Report Shows Indiana School Counseling Falling Short

May 20, 2014

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.  A survey was conducted of more than four hundred school  counselors across the state.

The Indiana Chamber says 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," Redelman 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.