Michigan Is Lacking When It Comes To School Counselors

Michigan Student Caucus Proposal Template for  Summers-Knoll Students 2019 Part 1: BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS due Oct 22 Context

 

  1. What is a current bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal? Use the legislative database found here

Bill number 41. This bill talks about how teachers should be taught mental health first aid (which includes listening to students, identifying warning signs, and helping students find professional help) through a program established by the school system with the department of health and human services. 

  1. How would this bill make a difference in the lives of students across Michigan? 

This bill will help more students with mental health issues get the help they need. Maybe with this support, more of them will be able to complete their education and get better grades. Also, having support can help students with motivation issues so they will miss less school. In general, having adult support is very helpful when students have educational issues. Finally, with this addition, many students with mental health issues will be able to get support while dealing with suicidal thoughts. This may lead to a decrease in suicide rates in Michigan.

  1. How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

Last year I went through a rough time at school and my parents and I were always looking to go to the school counselor for help. It wasn’t difficult to get access to the counselor, but when I was able to, she wasn’t very helpful in moving forward with getting me more help. I have also had many friends and family members complain about the inefficiency of their counselors. 

  1. Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/12AkNjTT9trBCL9IxVuroU88qV530GXzq/view?usp=sharing

Research process

 

  1. To whom did you talk about this issue to learn more?

I talked to my dad because he had some information on how the Michigan University funds its school counselors. We also discussed how the ratio impacted the efficiency of the counselors. 

  1. What did you initially think about your topic and how did your thinking change over time?

Originally I went into the project thinking that the reason counselors were so inefficient was because there weren’t a lot of credentials to become a counselor. When I looked into it, I found that you needed hundreds of hours of practice and lots of years of school to be one, so I began looking for other issues. Then I stumbled upon a website that had the data on how mandatory counselors were in states across the country. That’s where I found out that counselors are not mandatory in any level of school in Michigan. After that I kept looking around and found out about Michigan’s high student to counselor ratio and I realized that these were the actual issues.

  1. What was the most significant article/video/report/website that you used and how did it impact your research?

https://www.kappanonline.org/oconnor-school-counselors-make-world-difference/

This article was the most important in my research because it told me about what counselors have actually positively impacted in schools. It also let me know about a program in Colorado that successfully pulled off what I wanted Michigan to do. It helped me give solid evidence that what I wanted to do was possible and probable. 

Part 2: FORMAL PROPOSAL due Oct 29 The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform. Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... Many students in Michigan lack the motivation and resources they need to maintain a healthy school attendance rate. Approximately one out of every six children were chronically absent in the school year of 2016-2017.  

WHEREAS.... Many children in Michigan are unable to get the help they need while they deal with mental illnesses that may lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. In 2017 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did a survey in which they found that 21% of the high school students they asked said they had serious thoughts about suicide in the year before the survey. 

WHEREAS.... The government of Michigan has not made school counselors mandatory nor accessible in schools. Many schools themselves can’t afford to hire high quality counselors, and since they don’t have to, a lot of them wont. According to the Civil Rights Data Collection, in 2014 64.3% of schools in Michigan had school counselors.  

WHEREAS…. Michigan’s average student-to-counselor-ratio is 729:1, which is 479 students more than the recommended ratio from the American School Counselor Association. This has proven to make school counselors less efficient, and the schools that have lower ratios have scored higher on the College Admissions Knowledge Evaluation Test (CAKE).

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

  1. Part of Michigan’s education budget shall be reserved for grants for school districts. This money should be used to implement a counselling program in schools that provides the appropriate amount of full time school counselors for each school. 

  2. School counselors have been proven to lower chronic absenteeism in their schools. An example of this is in Illinois, the 2018 Counselor Of The Year, Kirsten Perry reduced chronic absenteeism at her school by 61% over the course of two years. 

  3. A part of a school counselor’s role is mental health awareness. They can hold assemblies and bring in mental health professionals to speak to students about these issues. When children are told about issues they may be facing, or may face in the future, it helps them feel more prepared and less alone when they deal with troubling thoughts. 

  4. School counselors are not therapists, but they are very viable in helping students find affordable help outside of school. They can show students online free resources or group counselling sessions around their area, and can serve as someone to talk to throughout the school day. 

  5. As a part of the school counselling programs, it shall be enforced that there should be no more than 250 students depending on a school counselor at one time. The program will provide the appropriate amount of counselors to a school depending on its student count.

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

  1. The amount of money this grant would take could be used more efficiently to solve other more urgent problems with the education system. 

  2. The counselors may express their opinions about certain topics that go against someone’s beliefs. 

  3. This money could be used so that more schools can have more high quality teachers, which improves the future of the students’ lives. 

Costs and funding:
  1. What are some costs associated with your proposal? 

The cost of hiring the counselors and paying them full time at school will be high, as well as the cost of having awareness assemblies for mental health and other issues may be pricey. 

  1. How will you pay for your proposed bill? From what sources could the funding come?

The costs of the bill will come from a grant made by the state of Michigan. The grant money will come from the Michigan education budget. School districts can apply for the grant each year, and after that it is a possibility that it could become a statewide change.  

  1. Who (people or groups) might object to funding your proposal?

People who believe that counselors are inefficient or that they are not as useful as normal teachers might oppose this bill because they may believe that it is a waste of money.

References:

List all websites, articles, reports, videos, or other resources you used to research for this project. You do not have to include formal citations. **Eighth graders only: After each source, write 1-2 sentences about why you chose this source and why you trusted it. 

https://www.kappanonline.org/oconnor-school-counselors-make-world-difference/

I trusted this source because when I checked for its resources, it had all of the ones they mentioned, and when I checked those they were all mainly .gov or state data collections. 

https://news.umich.edu/michigan-students-among-nations-most-chronically-absent-homeless-students-at-particular-risk/

I trusted this source because it came from the university itself. Normally that wouldn’t be enough for me, but because a critical and negative article, that made it more unbiased. It also included quoted other professors and people from Michigan talking about the issue.

https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/facts-and-stats/national-and-state-data-sheets/adolescent-mental-health-fact-sheets/michigan/index.html#footnote-1

I trusted this website because it is a .gov website, as well as it lists specific details about what questions they asked in the survey. Also this isn’t an opinion piece, it is just facts. 

 

https://www.schoolcounselor.org/administrators/role-of-the-school-counselor

I trusted this because it came directly from a source that many of my other sources cited, the American School Counselor Association. Now, this is a website with that is in favor of school counselors, but this particular post isn’t opinionated, because it exists to provide information on what counselors do. 

https://ocrdata.ed.gov/downloads/projections/2013-14/School-Counselors.xlsx

I trusted this source because it is a .gov site and is solely a collection of countrywide data. 

https://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/Publications/ratioreport.pdf

I trust this source because it is, once again, from the American School Counselor Association. Also, the part of this infographic I used was solely information on the student-to-counselor ratio in Michigan. 

https://schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/Publications/Effectiveness-AppRatios-Infographic.pdf

I trusted this infographic because it has a strong collection of data to support what it’s trying to prove. Also it comes from the American School Counselor Association.

https://schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/Publications/Effectiveness-RatiosOutcomes-Infographic.pdf

This one was also from the American School Counselor Association and also had a bunch of strong data backing up its point. That is why I trusted it. 



 

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Total votes: 26

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