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Martinez works to expand eligibility for Grow Your Own Teacher initiative

TeacherSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is continuing her long-time advocacy for the Grow Your Own Teacher (GYOT) initiative by advancing legislation that expands the ability of schools and future teachers to participate in the program.

“Illinois is dealing with a teacher shortage, so we need to do all that we can to place dedicated teachers in schools,” Martinez said. “We especially must work to ensure students at schools that are traditionally hard to staff – like those in low-incomes areas – have the same access to quality education as anyone else.”

The Grow Your Own Teacher initiative is a program designed to train people to become teachers in hard-to-staff schools.

Martinez’s legislation would expand the definition of "eligible school" and "hard-to-staff" schools for the initiative to include early childhood programs in which no less than 40 percent of the children it serves are receiving subsidized care under the Department of Human Services' Child Care Assistance Program.

It would also extend eligibility for participation in the initiative to high school students enrolled in a dual credit course at a participating institution of higher education.

Senate Bill 244 is similar to legislation Martinez passed last year that then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed. It passed the Senate Higher Education Committee without opposition Tuesday and heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Senator Iris Y. Martinez

Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez

Assistant Majority Leader
20th District

Years served:
2003 - Present
 
Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive; Government Accountability/Pensions (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation.

Biography: Born Feb. 25, 1956, in Chicago; earned her bachelor's degree in public policy and administration from Northeastern Illinois University in 2009; elected president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. She is also the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Co-Chair; has one daughter.

Associated Representatives:
Jaime M. Andrade, Jr.
Will Guzzardi