TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS
1. Write a letter to your elected officials, including both of your Senators, your U.S. Representatives, and your Governor. We have included a draft letter that you may use or modify, or you may write your own letter.
2. Decide whether you want to meet with your elected official, call them, or simply communicate with them by letter. If you want to meet with your elected official(s), identify and invite the organizations and parents that you want to go to the meeting with you. Set a date with your elected official.
3. Mail and fax your letter. The letter should be sent to your elected official and should be followed up with a phone call. If you want to meet with your elected official, set a date and reach out to the organizations and parents that you want to go to the meeting with you. It's important to have "authentic voices," i.e., parents with children who are currently receiving special education services, to share their stories that reflect the findings of the report. It's also important to have "expert voices," staff from your agency that can talk about overall issues affecting families from a statewide or broader perspective.
4. Set an agenda for the meeting. Contact the people who will be coming to the meeting with you. Discuss the agenda and issues different participants will address. Discuss a timeframe. You will probably have less than 1/2 hour to meet with your elected official, so you want to make sure that you set aside enough time to cover all the important issues. Identify issues about your state from the monitoring report to be sure to cover. Identify the commitments you want your elected official to make. For Senators and U.S. Representatives, be sure to ask them to call for public hearings on the report. For the Governor, ask him or her to facilitate a meeting between the Governor, your state department of education, and your organization, to discuss the report's findings regarding your state.
5. Follow up your meeting with your elected official with a letter. Thank them for the meeting and remind them of any commitments they made at the meeting. Send a copy of the letter and a summary of your meeting in to NPND. It's important for NPND to know that the report is being discussed throughout the United States, and what is being said.