CHICAGO — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez spoke out strongly today against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto her legislation expanding the Grow Your Own Teacher initiative.

“I truly cannot understand why Gov. Rauner would choose to veto a measure that would help address Illinois’ teacher shortage,” Martinez (D-Chicago) said.

“The Grow Your Own Teacher program is an investment in Illinois’ future. It encourages and provides support for people studying to become teachers. It places teachers in low-income schools that are often difficult to staff. I don’t see a downside.

“The governor may say he cares about improving the education system in our state, but his actions show otherwise.”

The measure would have extended eligibility for the Grow Your Own Teacher initiative to high school students enrolled at dual-credit courses at participating colleges and universities and to all pre-K teachers, not just those teaching at public schools.

The initiative provides financial, academic and emotional support to people studying to become teachers. After graduation, participants commit to teaching at least five years at a high-needs school or in a high-needs teaching position, usually at schools with a high percentage of low-income students.

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