Home Press Release Counselors highlight 250:1 student-to-counselor ratio proposal

School counselors highlight 250:1 student-to-counselor ratio proposal 

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota., Feb. 15, 2024 — Leaders from the Minnesota School Counselor Association joined bill author Rep. Kaela Berg and Roseville student Lilah Heiny at a news conference Thursday to highlight a proposal to address unmet mental health needs in schools due to some of the worst student-to-counselor ratios in the country.  

In a recent report from the American School Counselor Association, Minnesota ranked 48th out of the 50 states for student-to-counselor ratios. Berg, DFL-Burnsville, is introducing a policy proposal next week with the support of the Minnesota School Counselor Association that sets a goal of a 250:1 student-to-counselor ratio, the recommended ratio from the ASCA to reasonably meet students’ counseling needs. 

“In my nearly 15 years of service in Minnesota as a School Counselor, I will tell you that in the wake of the COVID pandemic, I have had more transparent and frequent conversations with school staff, families, and community members about the rising needs of our students’ mental health,” said Keela Kuhlers, 2022 Minnesota School Counselor of the Year. “I will tell you that the value and the desire to support our students is there in a way that didn’t exist 10 or more years ago. And yet, we remain in similar conditions surrounding our student-to-counselor ratios that don’t allow us to meet the rising needs in a proactive or comprehensive way.” 

“In Minnesota, we support public education. We are an education state. It’s so hard to know that even with these pro-public education values, we still rank 48th among the 50 states,” said Berg. “School counselors are essential for our students as they plan for their future, and counselors are essential for our students’ well-being.” 

Lilah Heiny, a Roseville High School senior, spoke to members of the news media. Heiny said: “School counselors who are available and accessible for all students are absolutely essential. They give us hope for our future, helpful advice for planning that future, and provide support for our well-being that we need so we can learn. It’s important that we provide schools with a goal for reasonable ratios, to add to the incredible movement created last year for student mental health funding. School can take a lot out of a person, and teenage years are more complicated now than ever before.” 

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.

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