Minnesota Opinion - On school counselors:
An excerpt from recent editorials in Minnesota newspapers: By The Associated Press On school counselors: The need for high school counselors seems to be growing in a number of respects, while our supply of them is less than what seems to be even ...
An excerpt from recent editorials in Minnesota newspapers:
By The Associated Press
On school counselors:
The need for high school counselors seems to be growing in a number of respects, while our supply of them is less than what seems to be even a bare minimum.
A report by the National Center for Education Statistics shows Minnesota at the bottom of the rankings when it comes to counselor to student ratios in high school. Despite high rankings in just about every other area of Minnesota education, we're 49th out of 50 states in the counselor to student ratio. Almost the lowest. Minnesota's 800 students per counselor is barely half the national average of 476 students to one counselor. The American Counseling Associations rec-ommends 250 students to one counselor.
This is particularly troubling at a time when needs for student counseling are growing. Coun-selors face a larger number of students with mental health problems and other issues that can halt a student from succeeding in high school and in higher education.
When students have emotional and social challenges, they're less likely to learn the things they need to know to become productive citizens. A survey of Minnesota counselors indicated that 76 percent of counselors said mental health issues have increased but the counselors also said they only spent 10 to 20 percent of their time on these issues.
The news on low counselor ratios comes at a time when U.S. News and World Report recently devoted an entire issue to the topic of how college diplomas "mean more than ever." Even at the state level, high schools are being pushed to get students into fields like engineering and math so as they can fortify a work force in need of those skills. Global competition will demand it.
So it seems almost like adding one counselor to a school that has an existing counselor to serve some 800 students would be a prudent and wise investment. How many of those precious education dollars are wasted because students cannot get a bit of friendly advice, encourage-ment or support? We suggest that savings would more than pay for an additional counselor.
Bringing Minnesota schools up to the national average in counseling ratios would seem to be a worthwhile investment. Adding counselors is a way to make sure all students get the most from public education.
-- The Free Press of Mankato