Q & A
Getting Ready to Advocate
Take Quick Action Today; Prepare to Do More Later
by Karen Strong
Q: What is social media advocacy?
A: It’s an easy way to make an impact.
Let’s start with the understanding that
social media is neither inherently bad nor
inherently good. It’s all in how it is employed. It can be used to accomplish good
things, and that’s what we want to do.
Last Session’s Campaign
During the last legislative session,
TASB introduced its social media advocacy campaign, centered on the website
Texans for Strong Public Schools (
strong-texasschools.org) and outreach through
Facebook and Twitter. The website offered
the opportunity for supporters of public schools to send letters to their Texas
lawmakers on two subjects: vouchers and
funding. By the end of the session, advocates had sent more than 34,000 letters—
and the lawmakers noticed.
During the special session, 15,000
more letters flowed to legislators. Advocates took advantage of this simple mechanism to voice concern to their elected
officials. Lawmakers got the message (via
almost 50,000 letters over the two sessions) that there were vocal supporters of
public schools among their constituents.
This Session’s Follow-up
This year, we want to build on that
successful advocacy effort. The website
has been refreshed, and new features have
been added. Plans are in place for outreach
through Facebook, Twitter, and other
communications channels. The goal is
for public school advocates to speak even
more loudly to their lawmakers about the
need for support for Texas public schools.
This is your call to action for today
and for the next few months.
Today: Go to the strongtexasschools.
org website and send a letter now to your
lawmakers, letting them know that you
support public schools and you urge them
to support our schools during the upcoming session.
Next few months: Your action today
will position you to be able to take more
action in coming months. By sending
a letter today, you will opt in to receive
messages over the next few months letting
you know when critical issues for public
schools need your attention and when
another letter would help.
I don’t know about you, but it seems
to me that the absolute necessity of speaking up on behalf of Texas public schools
grows with every legislative session. I
worry that if we don’t step up and speak
out for public schools now, the students in
today’s public schools will lose the support
that is critical for their schools to thrive in
I hate the idea that the public schools
that benefited me as a child might be lost
on my watch, when it was my turn to
ensure they would be available for the next
I know that, for many of us, writing
to an elected official is not in our comfort
zone. I know that getting involved in that
way is unfamiliar for many. It is easy to
leave that sort of activism to others.
But I saw firsthand that the letters
sent to lawmakers during the last session
made a real difference. Going to the web-
site and sending a letter is a very simple
and painless way to help. Commit that
this is the year when you will not sit on
• Send a letter before the session, letting
your lawmakers know that you want
them to support public schools when
the Legislature convenes.
• Share information about the website
with your friends and neighbors so
that they, too, can send letters.
• Share the website information on your
Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Make a difference where it counts.H
Karen Strong is TASB associate executive director
of Communications and Public Relations.
If we don’t step up and speak out for
public schools now, the students in today’s
public schools will lose the support that
is critical for their schools to thrive in the