Legislature: House Unanimously Votes To Expand Teacher Scholarship Act


The New Mexico House of Representatives unanimously voted today to expand eligibility for the “Grow Your Own Teachers Act” beyond educational assistants to also include public school employees who have worked with students for at least two years. 

Sponsored by Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque), Sen. Michael Padilla (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Raymundo “Ray” Lara (D-Chamberino), and Rep. Natalie Figueroa (D-Albuquerque), House Bill 22 expands the 2019 Act, which created a scholarship program for educational assistants in New Mexico wanting to pursue a teaching degree.

“Created to address New Mexico’s shortage of teachers, the Grow Your Own Teachers Act has seen tremendous success in its first two years, helping more than 150 teaching assistants pursue degrees in education,” said Rep. Garratt. “House Bill 22 will extend the Act’s scholarship opportunities to other paraprofessionals already in our school systems, fostering homegrown teaching talent in our state.” 

“New Mexico currently has over 1000 teacher vacancies in our school systems,” Rep. Lara. “This bill not only helps aspiring educators to pursue their passion for teaching, but it also benefits our students by creating a pipeline of qualified, homegrown teachers to fill this gaping need.” 

“An additional benefit of HB 22 is that the new teachers supported by the Act are coming from within our communities, so they often speak the same languages, come from similar backgrounds, and live in the same neighborhoods as the students they’ll be educating,” said Rep. Figueroa. “This not only results in more meaningful connections between teachers and students, but sets a relatable example of professional growth and success for the next generation.” 

The Grow Your Own Teachers Act provided scholarships to 43 students in fiscal year 2020, and 150 individuals will be recipients in 2021. 

The current average salary of educational assistants in New Mexico is $18,300. Once an individual becomes certified, they become a Level 1 teacher with a $41,000 salary. 

HB 22 passed the House with a 69-0 vote, and will be heard next in the New Mexico Senate.

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.