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Latham schools announcement insults teachers and fails public schools.

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Senator Kerry Nettle

Senator for New South Wales

Latham schools announcement insults teachers and fails public schools

Senator Nettle, 3rd September 2004

Greens Education Spokesperson Senator Kerry Nettle has described today's school initiative announced by Labor leader Mark Latham, as "insulting to teachers and a let down for public schools."

"This is another Labor party announcement that clearly signals their support for the Howard government's backing of private schools over public schools," Senator Nettle said.

"The commonwealth should be unequivocal supporters of the public school system in both improved funding and promotion; today's announcement does nothing to achieve this goal.

"Today's announcement hands yet more money to private schools which would be much more effectively spent in the public system.

"Teachers in public schools have been pioneering strategies to address behavioural problems for decades, what they need is better funding not trite announcements about 'values' and 'behavioural agreements'.

"It is not the business of Mark Latham or any other political leader to tell teaching professionals how to do their job.

"The Greens have called for investment in teacher training and professional development for years. $130 million spread over public and private schools is woefully inadequate.

"Many teachers will be offended at the suggestion that bigger salaries are what will motivate 'good teachers' to work with struggling students. All teachers need a pay rise.

"Much more needs to be invested in public school teacher salaries, reducing class sizes, improving facilities and providing ongoing training.

"Whilst Labor remains neutral on the key question of enrolment drift away from public schools their policy like John Howard's will represent a fundamental failure in their responsibility to provide a universal, high quality, accessible, and equitable public education system."

Contact Jon Edwards - 0428 213 146