Ohio’s school counselors are backing a newly proposed bipartisan bill that would create a job description for them and put it into state law.
Counselors are responsible for academics, college and career readiness, and students’ social and emotional issues.
But Ohio School Counselors Association president Nichole Miller said they’re often doing data reporting or cafeteria duty, filling in for teachers or administering tests – which leaves little time to help students, especially those in crisis.
“We have a joke – ‘other duties as assigned’ is our job. So whatever they come up with, that is what’s handed to us often," Miller said.
Ohio School Counselors Association president-elect Michelle Grimm said there's one big area they're concerned about beyond administrative paperwork and filling in for teachers and principals.
“Obligations like back-to-back days of testing, often full weeks at a time, present an unsurmountable time vacuum that leaves us with little flexibility," Grimm said.
The bipartisan bill sponsored by freshman Reps. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) and Susan Manchester (R-Lakeview) would require the Ohio Department of Education to develop a universal job description, and counselors are hoping for one that requires 80 percent of their time be spent on direct services to students.
The bill would not require schools to have counselors, and about a thousand school buildings in Ohio don’t – most of them elementary schools. The counselors’ group estimates 380,000 Ohio students don’t have access to a counselor.