Sánchez makes push for more high school counselors, designates “National School Counseling Week”

February 1, 2021
Press Release
Introduces HR 614, the Put School Counselors Where They Are Needed Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez today introduced H.R. 614, Put School Counselors Where They Are Needed Act, to put more counselors in high schools with 60 percent or higher dropout rates. She also filed H.J. Res 22, a resolution to designate the week of February 1 through February 5 National School Counseling Week, something she has done since 2008.

“The pandemic has spotlighted the need to focus on more than just test scores when thinking of our children’s futures,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez. “Each year, 523,000 high school students drop out of school without earning a high school diploma or an alternative credential. We must examine and address our national dropout problem by ensuring that schools and students have the tools they need to graduate. This bill would do that by placing additional professional secondary school counselors in high schools with drop-out rates of 60% or more. These counselors will work intensively with students at risk of dropping out and collaborate with parents, teachers, and others to develop a comprehensive plan to get students on track to graduate.”

The American School Counselor Association, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, and other organizations recommend a ratio of one school counselor to 250 students, and a lower ratio for counselors working primarily with students at risk. However, the average counselor-to-student ratio in America’s public schools is one to 430, a ratio that hardly allows for individual attention and intensive support. Even worse, in California’s public schools, that average ratio is a staggering 612 students per counselor.

On the same day she filed the Put School Counselors Where They Are Needed Act, Congresswoman Sánchez introduced her annual resolution for the first week in February to be designated National School Counseling Week. While introducing the resolution, the Congresswoman recognized a counselor from her district, Marla Diaz, who works at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, California. Marla has been a counselor since 2001 and has made an incredible impact at El Rancho High School. She is known for not only helping students with career and college choices, but for being there for students coping with serious and common challenges of growing up.

“National School Counseling Week is about counselors from across the country just like Marla Diaz. She is exactly the type of champion our students need,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez. “Marla’s office at El Rancho High School is not only filled with her warmth but with pictures of former students, each one a life she has impacted and inspired. She is even known to have former students and families reach out for her continued guidance. As a former educator, it is an honor to introduce this resolution each year honoring the tireless work of school counselors.”

H.J. Res 22 is supported by the American School Counselor Association and the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

H.J.Res 22 is cosponsored by Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), James R. Langevin (D-RI), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), David Price (D-NC), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), David Trone (D-MD), and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA).

H.R. 614 is cosponsored by Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT).

Full text of H.R. 614, the Put School Counselors Where They Are Needed Act Here is here. Full text of H.J. Res. 22, National School Counseling Day, is here.