Mathis 1Stephanie W. MathisJune 29, 2012Dr. Sheryl Moss Impact of Legislation on Schools and Students The demands of a globally competitive U S workforce have raised the bar for all, and adequatelypreparing just a fraction of the student population is not an option because of the profound, negative socialand economic consequences. Students face growing challenges in their capacity to succeed andhistorically struggle in work-based skills which are indispensable for success. In response to thesechallenges, and with accountability movements gaining momentum, since the 1983 report, A Nation atRisk, new legislations provide South Carolina students with the educational resources they need to achievesuccessful futures (Fullan, 2007, p. 351). The chief state legislation to support this development is themandate of the Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA). Developed in 2005, this legislationworks to support academic performance by enhancing students job skill preparation, brings real lifelearning into the classroom, and improves parent-school communication and involvement. The infusion ofthese three dynamics ensures that more students will graduate from high school prepared to succeed in theglobal economy.Description of Program EEDA works to enhance student success and graduation rates and to increase students’preparation for postsecondary education and high-skill jobs. EEDA’s goal is to guide each student by wayof a concentration on career awareness, provide career investigation at every school level, and establishlocally appropriate programs of study (POS) in high schools. EEDA includes almost all of the fundamentalnecessities of Perkins IV as well as additional components designed to support the implementation of POS.
Mathis 2These components include additional support for high-risk students, the structuring of the high schoolcurriculum around a minimum of three career clusters per school, and enhancing the role of schoolguidance counselors. These goals sustain evidence-based high school development and enhance bettercommunication among secondary and postsecondary education (Hilber, 2006). Providing these factors forstudent success also supports the federal mandate of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The EEDA Act also requests the addition of career specialists who have Career DevelopmentFacilitator (CDF) training certification. These individuals are under the direction of school counselors;supplying career awareness, career education, and career exploration activities to students. It alsoincorporates a 300 to 1 student to guidance personnel ratio, which includes school counselors and careerspecialists. A further remarkable characteristic of EEDA is engaging the students parents in the careerguidance development and involving them in the process of a yearly review of the student’s IndividualGraduation Plan (IGP) (Hilber, 2006). In addition, included in the EEDA requirement is Personal Pathways to Success, a structuredesigned to support South Carolina businesses and students in meeting the demands of the work force.This component has shown to improve graduation rates and to prepare students for postsecondary work.Personal Pathways to Success provides students with the employment knowledge that they need toimprove job opportunities in the current economy (Stipanovic, 2010, p. 33).Impact of Legislation on Curriculum and Students Communication between secondary and postsecondary institutions is also supported by EEDA asit is incorporates features of the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Model throughstressing the responsibility of school counselors in offering comprehensive career services to everystudent. EEDA creates a framework for participation in career counseling that is often missed in schools bycentering both the counseling program and the curriculum focus on career pathways. It providesaccessibility of counseling and career guidance services across all grade levels and incorporates career
Mathis 3familiarity at the elementary school level. Over the last five years, Senior Projects have become a focus forSpartanburg District One. These projects require that every senior enlist a mentor to help him develop theirchosen area of interest. Community and career representatives also engage in the project presentationbased on career clusters which forces students to make connections to outside of the high school setting.Services employed in the framework of the career cluster curriculum make available to students both real-world problem-solving opportunities paired with robust academics (Stipanovic, 2010, pp. 33-34). The Personal Pathways to Success framework supplies a common goal of preparing students forthe path they need to accomplish their postsecondary career goals. It offers a combination of technical andacademic skills students need to be competitive in a global market. Greater connections withpostsecondary institutions have created articulation agreements between districts resulting in more dualcredit opportunities for students, thus earning college credit in high school. This reduces the cost of collegefor families. Relating success in school through success in life motivates students to be successful in theschool setting. EEDA retains the South Carolina fundamental diploma requirements while developingpathways to students’ success no matter what their postsecondary plans. Specifically, since 2007, the dualcredit enrollment at Chapman High School has increased by 100%. Increasing opportunities for studentsprovides more options. As a result, graduates, prepared with job skills, are more marketable in theworkforce and make businesses more competitive. This yields more jobs and wealth for every person in thestate (Stipanovic, 2010, p. 34). The addition of the CDF position as well as the application of the Personal Pathways to Successcomponent has enhanced learning opportunites and increased graduation rates. The CDF incorporates reallife learning into the curriculum by employing guest speakers as well as job shadowing opporotunities.Chapman High School had 50% of its student populations engage in job shadowing. Students wererequired to complete a reflection analysis as a requirement which further develops their career awarenessand interests. Increased awareness of career requirements has increased our graduation rate
Mathis 4approximately 10%, from 75% to 84% graduating on time. When students encounter real-life workexperiences, they see the connection between high academic standards and career connections. This emphasis in EEDA and the necessities of the IGP development have increased the amount oftime counselors spend on one-on-one career-based counseling with students and parents (Reese, 2010,pp. 17-18). It can be challenging to meet with every student on an annual basis due to other dutiesassigned to counselors. However, an additional benefit for students is the individual attention they receivein these conferences. For instance, in 2011-2012, Spartanburg District One had 100% parent participationin the development of the students IGPs, which means that every parent (or designee) had a conferencewith his/her childs counselor in preparation for high school completion and career development. Greatereffort towards involving parents in the class and career planning of their children, fosters school, family, andcommunity involvement; ensuring that students have the support necessary for success (Hilber, 2006). Respect for differences allows all members of the school to feel safe, which is a key component ofthe comprehensive guidance program in the “learning to live” component of the EEDA. This componentalso develops student leadership, empathy for others, and ability to control impulsiveness throughindividual counseling, classroom guidance, and small group sessions (Reese, 2010, pp. 17-18). Schoolcounselors may also celebrate accomplishments of students through rituals and traditions, develop stronginterpersonal relationships with peers and adults, and foster open dialogue on school issues (Seem &Hernandez, 2004, pp. 257-259). Comprehensive school counseling programs affect school climate. School counselors ensure thatthe program is school wide and reaches all students (Reese, 2010, pp. 17-18). The development of acharacter education program addresses issues of school violence and supports the Safe Schools ClimateAct of 2006, which incorporates harassment, intimidation, or bullying prevention in school. Counselors alsoassist with training of constituents, the developing of mentoring programs, facilitating programs to deal with
Mathis 5anger management, and conducting thorough discussion groups to address disciplinary policies. Forexample, CHAMP (Chapman High School Advisory and Mentoring Program) incorporates weekly lessonsappropriate to students’ grade-level on strategies for success in high school. Utilizing extra-curricular programs and mental health services to inspire proper behavior andexpectations also works to strengthen the idea of real world behavior. At Chapman High School, theChampions by Choice program includes athletic leaders who define and model appropriate behavioralexpectations. This peer modeling is particularly effective for high school students. Likewise, courseofferings, such as Freshman Seminar incorporates instructional units to maintain appropriate behaviors. Inthe same way, two freshman academies provide safety nets for at-risk incoming freshman. These programsbuild student-teacher relationships in the school by providing yearlong class offerings. Teachers in theseprograms have more time to focus on “soft skill” development such as study skills and time management,building the students’ confidence which often alleviates behavior problems in the future. Similarly, studentsare more likely to attend school when they are a part of a safe and orderly environment (Seem &Hernandez, 2004, pp. 260-261).Impact of Legislation on District and Funding. In an effort to secure and maintain the implementation of EEDA, districts have incorporated keyindividuals to administer these programs. In some cases, the job title includes the name of the act itself.Successful program implementation requires that coordinators work with school level principals. Forinstance, guidance counselors meet periodically to review comprehensive guidance plans and EEDArequirements. As mentioned, at the school level, it also incorporates a 300 to 1 student to guidancepersonnel ratio. Also, additional funding is also needed to support the guidance program with this initiative. Forexample, to ensure that incoming Freshman have the foundation skills needed in upper-level courseofferings, the transitional programs establishished for them requires a 15 to 1 teacher student ratio.
Mathis 6Program development for CHAMPS and Champions by Choice requires professional development for allteachers, as well as time carved out bi-weekly in class schedules for this instruction. Similarly, schooldistricts must ensure that the elective classes offerings support the career development for the students.As dual credit options increase for students, districts must develop vertical articulation agreements to meetthis requirement. This also increases the need for more personnel to ensure that class sizes remain viablein other course offerings. As the EEDA mandates that counselors are not to perform administrative tasks, the administratorsjob descriptions must also change to support master schedule development, truancy interventions, parentcommunication, and graduation rate. Hence, when additional responsibilities are added without additionalstaff everyone on staff must carry more responsibility. For Spartanburg District One to implement the EEDA mandates and the programs to support itrequires nine Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions. In dollar amounts, this is roughly $630,000 for salaries,which only includes the guidance personnel and two teachers. The financial impact is higher if additionalstaff is needed to support supplementary course offerings. This figure does not include the administrativecosts acrued through copies and mailings. While District One receives $212,631 to assist with program andstaff support for this mandate, the financial concern is in acquiring additional funds to support theemployees salaries as well as supplying the professional development needed for implementation. Hence,the challenge of this legislation is finding the adequate resources to continue to provide these services tostudents. South Carolina will encounter numerous challenges in the upcoming years as it continues toimprove public schools. Eller and Carlson hypothesize “instructional leadership is a journey, not adestination” (2009, p. 143). This is essential to keep in mind as a superintendent works through theopportunities and difficulties provided as the chief academic officer of his/her school district. Problems willstill face the state and educational development, including those connected with economic and family
Mathis 7status, well-being, school readiness, and at-risk behaviors. EEDA works to enhance this responsibility bymaking the school environment more meaningful for students. It supports improving the graduation rate,reducing achievement gaps, and developing skills for success in the workplace. Therefore, it is crucial thatour state continue to support these intiatives as the impact of the decisions made today will directly affectteaching and learning and will have long-term benefits for students as they grow to be the decision makersof the future. Works CitedEller, J., & Carlson, H. C. (2009). So now you’re the superintendent [Kindle IPad].Fullan, M. (2007). Educational Leadership (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Hilber, D. (2006, September). The career clusters framework. SC Department of Education: Office of Career and Technology Education.Reese, S. (2010, October). A leading role for career guidance counselors. Techniques: Connecting Education and Careers, 85(7), 16-19. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov./PDFS/EJ909592Seem, S. R., & Hernandez, T. J. (2004, April). A safe school climate: A systematic approach and the school counselor. ASCA Professional School Counseling, 256-262.Stipanovic, N. (2010, October). Providing comprehensive career guidance services through a career pathways framework. Techniques: Connecting Education and Careers, 85, 32-35. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov./PDFS/EJ909596