Arizona still ranks last in student-counselor ratio despite improvements
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona has the least number of counselors and social workers per student in the country. The American School Counselor Association says Arizona has 716 students for every one counselor. Arizona had 905 students per counselor previously. That is an improvement, but social worker Cassie Richey says it’s not enough. “Those kids are just going to have a different starting line if they don’t have access to the services social workers and counselors can provide and that’s heartbreaking.”
Richey says some districts have one counselor covering multiple campuses. That doesn’t give them an opportunity to do their job as well as they’d like. “You can’t do all of the parts of your job well to serve the kids. There needs to be some flexibility in the schedule for them to be able to see a social worker or counselor.”
Last April, the Department of Education received a grant to hire 260 mental health professionals for Arizona schools. Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman says those new positions weren’t part of this study. She hopes the ratio is lower next year. The American School Counselor Association recommends a 250 to 1 ratio.
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