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UCR Researcher on State Bilingual Education Panel


UCR Researcher Named to State Bilingual Education Panel

Biliteracy Institute Director Teresa Márquez-López to influence decisions about bilingual education

(October 20, 2005)

Teresa Marquez-Lopez

Teresa Marquez-Lopez

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — www.ucr.eduTeresa Márquez-López, an education researcher at the University of California, Riverside, has been named to a new state advisory panel that will review the certification of teachers of students who are learning English.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), which sets standards for teachers, created the 15-member Bilingual Certification Advisory Work Group. Members represent county offices of education, school districts, and universities.

“This position will help me to advocate for stronger academic preparation for teachers of English language learners,” said Márquez-López, who is the director of the Two-Way Immersion Biliteracy Specialist Institute at UCR.

“By better preparing teachers, through a rigorous BCLAD program, students will achieve at higher academic levels,” she said. Students need strong K-12 programs to be well prepared to enter the University of California or California State University upon graduation. Our goal, here at the research center, is to help students to achieve at their full potential.”

The BCLAD (Bilingual Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development) credential is the certification for teachers who provide instruction in the student’s first language — a group known by educators as English language learners. While passage of proposition 227 in 1998 restricted conventional bilingual education in California’s classrooms, parents retained the option to choose to have their children placed in alternative bilingual programs. Many school districts offer alternative bilingual education programs and now the state is considering how best to provide dual-language instruction. To that end, the state’s Bilingual Certification Advisory Work Group will seek to address four policy questions. They are:

  1. Should the CCTC consider alternative ways of certifying credentialed teachers for bilingual education?

  2. How will the commission maintain a structure for bilingual certification for those candidates who are in the process of earning a credential?

  3. How can the commission provide bilingual certification for the increasing number of languages spoken in California schools?

  4. How should new models of instruction be considered in the development of updated requirements for bilingual certification?


On October 27, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing will sponsor a public hearing at UCR Extension. Teachers, administrators and parents are invited to respond to the four policy questions listed above. The meeting will begin at 4:30pm in conference room C.

In 2002, Márquez-López established a Two-Way Immersion Biliteracy Specialist Institute for teachers, using a $1.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant. The two-way immersion approach divides class time alternately into Spanish and English to a student body that is half native English speaking and half native Spanish speaking. The institute, which started out serving three school districts, now serves eleven districts and has expanded its scope to offer classes to school administrators. The institute now offers a CCTC approved Reading Certificate with a Biliteracy Emphasis, the only one of its kind in the state.

Students gain a greater appreciation of the other culture, according to Márquez-López. Teachers gain a tightly-knit and encouraging learning community. “This fall, four of the institute graduates entered UCR’s Ph.D. program in education, while several others have been hired by local school districts to serve in leadership roles. Their expertise is being recognized by others in the field.”

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The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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