VISTAS Counselor Education and Supervision

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Dismantling the Achievement Gap: What Counselors Need to Know

Pedro Portes


It now seems quite evident that school counselors must answer the call to help close a massive achievement gap that prevails in the United States. Until recently, education reforms have left counselors out of center stage. They are now being called upon to play more direct roles in state and district efforts that would assist students placed at risk (SPARs) and their teachers by both their professional national organization and the Education Trust. However, disagreement exists in deciding how counselors’ roles might change, and the purpose of their new roles or their preparation. Well-justified critiques of counselor education programs suggest that counselors are not well prepared for significant roles in educational reform. These initiatives are founded on the common premise that transformations should center on improving achievement scores. While there is a need for transforming higher education, tests or accountability alone can not achieve either equity or excellence in education. There is a need to prepare and empower counselors differently than in the past but also in areas in which the gap is rooted.

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