The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) wants to hear from the public about the proposed counseling and guidance model for Alabama public schools.
The deadline for input is April 17.
Two public hearings have been held, with the final hearing to be held on Monday, March 30, at 7:00 p.m. at Trenholm State Technical College, 1225 Airbase Boulevard, Building D, Montgomery, Alabama.
The biggest difference I found is the way the plan suggests a counselor’s time be expended. The old model offered detailed guidelines for what percentage of a counselor’s time should be spent doing a specific group of activities, where the new model simply suggests that 80% of a counselor’s time be spent delivering counseling and guidance services, and 20% be spent on program management (page 41 of the PDF).
According to the introduction, the proposed model drew extensively from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA)’s National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs, as it did for the 2003 version. The ASCA’s version is not available online.
The executive summary of the American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs is posted here and gives a good look at the framework in the model.
While Alabama’s new model doesn’t appear to be much different than the old model, it does appear that the day-to-day role of the school counselor is becoming more defined. ASCA published this chart of what they consider appropriate and inappropriate activities for school counselors:
As with all things education in Alabama, this plan is not without opposition.
The Facebook group “Stop Common Core in Alabama” has demonstrated its dislike for the plan through various postings. It claims that if this plan is approved by the State Board of Education “the counselors and mental health are about to have more to say about your kids in public school than anyone else. They will be making definitive decisions about children and young adults.”
The Eagle Forum of Alabama is also raising the alarm, writing that the model “is a new set of guidelines and policies for Alabama public school counselors which moves them from their traditional role of providing constructive career and academic advising to being an all inclusive life advisor with no limits on their involvement in the life of the child and parent.”
It is unclear how these groups have reached their conclusions, but I can definitively say there are 155 references to parents throughout the document. Over and over, the document refers to the need for counselors to engage and enlist parents in making academic decisions for their children that will guide children toward a career based on the child’s interests and abilities.
From the introduction:
This document provides a strong base for building partnerships for students, parents, educators, and local communities to work together to provide counseling and guidance programs that will assist students in developing an awareness of their individual interests and aptitudes, and links those to academic and career requirements that will allow the students to reach a career goal.
Here is a link to the Alabama Career Information Network’s page for counselors which may help answer questions about what the ALSDE expects of counselors where career guidance is concerned.
The Alabama School Counselor Association (ALSCA) web site states its mission mirrors that of the ASCA.
Whether you agree or disagree with the model, here’s another chance to use your voice and engage in public education in Alabama.
You have until April 17. Provide input here.