© 2024 WXPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Report: Rural Michigan students need school counselors


A new report said Michigan has the lowest professional-to-student ratio of all states and pointed to the particular staffing needs of rural schools.

In Michigan's rural school districts, just one counselor or school psychologist serves an average of 571 students, one finding in a report from the National Rural Education Association.

Allen Pratt, executive director of the association, said it may require more funding -- or using funding differently -- to improve adult-to-student ratios and serve kids better, especially in rural areas. He suggested Local Education Agencies get creative to help fill the void.

"We have to do more to train our teachers, number one, but also train folks in our community, in our school, to do a job helping these students," Pratt contended. "Even if you had (a ratio of) 10-to-500, you still couldn't get the whole job done. So, this is a community effort."

The association's report found some strengths in the system as well. Students in rural districts are more likely to graduate from high school than their nonrural counterparts. And having smaller schools and close community ties also creates advantages for rural kids.

Pratt pointed out a remarkable positive for Michigan is female students make up nearly 60% of the state's gifted and talented students in rural districts. He argued it is important to focus on things like this and celebrate what's going right.

"You have to take the numbers and you've got to put it in a 'drive' direction on what we need to change to get better," Pratt acknowledged. "But also, let's find positives. Even if it may even be a small positive, we've got to find positives to help our rural schools and rural communities."

Pratt added policy changes in the next legislative cycle could help advance rural education in Michigan, as it appears to be on a forward trajectory.

Born and raised in Canada to an early Pakistani immigrant family, Farah Siddiqi was naturally drawn to the larger purpose of making connections and communicating for public reform. She moved to America in 2000 spending most of her time in California and Massachusetts. She has also had the opportunity to live abroad and travel to over 20 countries. She is a multilingual communicator with on-air experience as a reporter/anchor/producer for television, web and radio across multiple markets including USA, Canada, Dubai, and Hong Kong. She recently moved back to America with a unique International perspective and understanding. She finds herself making Nashville, Tennessee her new home, and hopes to continue her passion for philanthropy and making connections to help bridge misunderstandings specifically with issues related to race, ethnicity, interfaith and an overall sense of belonging,
Up North Updates
* indicates required
Related Content