Reach them Now and Reach them at Home
Maximizing 2013: Year of the Student Impact on State Legislators
Local Voices Count
Now that 2013 is here, each state legislator needs to hear the 2013: Year of the Student message from his/her own constituents before the legislative session ends. Legislators respond to local voices, constituents from their districts who understand how Colorado’s education crisis is affecting students and families in their district.
Attend a Legislator Town Hall Meeting
Keep the 2013: Year of the Student message in front of state leaders!
Attending town halls and coffees with your legislator is a good way to keep the 2013: Year of the Student message in front of state leaders. Legislators want to hear from their constituents on issues of importance to them, which is why many schedule monthly events to connect with their constituents.
What should you say when you meet your legislator at their town hall or a coffee shop?
- Introduce yourself as a parent, student, grandparent, or community member; tell them where you live or what school your children attend.
- Express your concerns about education funding and how education budget cuts have impacted your family and/or community. Whether it’s larger class sizes, fewer electives, increased tuition, lack of funding for giftend and talented education, special education, or early childhood education programs, offer a specific example that illustrates your concerns. Consider this your elevator speech. It’ll get easier with practice!
- By now most (if not all) legislators are familiar with the Year of the Student Project. Ask your legislator one or more of these questions:
- Do you agree that we have a problem that Colorado does not fund schools, colleges, and universities at a level that enables every student to be competitive in a 21st centurty global workforce?
- Are you willing to explore options to create a long-term plan to fund education (preschool through higher ed) for student success?
- What will you do to ensure the legislature doesn’t adjourn without a plan to address investment in students for the long-term?
- How can I support your efforts to make progress on how public education is funded?
- Thank your legislator for their service and for listening to your concerns.
Link here for a calendar of upcoming town halls and coffees around the state. We recommend checking your legislator’s website for any last minute changes before heading out (Go to votesmart.org to search for your legislator and their website). Be sure to wear your green ‘Year of the Student’ t-shirt or button so you’ll be recognized as a supporter of the Year of the Student Project.
Other Ways to Deliver the Message and Stories
Invite your legislators to coffee with a few friends. Convey the urgency you feel about fixing education funding in your district/county, ask your legislator to watch an online presentation about Colorado education finance, and encourage them to consider options for fixing the problem.
Home Parties or Gatherings
Plan a celebratory event to congratulate new or returning legislators as a way to bring supporters together and deliver the Year of the Student message.
Invite state legislators and other elected officials (county commissioners, school board members, business leaders, etc.) and others from your community to a presentation and discussion about the urgency of fixing Colorado’s education funding crisis, the basics of education finance, and options legislators have to fix it.
Very effective, powerful way to show legislators the impact of inadequate state funding on local schools. The YOS Project can support you with template invitations, assistance in getting the word out, planning considerations, and more.
Let us know that you have contacted your legislator by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If none of these options are possible for you, we suggest you contact your legislator by phone:
Not as effective as in-person meeting, but a minimum investment each YOS supporter can do between now and January when the legislative session begins. Congratulate your elected official on keeping their seat or beginning their term and tell them that you are an active voter that follows education funding closely. Convey the impact of inadequate funding, ask them to attend a YOS briefing in Denver or at least to commit to watching the 2013: Year of the Student video presentation, and ask them to consider all options available for solving this situation.