On Aug. 16, the department announced it will give $12.3 million to 35 school districts across the country to fund counseling programs in "targeted" elementary schools. Congress is also considering the Student Support Act, a bill that would set minimum ratios for school counselors, psychologists and social workers.
Kirsten Barnes, president of the California Association of School Counselors, says the growing concern and acknowledgement of a need for more counselors are encouraging, but legislators and other leaders need to make sure any changes are sustainable.
"We have a tendency in education to, because it's a hot thing at the moment, only keep some programs for a year or two," Barnes says. "It's frustrating because who suffers are the students. If we're going to do these things, I would hope that it's something that's ongoing and permanent."