PRESS RELEASE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez , Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385

Sen. Lucio Honors Texas School Counselors in Senate Chamber

Proposes Legislation to Improve Conditions and Requirements

PHOTO

Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. honors members of the Texas Counseling Association at the State Capitol during their visit to contact their legislators as part of National School Counseling Week.

AUSTIN, TX -- School and professional counselors from throughout Texas were recognized with a Senate Resolution at the Capitol yesterday by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. in honor of National School Counseling Week.

School counselors work with students to resolve learning, social and behavioral challenges so they can become academically successful. Reading from the Resolution, Sen. Lucio said, "School counselors are employed in public and private schools across our state and nation to help students reach their full potential."

Sen. Lucio has filed legislation to improve the work environment of school counselors and make them more accessible to students. For example, SB 147 requires that school counselors' work time be focused on providing counseling and guidance activities, and that unrelated duties be limited to no more than 10 percent of their total work hours. The goal of this legislation is to provide students with greater access to and more quality interactions with professional school counselors.

"Counseling services support teachers in the classroom and enable teachers to provide quality instruction designed to assist students in achieving higher standards," said Jean Cokins, President of the Texas Counseling Association. "School counselors work collaboratively with educators, the community and parents to help Texas students achieve their highest potential," she added.

Senator Lucio has also filed another measure, Senate Bill (SB) 69 to require school districts to hire a full-time certified counselor for every 350 students. According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, the current student-to-counselor ratio in Texas is 434:1. The American School Health Association recommends a maximum student-to-counselor ratio of 250:1.

"I feel strongly that allowing school counselors to give more individual attention to students will go a long way to help our students achieve their personal and academic goals, and will increase overall graduation rates throughout the state," added Sen. Lucio. "School counselors cannot be lauded enough for their immense contribution to further the educational, personal and social growth of the children of Texas."

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