Professional school counselor advocacy
Molee, Kim Burdash
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The purpose of this study was to understand the process by which professional school counselors’ priorities are brought to elected officials. The study utilized a collective case design focused on the perspectives of professional school counselor advocates and legislators across two states: Georgia and New Jersey. Qualitative interviews were conducted with counselor advocates and legislators in both states and analyzed to compare the responses. Purposeful sampling and the snowball technique were utilized to gain access to legislators and counselor advocates in both states. Analysis of the data across cases resulted in the following three findings: (a) legislators do not describe counselor advocates as influential, nor do they view the advocacy process the same way as advocates do; (b) participants described advocacy differences according to state policy climate and (c) counselor advocates describe the advocacy process of bringing counselor voices to legislators in similar terms across contrasting climates in two states. These findings resulted in the following three conclusions: First, professional school counselors need their voice to be distinct from other educational practitioners; second, the context matters regarding perceived influence of counselor advocates; and third, there is an opportunity for legislators to better understand the role of professional school counselors. Implications for practice and future studies are discussed.