counseling in MO
Information on Missouri Guidance and Counseling in public schools. Will it soon be legislated vs mandated by accreditation? Read MO HB382: “Requires school districts to establish comprehensive guidance and counseling programs for students attending school in the district”.


Does your state have guidance counseling and career planning legislated and/or mandated by a state educational agency or State Board of Education?  Do these mandates include all students?  Can you access your state’s ‘Guidance & Counseling Curriculum & Grade Level Expectations for ‘Personal and Social Development, Academic Development and Career Development’ goals?

The above graphic is from The American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) list of state counseling mandates (if any), the source of the mandate, the funding mechanism in place and certification rules for counselors.  All 50 states are listed so you can determine your particular state’s counseling requirements and funding mechanisms.

According to this list, Missouri is the only state whose counseling requirements are currently mandated by accreditation.  This is via the Missouri School Improvement Plan 5 (MSIP5) crafted solely by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that schools must follow for accreditation purposes. From the DESE website:


The Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) 5 works to prepare every child for success in school and life. MSIP 5 is the state’s school accountability system for reviewing and accrediting public school districts in Missouri. MSIP began in 1990 and entered its fifth version in 2013.

The Department believes high expectations, a clear vision and a few very focused, high impact goals will be critical to drive the improvement efforts necessary to bring about positive results.

MSIP 5 Policy Goals

  • Articulate the state’s expectations for student achievement with the ultimate goal of all students graduating ready for success in college and careers;
  • Distinguish performance of schools and districts in valid, accurate and meaningful ways so that districts in need of improvement can receive appropriate support and interventions, and high-performing districts can be recognized as models of excellence;
  • Empower all stakeholders through regular communication and transparent reporting results; and
  • Promote continuous improvement and innovation within each district.


If a school doesn’t receive a certain number of points as required by DESE, the school is in danger of being labeled a failing school and can end up in state control if not corrected within a certain time frame designated by DESE.  DESE makes the rules on accreditation and the program needed to restore it back to accreditation.

There is a bill (HB382) that will legislate much of what is contained in MSIP5 as it pertains to guidance and counseling.  This means  what DESE (a state agency)  has written for accreditation purposes (for guidance and counseling) will now be codified in law.  This is alarming as the latest MSIP guidelines did not have any sort of public or professional engagement.  Unlike the previous versions, MSIP5 was crafted solely by DESE.

Take a look at the 1,000 page ‘Guidance & Counseling Curriculum and GLE’s’ for Missouri students, K-12:


(click to enlarge)

dese counseling 1dese counseling 2

Note that these standards are referenced as national standards from the ASCA, Show-Me standards and Common Core State Standards.  The Gender Equity Lessons are accessed from the State of  Rhode Island Commission of Women (ricw.ri):

The following guidance lessons on gender equity are available through the Career Education Coordinators network. For more informaiton on using these lessons or other gender equity consultation, contact your local Career Education Coordinator. Lessons previously available have been replaced with this collection from the Rhode Island Commission on Women.


If you don’t want your district to have to get state approval for its guidance and counseling programs, please sign the witness form below ASAP.



Stop Common Core
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Hearing for Dangerous Education Bill
Fill out Witness Forms Now!
HB 382 Undermines parents’ control of the education of their children.


February 16, 2015
The public education issue is complex, with a lot of interdependencies that intertwine well-meaning legislation with Common Core and other efforts to centralize education. In my opinion, anything that diminishes a parent’s ability to affect what goes on in his or her child’s school should be opposed.
Please read the following explanation of HB 382 from our friends at Missouri Coalition Against Common Core and let your voice be heard by filling out an online witness form. We’ll make sure it gets delivered to the Education Committee.
I’ll be opposing this bill.
For liberty,
– Ron

Hearing expected on Wednesday.
Please fill out your witness form now, so we will be prepared. We need hundreds of witness forms to show you still demand action!
Witness Form – We will hand deliver your witness form and also make your testimony available online for the committee to read.
Generic Witness Form: Witness form link for HB 382
Details about HB 382 from Missouri Coalition Against Common Core:
HB382 (Swan) Requires school districts to establish comprehensive guidance and counseling programs for students attending school in the district
Accreditation Based on Guidance Program
The very first section of this bill makes everything in the bill part of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) which is the DESE framework on how district accreditation is determined. Since the bill allows DESE to “assess penalties for failing to comply” with this law, we know that districts will place the same kind of importance on guidance counseling that they currently do on other aspects of MSIP such as school attendance. School districts will enact every portion of this bill as required by DESE in order to maximize their points on their accreditation. Parental displeasure with anything put in place by the district will no longer matter.
Mandatory Participation for grades 3 thru 12
The second section of the bill requires that every student from grades 3-12 participate in the program. Just like the draconian attendance policies, districts will place pressure on families to participate in all aspects in this bill. Some of those aspects are about setting college and career goals. Imagine requiring 8 and 9 years old children to set such long range goals. Some of this involves setting goals for “social and personal development” that the student and parents will be required to adhere to and support. It will no longer be the parents’ duty to monitor and shape their child’s social development. A plan, developed through assessment and self reporting, will be on file with the school (and w/ DESE and third parties?). This provision makes every provision after it all the more dire.
1990s Style Values Clarification
The bill further elevates the role of the guidance counselor from what it already is under MSIP into that of a teacher in the classroom who will be teaching a “guidance curriculum.” If you want to know what that looks like, just check out the 1000 page document on the guidance curriculum on DESE’s website  here  Notice that there is an entire section on Personal and Social Development which is Values Clarification from the 1990’s. Think of the now classic limited life boat space exercise that asks children to come up with rational for kicking people out of a lifeboat. And remember that these guidance counselors will not be in the parent teacher conferences to tell you about what values they are teaching your child.
Empowers Schools to Override Parents’ Directives for Their Children
In numerous instances it gives the school counselors and staff the authority to intervene “on your child’s behalf” for anything they perceive to put your child’s “educational, career, personal, or social development at risk.” This would, potentially include anything the parents have decided to prohibit their child from doing that the school wants them to do.
Unfunded Mandates
The bill also requires districts to “establish a counseling center in each school building of the district” that is large enough to house all the comprehensive guidance programs, personnel and equipment. This is an unfunded mandate for more spending in each district for programs not initiated at the local level.
In short this bill gives DESE enormous power to dictate to districts exactly what type of counseling they want our children to receive. That counseling will shape their view of school only as a place to learn job skills, or prepare them for college which will then give them job skills. The last section of the bill authorizes the State Board of Education (which will work through DESE) to promulgate all the rules and regulations that go with this program. Does anyone trust DESE to do this? A Republican dominated legislature should not be granting DESE this much power and authority.
We believe that it is not possible to support any section of this bill. Should it make it out of committee we need to contact all our Representatives and tell them not to vote for HB382 if it comes to the House floor.
Anne Gassel
Missouri Coalition Against Common Core



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