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Letter to Senator Blanche Lincoln supporting her school counseling bill on the Increased Student Support Act

July 08, 2008

Dear Senator Lincoln:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for the Increased Student Achievement through Increased Student Support Act. We thank you for your leadership in introducing this important legislation.

Counseling programs staffed by professional school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers help all students in the areas of student learning, personal/social development and career development, ensuring that students become productive, well-adjusted adults. Effective counseling programs are important to the school climate and in improving student achievement. Too often, however, these professionals have unreasonable caseloads, but counselors are expected to attend to the individual needs of students. In addition, many counselors are serving as testing coordinators, diverting their time away from meeting students' needs.

The lack of school counselors and other social services personnel is of particular concern in many low-income school districts today, given the increased pressure on student performance and the social, emotional and behavioral issues that impact achievement in high-needs schools. Your bill will help address these critical needs by increasing the number of school counselors, social workers and psychologists in under-served school districts.

We thank you again for your leadership on this important issue and look forward to continuing to work with you in support of great public schools for every child.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy