Effort to expand counseling services advances

Current Events & News, Legislation | 03/10/2021

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington

CONTACT: Katie Gustainis, kgustainis@stand.org, 940-390-3039

Effort to expand school counseling services advances

House Education Committee to hear SB 5030 tomorrow afternoon

Senate advanced legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support in 48-1 vote

WASHINGTON – Ahead of tomorrow’s House Education Committee public hearing on SB 5030 to expand student access to high-quality mental health, academic, and college and career counseling services, Stand for Children Washington urged support for this bipartisan proposal to provide more effective and equitable access to counseling services for all students in our state. The Senate on February 23 voted overwhelmingly in support (48-1) of advancing this legislation, which enjoys bipartisan sponsorship led by Senator Mullet. In addition to Stand for Children, SB 5030 is supported by the Washington Education Association, Washington School Counselor Association, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the High School Success Coalition of education advocacy organizations.

“Now more than ever, students need the support of high-quality counseling services, particularly as we continue to mitigate the devastating effects of the pandemic,” said Kia C. Franklin, Stand for Children Washington’s executive director. “The evidence is clear on the value of high-quality counseling services, but we have fallen behind in our ability to meet the unique needs of each student. This proposal will put policy in place to help us better meet our commitment to students. We are thankful for the broad support from both lawmakers and stakeholders in the community.”

If adopted, SB 5030 would protect counselors’ time with students by using state and nationally recognized frameworks. Without these frameworks in place, counselors too often are assigned other work within a school that takes them away from providing high-quality mental health, academic, and college and career counseling services. The legislation would:

  • create a statutory definition of comprehensive school counseling services that includes support for academic achievement, mental health needs, and college and career planning

  • require that counselors spend at least eighty percent (80%) of their work time providing direct services to students

Stand for Children’s advocacy priorities for 2021 focus on targeting support to Black and Brown students who have been historically marginalized by our education system. By advancing policies that are founded on proven outcomes, schools and communities may better help all students graduate on time, ready for college and career. In addition to supporting access to high-quality counseling services, Stand for Children is supporting equitable access to coursework and technology, as well as reforms to the criminal and youth justice systems.

To learn more about Stand for Children Washington’s advocacy priorities during the 2021 Legislative Session, please visit our website.

Stand for Children Washington has been advocating on behalf of students and public education in Washington since 2007. They are a non-profit education advocacy organization focused on ensuring all students receive a high quality, relevant education, especially those whose boundless potential is overlooked and under-tapped because of their skin color, zip code, first language, or disability.

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