The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says school counselors are being hampered by a number of factors from providing Hoosier students with the most complete college and career readiness opportunities.
Chamber leaders say a survey of more than 400 school counselors across the state shows the problem isn’t with counselors – it’s with counseling. Its survey of school counselors found that 90-percent say they spend less than half of their time on college and career readiness activities.
Chamber Vice President Amy Marsh, a former school counselor, says the amount of time counselors are asked to devote to non-counseling activities has more than doubled in the last four years.
“The non-counseling duties consume almost 40 percent of a counselor’s time," Marsh says. "What non-counseling duties can include would be things like test administration; it could be lunch duty.”
Chamber Vice President Derek Redelman says the solution isn’t necessarily more counselors – he says teachers need to help promote college and career readiness by connecting their lessons to real-world application. And he says parent expectations are part of the issue.
“The parents don’t really like to hear anything other than top-tier, four-year options for their students," he says. "We talk a lot about maybe parents not having high expectations for their kids – in this case, sometimes maybe the expectations are a little too narrow at the top end.”
Redelman says the current school accountability standards are also at fault because they focus too much on four-year degree preparation, emphasizing Advanced Placement, SAT scores and dual credit. He says more attention needs to be paid to preparing students for postsecondary options like job certification training.