GOOD

Why the High School Guidance Counselor Needs a Makeover

Want to boost the number of students going to college? Let guidance counselors do their jobs.


One piece of advice in Forbes contributor Gene Marks' recent, deservedly maligned, essay "If I Was a Poor Black Kid" was that students who want to go to college should become best friends with their high school guidance counselor. A new report from the Education Trust shows just how out of touch Marks' advice really is. Too many of the nation's counselors don't spend their time advising students and ensuring they're college- and career-ready, the report found.

The Education Trust found that more than 90 percent of counselors say advocating for students is the "ideal mission for their profession," but only 45 percent say that's what they do at work. Things are even worse at low-income schools, where students may need a counselor's advice and guidance even more than their wealthier peers. A full 68 percent of counselors at low-income schools say their job should be to "ensure that low-income students get the extra help they need," yet only 30 percent say that's how they spend their time.


Part of the problem is that counselors "are saddled with menial tasks that are unrelated to preparing students for success after graduation,” researchers found. Busy principals often shift their responsibilities to counselors, requiring them to coordinate standardized tests or supervise the lunchroom. That leaves less time to ensure that students sign up for the right classes to stay on the college track. And given the high student-to-counselor ratio at most public schools9 students—most counselors don’t have the chance to get to know individual students, much less help design customized education plans.

The report recommends that schools shift their vision for counselors' roles. Instead of asking counselors simply to provide "individual therapy and intervention" for troubled students, schools should consider them the leaders of "school efforts to prepare graduates for life beyond a diploma." At a time when boosting the number of high school and college graduates is a matter of the nation's economic security, it's critical that guidance counselors have the chance to do their jobs.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user marshillonline

Articles
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health