The Australian Greens will push the federal government to provide a significant funding boost for public schools to ensure they set the benchmark for education standards said Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown at the national Public Education Forum in Canberra today.
Announcing two initiatives to provide new funding aimed to address the crisis in teaching and school resources, Senator Brown said that the Australian Greens would campaign in the lead up to the federal election and afterwards in the Senate to ensure every child has access to a high quality education.
"A strong public education system is essential for a society that values our children and their futures," said Senator Brown.
"The Greens support in the Senate ensured the delivery of the Economic Stimulus Package which is providing vital investment in school buildings.
"But the Labor Government has not done enough to address the legacy of under-investment in public education the Howard Government left.
"To combat growing teacher shortages the Greens are today announcing proposals for up to 3000 new Commonwealth teacher scholarships worth $5000 per year for up to five years to encourage people into the profession. In return recipients would be required to work in a public school in an area of need.
"Alongside this we are proposing a complementary mentor program to support teachers in their early years.
"Today we are also announcing a new Schools' Community Fund of $125m per year to allow public schools to employ staff such as counsellors and community workers.
"The program would provide grants of up to $60,000 per year over three years for around 2000 schools, and allow flexibility for schools to decide their own needs.
"In the coming months in the lead up to the federal election the Greens will be announcing comprehensive education policies to create a high quality public education system."