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Caught in the Middle: Grow Your Own Teachers

302 days. That is how long the state of Illinois has operated without a budget. 

The impasse left more than 100 people facing a dilemma. They were counting on a state program called Grow Your Own to help them with tuition at a college of education.

Grow Your Own is a unique program. It helps people in the community, many of whom already work in their neighborhood schools, and supports them as they become certified teachers. 

Though a small program, it is a vital one. Illinois needs more black and Latino teachers and Grow Your Own has been held up as a national model for recruiting them. 

Grow Your Own was counting on $1.5 million from the state. Without that money, they have not been able to pay tuition for the prospective teachers. 

Some have decided to put off college classes until they know how they will pay for them. Others enrolled in school, thinking that eventually the budget would be passed and their tuition would be paid. That’s what happened to prospective teacher Fatima Salgado.

Click play to hear her story.

Sarah Karp is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her @sskedreporter or @wbezeducation

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