Making Your Voice Heard: Writing a Letter to the Editor for Financial Education
Building support of an issue requires making people aware of the problem. Writing a letter to your local or regional paper is an easy way to reach a large audience including policymakers focused on keeping tabs on issues of importance.
Many recognize the need of quality financial education when faced with a tough financial decision. Access to quality financial education is necessary at every stage of life. It is especially important to equip young adults with the tools they will require to lead financially sound lives. In Massachusetts, students are not required to take any financial education courses in high school. Students are left to make their own decisions without the necessary information to help guide them which has garnered the state an "F" again in the recent Survey of the States on K-12 economic and financial education. As students emerge into a financially complex world, with rising student loan debt and innumerable credit card offers, many are unable to succeed and get trapped in debt. This has to change.
Below are some steps in writing an effective letter that builds awareness and support for financial education for all students.
- Determine the guidelines required by the newspaper including the word count.
- Share your expertise on the issue. As a parent, teacher, community practitioner, employer, or concerned resident, share why passage of financial education will have an impact on your community. There are pockets of success across the state where financial education has been implemented, we need to ensure all students have the same opportunity.
- Include the legislation specific legislation you support, an Act Relative to Financial Literacy in Schools (S.2343). Massachusetts only provides personal finance content in the K-12 standards through Model Curriculum Units which is not sustainable as financial decisions become more complex.
- Write in your own words - your voice matters.
- Advocate and make a call to legislators to pass legislation that invests in Massachusetts youth. Include supporting facts: 1 in 5 teenage students in the U.S. lacks basic financial literacy skills. Students who have taken a class in personal finance are more likely to engage in financially responsible behaviors such as saving, budgeting, and investing.
- Include your contact information to ensure the newspaper can reach you before printing your letter.
Thank you for supporting MassSaves and most importantly, our next generation.