From the Office of State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., District 27
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2001
Contact: Doris Sanchez
Sen. Lucio files legislation to help prioritize public school counselors' responsibilities and to commission study of counseling duties
AUSTIN, Texas--State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, today announced he has filed Senate Bill 518 to clarify the duties of all public school counselors and Senate Bill 538 to instruct the Texas Comptroller to conduct a statewide study on counselors' duties.
Currently, the Texas Education Code details the primary responsibilities of public school counselors and outlines the developmental guidance and counseling programs they design. However, these statutory guidelines apply only to schools which receive funding from the state compensatory education allotment for elementary school counseling programs. A Texas Education Agency report indicated that school counselors who are employed under these guidelines dealt with less administrative and clerical tasks unrelated to guidance and counseling and were able to focus more on counseling students, especially those who are at-risk. SB 518 will extend the guidelines to include all public school counselors who are certified by the State Board of Educator Certification, whether they work in schools which receive the allotment for elementary school programs or not.
"Counselors today provide important prevention and intervention services to many of our children," said Sen. Lucio. "Intervention activities address societal problems such as substance abuse, child abuse, suicide, teen pregnancy, truancy, school dropouts, and random acts of violence."
The statewide study under SB 538 will examine what the duties performed by counselors are and how they distribute their time amongst them. Part of this review will be to assess student/counselor ratios at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Sen. Lucio feels that this detailed study is necessary to assess the current workload of counselors and to help identify any possible changes which would provide counselors with the resources and work environments they need to better perform their duties.
"Counselors also help our children succeed by providing them with guidance in the development of their course schedules, and help them devise curricula that challenge and motivate them," added Sen. Lucio " This guidance, combined with their role in providing information on the higher education process and opportunities, makes counselors a critical part of our children's education from kindergarten through college."
Note: Staff member assigned to these bills is Ms. Monica Bosquez, legislative aide.