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Have Your Voice Heard
Higher education in the United States is at a crossroads. Funding cuts by federal and state governments, negative and inaccurate press coverage of higher education, and various reforms continue to undermine the import work we do. Education professionals need to have their voice heard by their elected officials, both at the state and national levels. Below are templates for members to use for their various purposes and writing venues, which could include letters in local or national newspapers, letter to state and federal legislators, etc.
- Make sure to discuss just one issue.
- Be precise and to the point.
- Each section should not be more than a few sentences.
- Forward copies of letters and articles to email@example.com
Sample Letter to an Elected OfficialClick here for contact Information for State and Federal Elected Officials
Title of Recipient
Address of Recipient
Re: Bill Number or Topic
Dear [Recipient's title and name],
Section 1: Open with the purpose of your letter, i.e., to express your concern about a problem. This could include thoughts or ideas on a federal level gleaned from publications such as the Reclaiming the American Dream report or information about the impact of sequestration. State what the position you would like the recipient to take. If writing to a legislator you may want to urge support or opposition for bill, request the introduction of a new bill, etc. Indicate right away that you are a constituent. Other ideas include support, health care, family support, early childhood education, adequately equipped classrooms, manageable class sizes.
Section 2: Explain the problem in a concise and factual manner. If you are writing about a bill, state what it would do and how the bill's passage would affect you and your community. Ask your legislator to take a particular action on the issue you have raised.
Thank him or her and respectfully request a response.
Your name, address and email
Letters to the Editors or Op Ed Pieces
The opinion section is arguably the most read section of the newspaper. We can use this forum to raise public awareness about the issues we feel are important.
Click here to review this revealing article published by the Chronicle of Higher Education as it breaks down the educational attainment levels of state legislators.
Below are websites where sample letters created by the National Education Association. These examples could be a good template to follow.
- Click here for sample letters to the editor.
- Click here for additional NEA sample letters to the editor
American Association of University Professors (AAUP) – This website provides tips on writing letters to the editor and news articles.
Association of American Colleges and Universities, Diversity Digest – This website provides tips for writing letters.
Online Places to Submit LettersCommunications Consortium Media Center – This website is a comprehensive listing of the major news publications in the nation.
Newspapers USA and Worldwide – This website lists newspapers broken out by state.
Higher Education Publications to Submit Letters and ArticlesCommunity College Week
Diverse Issues in Higher Education
The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Community College Times
The Huffington Post