An upper house review into the NSW education system has recommended a swag of changes be made to keep students from falling behind the world standard.
Handed down on Tuesday, the report detailed 66 areas of concern in the way public schools are functioning around the state.
As a member of the committee, Wagga-based upper house legislator Wes Fang told The Daily Advertiser that among the priority concerns was the fostering of strong classroom cultures and teachers.
"The takeaway message from the review is that while education is in a good space, there is room for improvement in the way we manage and measure a school's best practice," Mr Fang said.
In handing down the recommendations, Mr Fang said the intention was not for schools to feel the need to merely meet the minimum academic requirements but to incentivise the need for teachers to thrive.
"We want the top third of [high school] graduates with the best ATARs to go on to be teachers, so we need minimums in them that will provide the next generation with the basics," he said.
"There's no single answer, but we want people who are starting to become teachers to be high calibre with broad knowledge. We want teaching to be something to aspire to, it should not be a fallback career."
"If a principal isn't performing, how do we then put someone in the role that will raise the school's performance?"
The review also recommended that funding be allocated as a means of further incentivising strong results through promoting educational culture shifts.
"We're pouring money in, but are we getting better results? Not necessarily," Mr Fang said.
"Money is not a panacea for everything."
Riverina representative of the NSW Teachers Federation, John Pratt, told The Daily Advertiser he believes the rewards for good teachers must be strengthened to motivate career longevity.
"We need a better system for top students to see teaching as a good career," Mr Pratt said.
"Those with the higher HSC results have a good understanding of the world, and we need them to take on the mantle."
To do this, Mr Pratt advocates for changing the perception around the profession.
"We need to get the status of respect back to the profession," he said.
"That means we need a suitable salary and advancement options. Teaching is a wonderful profession but the salary needs to keep the pace with other professions top students could go into.
"Starting salaries are good, but a teacher who has had 10 years experience is falling behind."
While admitting more could be done to improve the long-term career options for good teachers, Mr Fang said it was important that wages not become the only issue in focus.
"We need to move away from the idea that teachers aren't well paid because that perpetuates a myth that teachers are not well remunerated, I don't think that's true," he said.
"We do need to recognise the teachers who are performing well, those who are really excelling, are given other avenues.
"Not everyone wants to be a principal. We want to be able to keep the knowledge in classrooms but make sure teachers can get a similar income as they would if they took on those higher admin roles."
Now tabled in the Legislative Council, the report has been forwarded to NSW Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell.
Mr Fang expects it will take another six months before any of the recommendations may be adopted, but visible change in the classroom may take much longer.
"The reform process won't be done in a year, it will need almost a generation," he said.
"It's tomorrow's [HSC] graduates that will be walking back into the classrooms [as teachers] in five years time, so this will take multiple terms of government."