Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Michigan’s education system for counselors needs a Transformation - Updated 11/8/17

Updated 11/8/17 - New focus on college and career planning.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday signed legislation - House Bill 4181 - that targets the 150 hours of professional development counselors must undertake in order to renew their license.
At least 25 of those hours must cover instruction on improving the college preparation and selection process, and another 25 hours must be on career counseling.

This is good but as I have said before the focus must for college and career planning must be systemic and start in 8th grade and run through 12th grade with as many meetings as possible - See Campbell Dream Mentor Program ( In Addition, without including parents in the planning and meetings it will still miss the mark because parents make the final decision and often it is based on finances available (That is why students and parents must be educated on the college process starting in 8th grade).


The Michigan legislature has a House Bill that 4552 that will provide much needed training in the area of college and career planning for school counselors.

While the idea for this is valid and much needed it still misses the systemic problem that continues to plague our education system. "Changing or Reforming" current practices with additional training and dollars will not solve systemic problems.

I have been working in the area of college and career planing within and outside of schools for the past 14 years. Changes that result in improvement must come from outside the system. I am from outside the counseling system.

"In order for each student to be successful there must be an understanding and balance between the partners."

Click on Pic to Enlarge

I have been using the "Quality Educational Partnership Triangle" since 2004. It comes in handy when I talk to teachers and most importantly when I talk to parents about education and what is need to help their child succeed in school and get ready for college and career planning. All groups must be working together for the student to be successful. If one corner of the triangle fails the percentage of the student to be successful falls at an alarming rate based on my years of meeting with thousands of students and parents.

It is a very simple concept that relies on each corner (Administrators,  Parents, and Teachers) of the triangle to be working together interdependently. The main three groups of the triangle are revolving around the student rather than teachers, parents or administrators.

The key ingredient is to work with the decision makers and the person(s) who will be paying for college. In most cases it is the parent/guardian of the student. This must start in 9th grade and become a bond until the student graduates.

The "Transformation" must take place with each schools Counselor Office. No longer can excuses like not enough time, resources or money be used not to be doing college and career readiness planning starting in eight/ninth grade. I have done it and what's need most is planning with measures and the mindset to meet with parents and students before, during and after school on their time frame - not the schools. School leadership must work with counselors o prioritize their work functions. Many school administrators have no idea by what methods or processes their staff does day in and day out. The following article provides some insight:

Counselors can no longer work the standard way within the confides of a normal school day. Each process and work activity must be analyzed for process improvements and priority of what matters most to the student and parent.

Parents and students are the customers and they must be treated as such. This means opening your school (business) to when it make most sense to meet with them. I meet with parents on their time which includes nights and weekends. The meetings can happen as many times as necessary and most often followed up with phone calls and emails (All answered with 12-24 hours). The meeting(s) can last up to four hours with training that goes through the college process and website training that includes all the information at their fingertips. The key is providing the parents with the skills and  knowledge to help their student. THEY DON"T KNOW HOW! And, many counselors do not know how to help them.

I applaud House Bill 4552 but it will not work without the systemic changes required within the school system.

Over the years I have tried to "FREELY" share my findings, website and application of knowledge to many educators, administrators, colleges, state officials and newspaper editors and educational writers. None have been interested.

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