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Thursday, June 27, 2013

FSCA Advocacy Update - June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013
You can help advance school counseling in Florida right now (Yes, this summer).
FSCA is now launching Year 3 of our three-year advocacy plan. In Year 1, FSCA hired a consultant to help us develop and deliver a proposed Bill that included provisions for (a) lowering ratios, (b) protecting appropriate counseling duties, (c) moving from "guidance counselor" to "school counselor," and (d) ensuring that all schools have at least one full time school counselor. The bill was did well in the Senate although not so well in the House. It was never heard.

In year 2, a bit of language was changed to further the likelihood of the bill passing although all four areas of change from Year 1 stayed the same. FSCA worked to partner with other organizations, especially including parents, and increased it's communications with private school counselors as well as public school counselors. In year 2, FSCA also increased it's efforts in Tallahassee by meeting with several legislators and representatives from the Governor's office. The Bill received much greater attention and traction as it was referred to several different committees and was discussed/debated on both the House and Senate floors.  Unfortunately, the bill was amended in a way that resulted in only one of the four goals -- changing our title to Certified School Counselor.

Although FSCA was disappointed that more of the bill was not passed, we still consider this a success. Thousands of bills are introduced in the Florida legislature every year and only a relative handful are heard. Still fewer arrive on the Governor's desk. Although not as comprehensive as we would like, our bill (CS/CS/SB 1664) was approved by Governor Scott on 06/14/2013.
Year 3 (NOW). FSCA continues to work diligently on a bill that would help school counselors do their work by having more reasonable ratios.

How You can Help.

The time is now to contact your Representatives and Senators and let them know that, as their elected officials, you expect them to look out for the new bill when it is introduced and that they should support it. Let them know about how important school counseling is to student success, graduation rates, school safety, and Florida's economic future. You can use this handout when you meet with them and also include these as talking points for emails and letters. 
Advocacy is very expensive. If you are currently a FSCA member, we thank you for your support, this work could not happen without you. However, we can do more. If you are receiving this and are not a current member, please enroll now. One hundred percent (100%) of member dues funds our mission and goals, a large part of which is advocacy. Click here to renew a membership or here to enroll as a new member. Also, we hope to see you at the 2013 Convention (see below) where we will have presentations about advocacy and, of course, much more.

Updated FSCA Advocacy Platform. FSCA has just published its updated Advocacy platform, take a few minutes to have a look.

FSCA started a new partnership and collaboration this year with FCAN (Florida College Access Network) to collect data and develop policies about helping kids become more college and career ready. The policy brief has just been published:Is Florida (College & Career) Ready? Putting Common Core in Context. Read this important policy brief from the Florida College Access Network.  Here is an excerpt:

Schools need added supports to help students be prepared for college and careers because their capacity to assist students with each component of college and career readiness can be limited. Within schools, the responsibility to coordinate college and career readiness activities (beyond instruction) for students lies with the school counselors. In Florida, these professionals are responsible for academic advising, career development, college counseling, financial aid counseling and much more.42 According to the Florida Department of Education handbook for school counselors, they “are a key resource for providing appropriate advice related to secondary courses selection and postsecondary planning.” The Education Trust and the College Board have also emerged since states began adopting Common Core to assert the importance school counselors have on efforts to improve students’ college and career readiness.

2013 Annual Convention: The most focused program in school counseling in Florida, the 2013 FSCA Convention will be delivered by thoughtful leaders from Florida and throughout the United States. The hottest and most relevant topics will be explored by leading industry advocates, state officials, counselor educators and, most importantly, professional school counselors! 

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