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State and Federal governments must act now to address the coming teacher crisis.

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Kerry Nettle, Senator for New South Wales

State and Federal governments must act now to address the coming teacher crisis

Senator Nettle, 18th July 2006

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle said today that it is not just science and engineering areas that need more teachers and students but all areas will suffer if both state and federal governments fail to encourage more people into teaching.

"Both state and federal governments need to recognise the need to reward all teachers in public schools if we are to avoid a major staffing problem in the next decade," Senator Nettle said.

"Minister Julie Bishop should be calling for a summit to address teacher shortages before worrying about curriculum issues like the teaching of history.

"The current debate about paying some teachers bonuses for good work is a distraction from the much more urgent need to reward all teachers and make teaching a much more attractive career option.

"Public school teacher salaries have been going backwards relative to average weekly earnings for decades and the profession is suffering as a result.

"Research by the Australian Education Union has shown that Australia is heading for a teacher shortage of as many as 30,000 by the end of this decade if the intake is not increased.

"The average age of science teachers in NSW is over 50 and of all teachers in public schools it is 49. Much more needs to be done to attract new teachers into the system.

"The Greens want significant investment to increase teachers' salaries but also a detailed strategy to improve conditions, resources and promote public schools and the teaching profession more generally.

"Societies are measured by the quality of their public schooling. Australia is doing well but must act now to preserve and improve its public system."

Contact - Jon Edwards 0428 213 146