Through citizen advocacy, we can make PUBLIC EDUCATION a nonpartisan focus of every election – local, state and national. Grassroots, local level organizing is the heart of PEP’s efforts to defend and support our schools. Each of the education advocacy groups around the state started with just a few people who cared deeply about making a difference and standing up for local schools. https://publiceducationpartners.org/about/partners/
Start a local school district advocacy group to focus on supporting students, teachers, and education professionals in your public schools. Here are some easy steps to get you started: https://publiceducationpartners.org/get-involved/start-local-group/
Check out this excellent example of an Ohio school district advocacy group: http://chuh.net/coalition/
Connect with local leaders, parent groups, educators, community members, and business owners who support local schools. Assist them in hosting a series of community discussions of education ideology, issues, and policies for the opportunity to talk about what matters to all of us: making sure that every child in the community can attend an excellent school and knowing that strong schools are the heart of strong communities.
Re-establish relationships with people who are already actively engaged, such as people who have worked on school levy campaigns, and those who work with foundations or run referenda efforts. Invite them to join you, then brainstorm to identify your shared concerns, goals and ideas for working together.
Build relationships with the people elected to represent your community and schools. Knowing where candidates stand on issues that impact our public schools is essential to electing strong supporters of our students. Let’s hold our elected officials accountable for making votes that benefit our students and public schools once elected.
Get to know your local and state school board members, as well as your legislators, and make sure they know you. Write, call, attend listening sessions, and share your concerns, ideas, and values. Decision-makers and lawmakers need to hear from us!
State BOE members: http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Members
Ohio Legislators: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislators/find-my-legislators
Follow them on social media (here’s a good list of lawmakers on Twitter)
Add their office numbers to your phone contacts
Call and ask to be added to their mailing lists
Watch for announcements of constituent coffees or office hours
Invite legislators to community events
Write letters to the editor as a fast, free, and effective way to reach your entire community to let them know why you support your local public schools. Here are some tips for writing LTEs: Effective letters are short (250 words or less) and to the point, and they connect the larger issue or concern to your community’s needs. Make it personal by sharing your story or perspective, and appeal to values you share with members of your community. Stay focused, and include a suggested action or information on how to support education advocacy efforts in your letter.
If your letter is appropriate across Ohio, feel free to submit it to multiple newspapers. Contact information for submitting LTEs can be found below:
Akron Beacon Journal: Email letter to email@example.com
Ashland Times-Gazette: Email letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Canton Repository: Email letter to email@example.com
Cincinnati Enquirer: http://static.cincinnati.com/letter/
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Email letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Columbus Dispatch: Email letter to email@example.com
Dayton News: https://www.daytondailynews.com/opinion/sendletter/
Elyria Chronicle-Telegram: Email letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorain Morning Journal: Email letter to email@example.com
Toledo Blade: Email letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Warren Tribune: http://www.tribtoday.com/submit-news/
Youngstown Vindicator: Email letter to email@example.com
Get involved today by learning about the challenges facing public education and advocating for strong public school districts. Our children and their families are counting on us.
As education historian Diane Ravitch says, “We are many. There is power in our numbers. Together we will save PUBLIC EDUCATION.”
These Advocacy Tools were inspired by our friends at the Wisconsin Public Education Network @ http://www.wisconsinnetwork.org/
Share Your Story: Tell us about your successful public education advocacy efforts, and we’ll share them to inform and inspire other activists like yourself who believe that public education matters.