LANSING, Mich., Feb. 9, 2023 — State Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield) introduced legislation this week that would require schools in Michigan to employ one school guidance counselor for every 250 students enrolled. This legislation would apply to school districts, intermediate school districts and public school academies.
“When I introduced this legislation last term, our goal was for Michigan school districts to have at least one counselor for every 450 students,” Brabec said. “This year, I am thrilled to be decreasing the ratio further to one school counselor for every 250 students to align with the national model from the American School Counselor Association.”
School counselors provide critical guidance and support on post-secondary education and preparation, including skilled trades, but they also work with students to address struggles with mental illness, stress and bullying. These are all factors that greatly impact the success of students in school.
“My years of experience as a clinical psychologist have emphasized to me the importance of advocating for the mental health needs of Michigan students,” Brabec said. “When our younger students and teens have more resources made available to them, we can help lower the rates of depression, anxiety and suicide in our schools. Increasing the number of school counselors is a great first step to address the counselor shortage facing our students and schools.”
Michigan lags behind in recommended student-counselor ratios and is well below the national average. According to data released by the American School Counselor Association, Michigan had the third-worst student-counselor ratio in the country for the 2021-22 school year, with one counselor being responsive to 615 students.
Along with this legislation, Brabec also introduced a commemorative resolution declaring Feb. 6-10, 2023, as National School Counseling Week in Michigan.