SDSU hosts White House Education conference

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SAN DIEGO - A two-day White House conference aimed at helping high school counselors motivate more students to get college degrees got underway Monday at San Diego State with a welcome message from first lady Michelle Obama.

“Its about inspiring young people across to the country to get an education,” said Michelle Obama via live stream during the conference. "I know that if we truly want to help our young people reach their college dreams, we need to support our school counselors.”

About 600 counselors and education advocates from 30 states are taking part in the two-day conference, discussing funding and other issues that prevent counselors from properly helping students.

“Maybe other administrators not knowing our role in the school so we get caught up doing other things that aren’t necessarily what we should be doing,” said SDSU student counselor Krisy Eagle.

Eagle admitted that she would like to focus mainly on mentoring and offering help with college applications, financial aid and other issue that at times intimidate students from going to college.

While some counselors need more resources, others lack training in helping students transfer to college.

“There is no consistency or predictability around that work because there is no requirement or law that makes sure counselors do particular college and readiness activities,” said Trish Hatch, director of school counseling program at SDSU. “If you don’t think your kids are getting the counseling services they deserve then show up at the for local control funding formula and make sure your district is spending funds guaranteeing that we have counselors.”

The conference includes representatives of the White House's College Opportunity Agenda and the First Lady's Reach Higher Initiative. Eric Waldo, the Reach Higher executive director, and Greg Darnieder of the U.S. Department of Education are the featured speakers.