Special Note to ACAeNews readers: This is the final edition for 2009. Our bimonthly schedule resumes on January 19, 2010. Warm wishes for a peaceful holiday season and a prosperous New Year.
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College Achievement Gap for Low-Income and Minority Students Persists, Action Taken
An early December report from The Education Trust, deemed the most comprehensive examination of the college progress of low-income and minority students to date, reports a wide gap in degree attainment statistics at public four-year colleges and uneven progress and success at two-year institutions. Among the major findings were:
What are the nation's public higher education systems doing in response? The Access to Success Initiative (A2S), a project of the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and The Education Trust, is working with 24 public higher education systems that have pledged to cut the college-going and degree-attainment gaps for low-income and minority students in half by 2015. NASH represents 378 two- and four-year campuses situated in urban, suburban and rural communities and enrolling 3 million students. This objective reinforces a similar goal announced by President Obama shortly after his inauguration.
Each A2S participating system sets its own improvement targets and agreed to a common set of metrics to evaluate progress. Much of the information in the system baseline reports, including the graduation rates of low-income and nontraditional students, has not previously been available publicly. Click on the link below to check out the activities of your state system.
In the News: Suicide Rise and Winter Holidays Myth
It is the myth that will not go away, the belief that the winter holidays are marked with greater numbers of suicides. According to a Thanksgiving story in USA Today, the Centers for Disease Control reports that U.S. suicides peak in the spring months and may even recede during the winter holiday period.
Advocacy Matters: Senate Considers Health Care Bill -- Very, Very Slowly
The Senate is continuing to work toward passing an increasingly modest health insurance reform bill, in an attempt to meet the twin goals of expanding insurance coverage and reducing long-term national health care spending. Staunch Republican opposition to the legislation means Senate leaders need to line up 60 votes in order to clear three procedural hurdles and then final passage of the bill. So far, Senate leaders have garnered at least 60 votes to overcome the first two hurdles this week. If the Senate musters 60 for the third vote Wednesday afternoon, the body may vote on final approval of the bill by Christmas Eve. Unfortunately for the counseling profession, the Senate proposal would not establish Medicare coverage of counselors.
ACA is working to try to increase the number of senators cosponsoring S. 671, the "Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act." Once the Senate passes a health insurance bill, it will need to be 'conferenced' with the version passed by the House in November, H.R. 3962, which does include Medicare coverage of counselors. The more senators we have signed on as cosponsors of S. 671, the easier it will be for us to convince conferees on the legislation to include the House's counselor coverage provision.
It should be easy for senators to cosponsor S. 671. The Senate has already passed Medicare coverage of counselors twice before, in both 2003 and 2005. We are not asking them to vote one way or the other on the health care bill currently being debated. Covering counselors under Medicare is a very cost-effective way of increasing beneficiaries' access to qualified outpatient mental health providers.
You can call your senators by dialing 202-224-3121 and asking for a specific senator's office. If you don't know who your senators are, visit the ACA internet action center at
ACA In the News: TV Show Highlights Legislation in Uganda to Criminalize Homosexuality
As horrible as it might seem, legislation has been introduced in the country of Uganda that would criminalize homosexuality and make the penalty life in prison or execution. The Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC has been bringing this important issue to light for the American public. During the week of December 7, Maddow interviewed former ACA member Richard Cohen and focused on the use of his writings to support the Uganda legislation. Cohen was expelled from ACA for unethical behavior. The interview with Richard Cohen is available on the Rachel Maddow Show homepage at
An ACA response by President Lynn Linde is posted on the ACA website. It calls on the government of Uganda to reject this proposed legislation.
Fast Facts: International Students (Coming & Going) Set Record Highs
Data from the Institute for International Education's Open Doors 2009 report, released in mid November, revealed that the number of U.S. students studying abroad and the number of international students studying in the United States are at record highs.
Conference Clipping #1: Student Conference Scholarship Essay Deadline--December 30
As it has done in past years, the ACA Foundation will be providing registration scholarships for deserving graduate students wishing to attend the 2010 ACA Annual Conference & Exposition in Pittsburgh, March 18-22. Due to the high number of requests for such scholarships, and the limited funds available, ACA member graduate students are being asked to submit a short (300-word) essay explaining why attending the ACA Conference would benefit them.
The deadline for entries is midnight, December 30, 2009. Full details, rules, and an online entry form are available through the ACA Foundation at
Conference Clipping #2: HPSO Offers Attendees 10% Discount
Attend the ACA Annual Conference & Exposition and you could receive an additional 10% off of your individual professional liability insurance premium through HPSO. As a member benefit, ACA professional members already receive a 10% discount through HPSO. If you attend the ACA Conference, you could earn an additional 10% discount by completing at least 6 approved CEs. (The discount does not apply to part time policies.)
The approved session list is very liberal-only a few sessions are not approved. More information will be included in your Program Book. The conference dates are March 18-22. Register now and enjoy even more value!
Phone: 703-823-9800, ext. 222
Worth Reading: Report Addresses Academic Achievement of Students with Disabilities
A new report from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) zeroes in on the academic progress of K-12 students with disabilities, and details the factors that make it difficult to clearly discern achievement trends for this subgroup. Measuring student achievement is made more difficult because states often administer multiple assessments resulting in disparate findings. The CEP report did find that the subgroup has made progress in grade four at all three achievement levels: basic-and-above, proficient-and-above, and advanced.
New ACA Podcast on Addiction Counseling Just Out
Ford Brooks and Bill McHenry of Shippensburg University have brought their expertise on counseling addicted clients to the ACA Podcast Series in Podcast HT016 - The Latest on Addiction Counseling. Brooks and McHenry, coauthors of Contemporary Approach to Substance Abuse Counseling, direct their commentary to both addiction counselors and general practitioners because of their belief that meeting the needs of addicted clients and families cuts across multiple counseling venues. In the new podcast, they discuss crack as an addictive substance, the emergence of co-occurrence, and the role of "harm reduction" in treatment. Running time: 52:21.
Relevant Research: Children of Deployed Military Experience Difficulties
According to a new study conducted by the Rand Corporation for the National Military Family Association, children of military parents deployed to serve abroad are twice as likely as children of civilians to have emotional or behavioral difficulties. The study, published in Pediatrics, included children between the ages of 11 and 17 and was based on interviews with about 1,500 military families in which a parent had been or was currently deployed. It found that 30% of children from military families reported experiencing elevated anxiety symptoms, such as getting frightened or feeling abandoned. Half this number from civilian families reported similar symptoms.
Calendar: ASGW National and ID, ND, & NC State Conferences
January 21-23, 2010
February 1-3, 2010
February 17-19, 2010
February 18-21, 2010
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Copyright 2009, American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703-823-9800. Email: email@example.com. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce anything contained in this newsletter as long as the American Counseling Association is identified as the original source of the information.
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