barriers for prospective bilingual education teachers? Paper pre sented at the National Association for Multicultural Education, November 2000.Flores, B. B. & Clark E. R. (2000b). Retooling Normalistas as Bilingual Teachers: Who are they and what resources do they bring? Paper pr esented at NABE Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.Guerrero, M. D. (1997). Spanish academic language p roficiency: The case of bilingual education teachers in the US. Bilingual Research Journal, 21 (1), 65-84. Guerrero, M. D. (1998). Current Issues in the Spani sh language proficiency of bilingual education teachers. Texas Papers in Foreign Language Education, 3 (3), 135-149. Guerrero, M. D. (1999) Spanish Language Proficiency of Bilingual Education Teachers. In J. M. Gonzlez, (Ed.) CBER Exploration in Bi-nat ional Education, #2. Tempe, AZ: Center for Bilingual Education and Research.Gutierrez, B. (2000, February 2). Easier rules for teachers hit obstacle: Education board set vote. San Antonio Express News: Metro & State, Section B, p. 6B-7B. Hernndez, J. S. (1995). Teachers at-risk: Monoling ual teachers and language minority children. Invited paper for the annual meeting of t he American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA., April 19, 1995.Hewlett-Gmez, M. R. & Solis, A., (1995). Dual lang uage instruction design for education recent immigrant secondary students on th e Texas-Mxico Border. Bilingual Research Journal, 19 (3 & 4), 429-452.


13 of 17Hidalgo, F. & Huling-Austin, L. (1993). Alternate t eacher candidates: a rich source for Latino teachers in the future. In R. E. Castro & Y. R. Ingle (Eds.), Reshaping teacher education in the Southwest (A forum: A response to the needs of Latino student s and teachers). CA; The Toms Rivera Center: A National Institute for Policy Studies, 13-34. Maggs, J. (1998). Turning to Mexico for help. National Journal 30(50), 2945-2946. Molina Hernndez, J. L. (1999, April 23). Normalist as en universidades norteamericanas por partida doble. La Crnica Columa: Reflexcin Universitaria. Monz, L. (2000). Shaping education through diverse funds of knowledge: A look at one Latina paraeducator's lived experiences, belief s, and teaching practice. Paper presented at AERA Annual Meeting, April 24, 2000, N ew Orleans, LA. Monsivais, G. I. (1990). Latino Teachers: Well educ ated but not prepared. An Executive Summary. Toms Rivera Center, Claremont, CA, 3-6. ( ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 372 887)National Center for Educational Statistics (1999). The Condition of Education Indicator 23. U.S. Department of Education.Quezada, M. S. & Inzunza-Franco, G. Project Alianza : A model teacher preparation and leadership development program reaches out to tradi tionally under-served linguistic minority candidates. The Multilingual Educator, 1 (2), pp. 41-42. Pease-lvarez, & Winsler, A., (1994). Cuando el mae stro no habla espaol: Children's bilingual language practices in the classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 28 (3), 507-535. Prez, B. P., Flores, B. B. & Strecker, S. (in pres s). Biliteracy teacher education in the southwest. In. N. H. Hornberger (Ed.). Revisiting the Continua of Biliteracy: A Framework for Educational Research, Policy, and Pra ctice in Multilingual Settings. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Petrovic, J. E., Orozco, G., Gonzlez, E., & Daz d e Cossio, R. (1999). Mexican normalista teachers as a resource for bilingual edu cation in the United States: Connecting two models of teacher preparation In J. M. Gonzlez (Ed.) CBER Exploration in Bi-national Education, #1. Tempe, AZ : Center for Bilingual Education. Recruiting New Teachers, (RNT) (2000). Teaching's n ext generation: A national study of precollegiate teacher recruitment. Belmont, MA: Author. Schnaiberg, L. (1994, April 6). Bilingual Certifica tion Under Inquiry in Houston. Education Week, 13 (28), 1, 10. Schn, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner. New York: Basic Books. Schn, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Snow, C. E. (1990). Rationales for native language instruction: Evidence from research. In A. Padilla, A., Fairchild, H. H., & C. M. Valade z (Eds.), Bilingual Education: Issues and Strategies (pp. 60-74). Newbury Park: SAGE Publications.


14 of 17State Board of Education (SBEC). (2000). http://www Supik, J. D. (1999, August). Project Alianza: A Mod el Teacher Preparation and Leadership Development Initiative: First Year Findi ngs. IDRA Newsletter, 26( 7), 3-6. Texas Educational Agency (1999, December). Texas public school statistics: Pocket edition, 1998-1999 Austin, TX: Author. Texas Education Agency (1995, March). Texas Teacher Preparation Study: Interim Report, 1995 Austin, TX: Author. Texas Education Agency (1994, May) Teacher supply, demand and quality (Policy research project: Texas teacher diversity and recru itment, Report #4). Austin, TX: Author.Valadez, C.; Etxeberra, F.; Pescador, O.; & Ambisc a, A. (2000). International and guest teachers in American Schools: Teachers from Mexico and Spain in California schools. Paper presented at the AERA Annual Meeting, April 2 4-28, New Orleans, LA. Valencia, R. R. (1991). The plight of Chicano stude nts: An overview of schooling conditions and outcomes. In R. R. Valencia (Ed.), C hicano school failure and success: Research and policy agendas for the 1990's (pp. 3-2 6). London: The Falmer Press. Valencia, R. R. & Aburto, S. (1991a). Competency te sting and Latino student access to the teaching profession: An overview of issues. In G. D. Keller; J. R., Deneen & R. J. Magalln (Eds.), Assessment and access: Hispanics in higher educatio n (pp 167-194). Albany: State University of New York Press.Valencia, R. R. & Aburto, S. (1991b). Research dire ctions and practical strategies in teacher testing and assessment: Implications for Im proving Latino Access to teaching. In G. D. Keller; J. R. Deneen & R. J. Magalln (Eds.), Assessment and access: Hispanics in higher education (pp 195-232). Albany: State University of New York Pre ss. Valencia, R. R. & Guadarrama, I. (1995). High-Stake s testing and its impact on racial/ethnic minority students. In L. A. Suzuki, P J. Meller, & J. G. Ponterotto (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural assessment: Clinical, psy chological, and educational applications (pp. 561-610). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Valenzuela, A. (1999). Subtractive schooling: U.S.-Mexican youth and the p olitics of caring Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Waggoner, D. (1999). Numbers and needs: Ethnic and linguistic minorities in the United Sates, 9(3). v.htm Waggoner, D. (2000). Majority of U.S. Asians and Pa cific Islanders are foreign born. NABE News, 24( 2), p. 30. About the AuthorBelinda Bustos FloresUniversity of Texas—San Antonio


15 of 17 Email: Belinda Bustos Flores is an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas at San Anton io. She completed her Ph.D. at The University of Texas at Austin in Curriculum and Ins truction with a specialization in Multilingual Studies and Educational Psychology. He r research interests include teacher self-concept and ethnic identity, teacher efficacy, teacher beliefs, teacher preparation, effective teaching practices, and implications of h igh-stakes on preservice teachers.Copyright 2001 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-0211. (602-965-9644). The Commentary Editor is Casey D. C obb: .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Western Interstate Commission for HigherEducation William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo


16 of 17 Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers Ann Leavenworth Centerfor Accelerated Learning Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin Michael Scriven Robert E. Stake University of Illinois—UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education David D. Williams Brigham Young UniversityEPAA Spanish Language Editorial BoardAssociate Editor for Spanish Language Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Adrin Acosta (Mxico) Universidad de J. Flix Angulo Rasco (Spain) Universidad de Teresa Bracho (Mxico) Centro de Investigacin y DocenciaEconmica-CIDEbracho Alejandro Canales (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma Ursula Casanova (U.S.A.) Arizona State Jos Contreras Domingo Universitat de Barcelona Erwin Epstein (U.S.A.) Loyola University of Josu Gonzlez (U.S.A.) Arizona State Rollin Kent (Mxico)Departamento de InvestigacinEducativa-DIE/ Mara Beatriz Luce (Brazil)Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul-UFRGSlucemb@orion.ufrgs.brJavier Mendoza Rojas (Mxico)Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicojaviermr@servidor.unam.mxMarcela Mollis (Argentina)Universidad de Buenos Humberto Muoz Garca (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicohumberto@servidor.unam.mxAngel Ignacio Prez Gmez (Spain)Universidad de Daniel Schugurensky (Argentina-Canad)OISE/UT, Simon Schwartzman (Brazil)Fundao Instituto Brasileiro e Geografiae Estatstica


17 of 17 Jurjo Torres Santom (Spain)Universidad de A Carlos Alberto Torres (U.S.A.)University of California, Los


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