Happy Wednesday. As we pass the midpoint of National School Counseling Week this year, we celebrate the successes that the school counseling profession has achieved in recent years, but we also acknowledge the challenges that still lie ahead.
For example, the president’s 2008 proposed budget eliminates funding for the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program. The budget ironically was released on Feb. 5, the first day of National School Counseling Week. Each year, the president’s proposed budget has eliminated funding for school counseling, and each year, ASCA and other organizations working together have successfully persuaded members of Congress to re-instate the funding. We’ll work with Congress on the budget again this year.
We know that a positive relationship with lawmakers is essential. Just last week we saw another success. Each year, ASCA works with Sen. Patty Murray of Washington to introduce a resolution in the Senate recognizing National School Counseling Week. This year, Senate Republicans would not allow Sen. Murray to introduce the resolution without a Republican co-sponsor. Thanks to some diligence and last-minute phone calls and letter writing by ASCA members, board, staff and government relations representatives, Gordon Smith of Oregon agreed to co-sponsor the resolution, and it was passed by the Senate on Feb. 1. We are grateful to Sen. Murray and Sen. Smith for their support of school counseling.
ESSCP funding and the National School Counseling Week resolution are just two examples of the accomplishments we can achieve through collaboration with members of Congress. Although the federal government accounts for only 7 percent of educational spending, it sets the tone for spending at the state and local level. That is why ASCA will continue to work with Congress on behalf of school counselors. And that is why it is so important for every school counselor to let your members of Congress know your concerns regarding legislation that could affect school counseling. Together, we can make a difference. Enjoy the rest of National School Counseling Week.