Mandate Full Time School Counselors at all levels of K-12 Education
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School Counselors are more than just employees who help students schedule classes or stay on track for graduation. School Counselors abide by the American School Counselor Association's (ASCA) national framework to fulfil the academic, social/emotional and career needs of ALL students in ALL grade levels. ASCA recommends one school counselor to every 250 students in order to provide preventative, proactive, effective and timely programming. In Kentucky the average ratio is 1:455.
In fact, only 23 states and the District of Columbia mandate school counselors at all grade levels. States not on this sort list include Kentucky, Florida, Connecticut, Colorado, Ohio, California and Louisiana.
What do they have in common? They are all the states where a school shooting has taken place this year OR the states of the most deadly school shootings.
School Counselors are found to:
1. Help students work through behavioral problems, mental health concerns, and other issues that might hamper kids’ success in school and in life. Adding one school counselor to a school has been found to increase their standardize test score by one and a half standard deviations.
2. Hiring one school counselor who implements the ASCA framework is found to improve graduation rates from 49% to 78.8%. Hiring one additional school counselor improves the percentage of students attending a 4 year college from 3.8 % to 17%.
3. Schools who abide by the 1:250 school counselor to student ratio have (on average) a 91% graduation rate, a 94% attendance rate and a 2% discipline issue rate. Small group counseling at the elementary level showed grade improvement in 86% of participants.
4. ASCA Framework programs are found to have the highest success rate in these five areas: cognition, attitude, self regulation, behavior and social skills.
5. It is estimated that 50% of all parents state their children need more emotional support to deal with family, peer or social issues. Fewer than 10% or parents seek outside resources to help their students deal with their emotional and social stressors. Fewer than 50% of all students formally diagnosed with an emotional or behavioral disorder will EVER see an outside expert to deal with their diagnosis. In many, many cases a school counselor is the ONLY TRAINED professional this child will ever be in contact with.
With the current state of Kentucky and our nation, our children NEED school counselors at every grade level. It may not be realistic to have 1 counselor to ever 250 students immediately, but it is realistic to require EVERY school at EVERY grade level to have AT LEAST one FULL TIME school counselor.
Our children are living in a state with a massive opium problem. Our rate of children living with an incarcerated parent is TWICE the national average. School shootings have already occurred in our state this year alone. The future of our state and the futures of our students depend on the hiring and support of school counselors across Kentucky's K-12 education system.
The list goes on and on. More statistics can be found at asca.org or at:
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