Tell your story! Write a letter to the editor to the Sacramento Bee telling them all of the incredible things happening at your school and in your classroom. A letter from a teacher can be a powerful agent of change in the public discourse. Discuss the issue in terms of how it affects students. An upbeat letter may be more persuasive than one that scolds, blames, or complains.
Need some advice? Stick to ONE point: Trying to cover an array of issues usually doesn’t do justice to any of them. Simple declarative sentences can be very effective. (Example: Legislators should champion teachers) Sometimes the very best Letter to the Editor is only one paragraph in length. Brevity is the soul of wit. It often is the heart of readability.
Try to “connect” with the readers. That is, write your letter as if you were saying “I want what YOU want.” A letter that appears self-serving usually suffers loss of credibility. You may want to include a motivation line (or “Call to Action” statement), such as: “Please ask you local legislator to vote for Proposition 98.” Some talking points we urge you to include in your letter to the editor are:
- School budget cuts have a direct impact on students and vital programs, and should be made with students in mind and kept far away from our classrooms.
- While it is clear there are extraordinary budget challenges, it’s also clear that California voters believe our students and public schools should be a top priority. We can’t keep asking our students and schools to do more with less. True leadership means setting priorities, and it means implementing a balanced approach of spending cuts and revenue increases.
- If you are at a QEIA (Quality Education Investment Act) school, discuss the impact that small class sizes have had on your school site. No matter what school you are at, Tell Your Story!
- We need your help! It is clear that because of the size of the budget cuts and the powerful forces at play, we will have to stand together to be successful in minimizing the impact to our students and schools.
Remember to check a dictionary for spelling in your letter (the general public expects educators to be perfect).