The certification of bilingual (Spanish/English) teachers in New York City

Luis Angel Ramirez, Fordham University


The purpose of the study was to identify and describe the factors affecting the permanent certification of bilingual (Spanish/English) teachers in New York City. The participants of the study were 101 bilingual elementary classroom teachers working under a Provisional Preparatory Teacher (PPT) license in the New York City public schools. They were also actively attending courses as part of a Master's Bilingual Education Program. Nominal, ordinal, and numerical data were gathered through the administration of the survey questionnaire, Perceptions of Bilingual Teachers on New York State Teacher Certification Questionnaire. The primary mode of analysis was the presentation of frequency distributions and descriptive statistics. Data were also analyzed by examining the relationships among the survey variables. Transcribed interviews were analyzed for thematic content. The study attempted to gather survey data, interview experts in the field, analyze these data, and identify and describe the factors that may have affected the certification of qualified and well-prepared bilingual teachers in New York City. Some of the conclusions were: (1) Respondents indicated that the lack of understanding about bilingual education, bilingualism, and certification of bilingual teachers on the part of the policymakers, the need for more and better teacher education programs, the absence of quality professional development experiences for bilingual teachers relevant to bilingual classroom needs, the mismatch between certification requirements, the preparation of qualified bilingual teachers, bilingual teacher competencies, and bilingual classroom needs, and the lack of funding for the preparation, recruitment, and retention of bilingual teachers were found to be factors affecting the permanent certification of Spanish bilingual teachers in New York City. (2) Respondents indicated that state certification examinations were not testing competencies relevant to the work of bilingual teachers. The Liberal Arts and Science test was perceived as the least relevant of the tests. New York State Certification Examinations were seen as the major barrier impeding teachers' personal progress toward certification. Tuition cost for the required coursework was perceived as another major barrier in meeting New York State teacher certification requirements. (3) Respondents felt that changes in the process of certifying bilingual teachers and certification requirements were needed.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Ramirez, Luis Angel, "The certification of bilingual (Spanish/English) teachers in New York City" (2000). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9975362.