Writing Letters to the Editor

 

Raising Awareness of Gifted Student Needs

Letters to the editor offer advocates the chance to draw the public’s attention to the needs of gifted and talented students.  To be published, letters need a connection to something reported in the paper or to something happening locally. For example, extensive newspaper coverage about the state education budget that does not include mention of gifted education programs offers the chance to write about the need for state funding for gifted and talented education services.  Stories about Advanced Placement classes open the door to letters about the need for a full range of gifted education programming. Administrators, school board members, and legislators all read their local newspapers; many elected officials read the major newspapers across the state. This may be your chance to share your opinions with them right in their own home in a nonthreatening, thoughtful way.


Personalize your Letter 

Personalized letters have the best chance of being published and also have the greatest impact. The message in your letter is more meaningful to the reader when he can see how the issue affects you, your district, and/or your state. For instance, you can include state or local data to reinforce your point, talk about your own experiences with your child's school, or mention an ongoing discussion in your state that is relevant.  Examples of letters authored by NAGC and others provide a template, or sample on which to model your own message; we urge you to change the letter to make it your own.

Suggestions for Submissions 

  • Letters to the editor should be addressed to the Letters-to-the-Editor editor of the newspaper. Submission information, including word limits, is typically included in the fine print in the Letters section of your newspaper and is available online.
  • Advocates should write to their local newspapers.  Don’t forget the weekly papers in your area.
  • If you are an officer of your local parent or gifted education association, be sure to include that information with your signature and address. 
  • State gifted education association officers could "pen" a letter to the major newspapers in the state.  Tailor the letter to state legislative action and submit a letter to the newspaper in the state capital.
  • Submit your letters just before an event within a few days following a news story.

 

Read a published NAGC letter to the editor.