Mr. President, I think we need to meet. You see, sir, it's about the children.
Not the young ones, mind you. You recently called for strong preschool instruction for every four-year-old in the country, an idea that has been echoed by Michigan's Republican governor and hailed by both parties.
I wish I could say the same thing about the proposed upgrades for high school and higher education, but that's always been a more slippery slope. Does everyone need to go to college? Should the last year of high school be a jump start for technical training -- and if everyone needs some education after high school, how are we going to pay for that?
Policy makers are acting as if they've never been asked before -- but Mr. President, a group of educators addresses these questions every day, one student at a time. The original purpose of school counselors was to help students plan for life after high school, and we've been doing that for over a hundred years. Our duties have expanded to meet the social and emotional needs of our students and our parents, and we seem go get more of our share than lunch duty, but the primary purpose of high school counselors is to help students make the most of high school, with an eye on what comes next...
...But there's a catch. As I've mentioned before, only about 30 counselor training programs offer a course on college counseling, and only one requires all counselors-in-training to take it. Mr. President, you can learn a lot from being a community organizer and U.S. senator that prepares you to be president. But when a high school senior asks a counselor what colleges would be best for her to study Nano science and still play lacrosse, nothing prepares you to help that student but training in college counseling -- especially if she needs a scholarship to get there.
If you're thinking there's a pretty obvious solution here, counselors would agree -- but just like any long-standing problem, policymakers are hesitant to fix it, thinking that if it the answer is as simple as giving counselors the training they need, someone would have made that easy change long ago. I can't tell you why it hasn't been fixed, Mr. President, but I can tell you that counselors want it fixed, and they want it fixed now.
And you're just the person to do it.
I'm going to be in Washington this weekend, talking with members of Congress about this and other education issues. It would be great if I could tell them you're prepared to issue an Executive Order mandating this training for all school counselors, and that you know a way to require it that won't require a counselor, college, or high school to add a dime to their budgets to secure this training. I've explained it to dozens of policy makers, and they say it makes sense; they just don't want to take the next step.
I'm convinced you know better.
My meetings start on Sunday, and I'll be in town Saturday. I'll only need 15 minutes of your time, and I can come by the White House, so there's no need for us to be sequest -- er, meeting somewhere else.
But there is a need for us to meet. Those four-year-olds will be 17 someday, and unless school counselors get the better college training they are begging for, policymakers will still be asking the same questions about college, while another generation's aspirations lay to waste.
See you Saturday then?
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