Know Your Audience
- Find out what issues the legislators care about and how they represent them
Plan What You'll Say
- Develop 2-3 main talking points along with the policies and practices that support them. Consult NCTE policies:
- Practice by responding to the toughest and best questions you guess the legislator will ask.
During Your Meeting with a Legislator
After a Meeting with a Legislator
- Don't forget to send a thank you note and include any information you may have offered to provide during your visit -- email is the best way.
- Ask to be consulted when issues arise and, even if you haven't heard, follow up a few months later just to keep in touch by offering your assistance.
A Few Words about the Legislators and Visiting Legislative Office
- Legislators and their staff appreciate what you have to say because they know you are an expert and they want to benefit from your expertise.
- They are not your enemies and you can’t hope to make change if you treat them as such.
- Often legislators are in committee meetings or on the floor of Congress and they personally won’t be able to meet with you.
- Legislative staffers, however, are excellent people to talk to when visiting legislative offices. They are responsible for relaying information on particular topic areas to the member of Congress.
- An important part of a staffer’s job is to meet with constituents and stay informed, and to pass that information directly on to the member of Congress.
- Both legislators and their staff are looking for simple explanation of an issue they’re working in—a story from home complete with some memorable quotes.
- It’s their job to ask tough questions especially when what you present is something they haven’t heard of before.
- Their knowledge of education and what happens in classrooms or should happen in classrooms is limited.
- They sometimes come to an issue with false assumptions which they will give up when you give them proper evidence to the contrary.
Please contact Millie Davis or Lori Bianchini, NCTE Communications Division, for assistance with your questions about speaking with the media or with legislators: firstname.lastname@example.org; 217-278-3634 (Millie) or 217-278-3644 (Lori).