Linda Sánchez Introduces Resolution Recognizing National School Counselors Week
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Linda Sánchez (CA-38), House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair, introduced H. Res 723, a resolution to honor the hard work of school counselors across the country by making the week of February 5-9, 2018 "National School Counselors Week."
“School counselors play an important role in the everyday lives of young students,” said Rep. Linda Sánchez. “They help shape our country’s future by guiding millions of students across the country. For many students school counselors provide vital support and guidance, and help set them on the path toward educational and career success. This resolution recognizes our national appreciation for the hard work school counselors do to help make our future brighter.”
The legislation was co-sponsored by 24 House Democrats: Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Al Green (D-TX), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), James Langevin (D-RI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sander Levin (D-MI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), David Price (D-NC), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Juan Vargas (D-CA).
Put School Counselors Where They’re Needed Act Background
Congresswoman Sánchez is a leading advocate for the importance of school counselors in America’s high schools. She has been the author of the “Put School Counselors Where They’re Needed Act” which provides funding for additional counselors in high schools with high drop-out rates.
The current counselor-to-student ratio in America's schools is 482 to 1, which is nearly double the 250 to 1 ratio recommended by the American School Counselors Association and the National Association for College Admissions. In California, the need is even greater. In California, the counselor-to-student ratio is one for every 760 students.
Legislative Overview: Current federal law provides federal support to promote school and student improvement, but does not comprehensively and expressly focus on addressing the present day national need for more high school counselors. This legislation would amend Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, to create a demonstration project to fund additional secondary school counselors aimed at reducing the drop-out rate in at-risk schools.
Grants would be made available, on a competitive basis, to a minimum of ten secondary schools from at least five different states that receive funds under Title I of the Education Act. In order to qualify, the school must have a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of 60 percent or lower. The grant will be for a four-year period and may be used to provide additional school counselors as well as additional resources for existing school counselors. Funds for this act are meant to supplement, not supplant, funds from non-federal sources. The additional counselors provided through these funds must be in addition to any employees already working in the secondary school guidance or counseling office. Authorizes $5,000,000 for each of the next four fiscal years.
Additional school counselors would be responsible for identifying students at risk of not graduating in four years and working with these students in need. These counselors would be encouraged to identify such students before they enter grade nine, but are permitted to identify students at-risk at any time.
Counseling services would be provided as long as necessary. Services under this Act may include developing a graduation plan, course placement advice, and providing tutoring with supplemental books and materials. Services would also include scheduled meetings with not just the student-at-risk, but also the teachers, tutors, parents, and other relevant individuals (i.e. the probation officer, employer, or coach of each student).