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The Source: Overwhelmed And Outnumbered, School Counselors In Texas

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Eileen Pace
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TPR News

The State of Texas lacks public school counselors. According to a study by the Ray Marshall Center for the study of Human Resources, they were the first positions eliminated after the deep public school funding cuts of 2011. The student-to-counselor ratios in some San Antonio schools, for instance, are more than 600 to one.

Compounding the problem, with 2013's House Bill 5, counselors were tasked with helping students decide which education path and career track they would choose. The bill was a large-scale education reform package that also reduced standardized testing in Texas schools.

To get the student-to-counselor ratio back to pre-recession levels, Texas would need to hire more than 1,100 to a level of more than 12,100 at a cost of $66 million a year. 

Legislation to get districts to hire more counselors has been filed by Killeen Republican, Jimmy Don Aycock, who chairs the House Public Education Committee and was a primary sponsor on 2013's HB 5.

Speaker of the House Joe Straus, a San Antonio Republican, said in January that he supported incentivizing current counselors to get more training to better assist students in making these life decisions.

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Credit Ray Marshall Center for the study of Human Resources /UT Austin
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What needs to happen in Texas to help students? Are we asking too much of school counselors?

Guests:

  • Ernest Cox, Director of Guidance & Counseling at Judson ISD
  • Jan Friese, Executive Director of the Texas Counseling Association
  • Kimberly Ridgley, Program Coordinator , Secondary Guidance and Counseling at Northside ISD
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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive