Chamber's Plan For Educators: More Real World Experience

May 20, 2014

Indiana Chamber Vice President Derek Redelman talks to the media Tuesday about a plan to get educators more in tune with skills needed by employers.
Credit Brandon Smith / IPBS

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says school counselors are being hampered by a number of factors from providing Hoosier students with the most complete college and career readiness opportunities. 

Chamber leaders say a survey of more than 400 school counselors across the state shows the problem isn’t with counselors – it’s with counseling.  Its survey of school counselors found that 90-percent say they spend less than half of their time on college and career readiness activities. 

Chamber Vice President Amy Marsh, a former school counselor, says the amount of time counselors are asked to devote to non-counseling activities has more than doubled in the last four years.

“The non-counseling duties consume almost 40 percent of a counselor’s time," Marsh says.  "What non-counseling duties can include would be things like test administration; it could be lunch duty.”

Chamber Vice President Derek Redelman says the solution isn’t necessarily more counselors – he says teachers need to help promote college and career readiness by connecting their lessons to real-world application.  And he says parent expectations are part of the issue.

“The parents don’t really like to hear anything other than top-tier, four-year options for their students," he says.  "We talk a lot about maybe parents not having high expectations for their kids – in this case, sometimes maybe the expectations are a little too narrow at the top end.”

Redelman says the current school accountability standards are also at fault because they focus too much on four-year degree preparation, emphasizing Advanced Placement, SAT scores and dual credit.  He says more attention needs to be paid to preparing students for postsecondary options like job certification training.