- Canadian economist Craig Alexander does not believe high school guidance programs are equipped to prepare students to choose their college majors — and, by extension, make good career decisions.
- The Toronto Star reports Alexander sees a lot of students making decisions related to what they’re interested in rather than what skills are needed in the labor market, and he says schools are behind, teaching students what they needed in the 1990s rather than what they need now.
- To combat that mismatch, Alexander says schools need to focus more on entrepreneurism and literacy as well as offer more apprenticeships and co-ops.
The latest Civil Rights Data Collection survey found 1.6 million students attend schools that have a police officer but no guidance counselor. Budget cuts have made districts and school principals make tough decisions about what roles on their staffs are extra. While the vast majority of schools still have guidance counselors, many districts have asked counselors to split their time among multiple schools and too-high caseloads are common.
The 2013 national average for student-to-counselor ratios was 470:1. Compare that to the recommended average of 250:1. And, of course, averages obscure the outliers. Arizona had 863 counselors per student in 2013. And California was barely better with 813 counselors to one student in its public schools. When students do not have access to a counselor who knows them and their education history, it is nearly impossible to get good college and career advice.