Michigan schools facing critical counselor shortage

The state has one of the worst student-to-counselor ratios in the country. And COVID has only made it worse.

Michigan schools are already reckoning with a shortage of teachers. Add to that a shortage of bus drivers, which prompted Kalamazoo Public Schools to institute rolling bus route cancellations.

It turns out districts are facing a lack of staff in another critical area: Counselors.

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According to federal data, schools in the state average about one counselor for every 671 students. That well above the 250-to-one ratio recommended by the American School Counselor Association.

Even worse, nearly half of school districts and public school academies have no full-time counselor at all.

But the lack of counselors may not be due to a lack of available talent. The Michigan School Counselor Association reports that there are 6,700 licensed counselors in the state and only 2,100 working in schools. That suggests districts are choosing to spend money on other things and not on counselors.


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