Early Childhood Advocacy Toolkit
Opinions count... make yours heard!
Publishing an op-ed can be a great way to spread awareness about early learning and healthy development, link kids’ issues to relevant news, and add a new voice to the statewide conversation about kids. An "op-ed" refers to an opinion piece that is published “opposite the editorial page” in a newspaper and is often shared through the paper's website as well. Newspapers generally have a stable of op-ed columnists and regular contributors but will also print op-eds written by outside authors who can provide valuable insight to issues.
We hope these tips will be helpful as you work to develop and publish an op-ed in your local newspaper. Before you get started, check out a sample op-ed from Groundwork:
Writing an Effective Op-Ed
1. Keep up to date on news and capitalize on opportunities to link in early learning.
Have you noticed recent coverage on workforce issues in your area? Or poor outcomes in your local school district? Take this opportunity to share your understanding of how early learning and development are linked to these issues. Check out some of the latest national and state early education news here.
2. Craft a well-written, clear, and to-the-point message.
Op-eds are meant to offer new and interesting perspectives on community issues. Need a place to start? Check out one of our resource fact sheets. Be sure to include one clear argument, explain why readers should care about this issue, and offer specific recommendations. Check out Groundwork Ohio's current budget recommendations or contact us for sample "asks" to include in your op-ed.
3. Ensure your message is easy for non-experts to understand.
Even though you may know the ins-and-outs of our child-serving systems, readers likely do not. Stay focused on the high-level issues and avoid using jargon.
4. Use your own voice.
You want to make sure your submission is free of any spelling or grammatical errors, but don’t feel confined to a stiff writing style—let your personal voice show through your writing.
5. Submit your op-ed (and follow-up)!
Once your op-ed is complete, send it to a friend or colleague to read through one last time. To submit, call your local newspaper or check out their website for instructions--be sure to confirm the newspaper's word count limit before submitting. Follow-up a few days after submitting to ensure your piece was received.
Have additional questions about writing an op-ed? Contact us.
You're on a roll... don't stop now. Check out some additional ways you can advocate for Ohio's youngest learners: