Detroit Evening Report: Michigan students’ access to school counselors among worse in the nation, report finds

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Michigan’s school counselor to student ratio is more than double the number of what is recommended, according to a report by the American School Counselor Association.   

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The average student-to-counselor ratio for the 2022-2023 school year in Michigan was 598:1 — the second worst in the nation. Michigan also held that title in the 2019-2020 school year with a ratio of 671 students to one school counselor. 

While the national student-to-school counselor ratio has decreased on average by 1% per academic school year since the late ’80s, the national ratio remains well above the ASCA recommended ratio of 250:1 at 385:1, with only New Hampshire (199:1) and Vermont (177:1) reporting ratios within the recommended ratio for the 2022-23 school year.

Jill Cook, executive director of the American School Counselor Association, says school counselors work with students in all aspects of achievement — both academic and social.  

“School counselors are critical in this work, in schools, as our school social workers and school psychologists and school nurses,” Cook said. “They are the front line people at the school who are there to work with students.”

Counselors are often the first to know if a child is facing abuse, struggling with hunger, or contemplating suicide. Cook says counselors can help these families find extra external support when needed. However, many students lack sufficient access to school counselors and other support staff, with students of color and students from low-income families often having the least access to counselors, the organization reported.

Several studies have noted that smaller ratios support increases in standardized test performance, attendance, GPA and graduation rates, as well as decreased disciplinary infractions, according to the ASCA. Additional studies have shown that lower ratios also increase the likelihood of students engaging in conversations with school counselors about college and postsecondary plans.

Other headlines for Thursday, June 6, 2024:

  • The former chief financial officer of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy was in federal court Wednesday on bank and wire fraud charges.
  • The city of Detroit and Ford Motor Company will celebrate the reopening of the Michigan Central train station with a concert on Thursday, featuring several Detroit artists including Diana Ross, Jack White, Big Sean and more.
  • Chandler Park will host open Pickleball play and lessons for adults from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays starting on June 22 at the Chandler Park Tennis Courts. Tennis lessons for children will also be offered in the park. Call the Chandler Park Conservancy at 313-499-1767 for more information.
  • Detroit’s Motor City Pride event and parade is returning to Hart Plaza this Saturday and Sunday, June 8-9, with the parade set to begin at noon on Sunday.

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  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.