EDITORIAL: Indiana needs more school counselors

2014-01-20T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Indiana needs more school counselors nwitimes.com
January 20, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Indiana has one of the nation's worst ratios of school counselors to students.

The Indiana Youth Institute said the ratio is 539-to-1.

It is difficult to imagine counselors being readily available to all the students who might need their assistance when there are so few counselors.

It's hard enough for the counselors even to know the students' names, let alone their personal situations.

Too often, school counselors are too busy with other responsibilities, from testing duties to supervising the lunchroom, to spend adequate time counseling students.

"Counselors don't have enough hours in the day to take care of all the responsibilities they have to take care of," said Glenn Augustine, vice president of advancement for the Indiana Youth Institute.

Even worse, counselors say they don't know what they should about other career options besides college.

A four-year college trajectory isn't the right career path for every high school graduate. Some should get a two-year degree or a certificate to give them the additional training they need for a job in a factory, construction site or elsewhere.

Considering the big push to make students college or career ready, counselors should be well versed on all options to give proper guidance to students.

Students need help to succeed in life, and counselors need to know how to connect students with resources to help them thrive.

Gary schools Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt said her district plans to do more training for counselors to make them aware of career options available to students.

That will help, but that doesn't address the shortage of counselors in Indiana schools. That's an area where Indiana needs to invest more money.

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