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Chamber's Plan For Educators: More Real World Experience

Brandon Smith

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. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.