Op ED Template

Things to include:

1) Catchy Title (something that is clear about what the message is but makes it eye catching like an advertisement would). Then add a subtitle that is a short sentence/statement.

2) Brief 1-2 paragraph summary stating the general issue about high stakes testing and/or effects in public schools.

3) Identify 2-3 key issues that you will hone in on. Use the talking points from our parent flyer or do some quick research from places like www.fairtest.org to get a sense on the central issues. There are many…so narrow your focus to the 3 most salient for you. You can draw from key themes (effects on children, effects on schools, ripple effect on our society –select one from each category or go deep into one theme).

4) Spend one paragraph on each topic you have identified.

5) Support each argument with facts cited from credible source. Use the resource list on our webpage or other credible sources. (www.rethinkingschools.org and www.fairtest.org are two examples, or cite other newspaper articles and/or op ed pieces. In this last instance you can dialogue with that author. For example, “In Susie Doe’s Op Ed piece in the NYT [date/page/hyperlink etc], she cites that ….” and then link your own information to that).

6) Use personal story or experience as appropriate.

7) End with a killer conclusion. Something that leaves readers thinking and calls them to action. Be decisive, i.e. “we must act now” or “public education is in dire risk of becoming extinct”—something dramatic.


  • make gross generalizations using words like “all” or “every”— sets you up for some ding-dong to find the one case in which this is not true and discredit you
  • launch attacks against people or groups unless you can support it with proof or data
  • avoid name calling like “neoliberals are a bunch of jackasses”
  • keep it short