1979 Lost in the Shuffle
Posted on February 3, 1979
LOST IN THE SHUFFLE
A report on the guidance system in California Secondary Schools. A poll of youth from Open Road projects identified guidance and counseling in high schools as the number one means of changing policies and programs for youth. Open Roads’ Issues Research Project produced a report which identified the major areas of concern for youth and provided a set of recommendations that would address the needs of the students.
READ MORE HERE: 1979 Lost in the Shuffle (1979)
Lost in the Shuffle, 1979
By 1979, counselors were increasingly expected to advocate for minority and working class students (see Givens, 2009, for a discussion of social justice in school counseling history). Lost in the Shuffle, a study published by the Citizen’s Policy Center (1979), reported on the guidance system in California secondary schools. Researchers found that “many young people do not know how to fight the trends and expectations that push them into unhealthy, low-paying, dead-end, ghettoized existences” (p. 8). Further, they found “urban students, particularly women and minorities, pay a greater price for this lack of direction and information” (p. 8). Students wanted guidance in planning for their futures, direction in taking appropriate courses, and help in understanding themselves and in relating to others (CDE, 1975, found the same results in their statewide needs assessment).
In offering recommendations, Lost in the Shuffle called for the state to mandate each district to develop a comprehensive guidance plan. It added that the CDE “should provide technical assistance such as information about model comprehensive plans” (p. 35). It recommended that, while each program will be unique to its respective school site, “legislation should require a specific format that includes: (a) rationale, (b) statements of goals and objectives, (c) functions and means of assessing program outcomes, (d) methods of program implementation, and (e) staff development” (p. 35). Furthermore, the CDE’s “Office of Pupil Personnel Services could be expanded to provide technical assistance to local educational agencies that develop plans” (p. 35).
QUOTED (Page 9):
Briefly, these are the major findings from this report:
- Students emphasize three areas in which the need for information and guidance is greatest: assistance planning for their futures, including work and further education; help getting through school by ensuring their physical safety, directing them to appropriate courses, and seeing that they earn proper graduation credits; and help understanding themselves and relating to others.
- Students in urban schools feel that guidance services are not accessible to them, and do not assure them the confidentiality required to openly discuss their personal problems. They do not view guidance staff as the appropriate people with whom to discuss problems.
- Sexist and racial stereotyping continue in career counseling, job placement, course assignment, and access to college admissions information.
- No effective vehicles exist to communicate student needs to guidance staff or policymakers, and students are not included in designing or evaluating guidance services.
- There is a critical gap between the broad and idealistic rhetoric of guidance, and what is actually delivered .
- Most guidance services operate without any program definition or clear priorities, and so are accountable to no one, do not deliver comprehensive services, misuse increasingly scarce counseling resources, and frustrate guidance personnel, students and administrators.
- There is a serious lack of coordination between in-school and out-of school resources that serve youth, and between the schools and the private sector . This makes schools an artificially isolated experience for students, leads to frequent duplication of services, and wastes scarce resources.
- Innovative programs and counseling approaches do occur, but generally depend on the energy and inspiration of an individual counselor. Such programs tend to fade with that individual’s energies. There are few means of institutionalizing, sharing or evaluating innovative approaches.
- Ratios of students to staff in urban high schools range from 250:1 to 400:1. Almost all counselors complain that paperwork reduces direct counseling time. Counselors do not have classroom access or regularly scheduled times to meet with students. And 1he lack of staff time for counseling is ex acerbated in urban schools where governmental compensatory programs require extra paperwork, where counselors have larger student loads, and where students have fewer outside resources to deal with their problems. Counselors deal with crises and with the aggressive students who demand their time, while most students receive little or no guidance.
Our recommendations address the serious gaps between student needs and the guidance system’s definition of services; between the potential of guidance counseling arid its actual delivery. The recommendations, aimed primarily at state policymakers, urge new policies to:
- Develop comprehensive guidance programs that address all student needs
- Coordinate in-school with out-of-school resources
- Involve students in defining, evaluating and delivering guidance services
- Direct special resources to big city schools
- Establish new criteria to train, certify and recruit guidance staff
- Establish a state clearinghouse of information about guidance programs and resources
- Incorporate guidance into the curriculum
- Assure confidentiality in the student-counselor relationship
- Improve student to counselor ratios.
READ MORE HERE: 1979 Lost in the Shuffle (1979)