5¢ Makes Sense and #HearOurEdStories

Social Campaign ToolKit


This toolkit will equip you to start an online conversation
about raising the federal education budget in the United
States. Our goal is to increase federal education
investments to 5 percent of the budget. The campaign’s
official hashtags are
#HearOurEdStories & #5Cents4EdFunding


Step by Step Instructions on
How to Engage Online
We put together instructions on how to participate in
a social media campaign using personal videos and a
call to action.

Sample Post
In addition to the step by step instructions in this
toolkit, we developed a few draft posts that
participants can mimic or draw inspiration from.

List of Elected Officials’ Accounts to Tag
This toolkit shows you how to identify and tag your
federal elected officials in your posts.

Federal Education Funding Data
To help you craft your personal narrative, there is a list of
federally-funded programs that you can reference when
describing youreducation story.


1. Tell Members of Congress why federal education funding is important to you.
2. Ask them to increase federal investments in education.
3. Support the education community – teachers, administrators, parents, students, etc. – in telling their stories.

Link to more CEF information:


Using the power and reach of social
media, our collective voices will be heard
and recognized by millions of Americans
including influential policy makers,
journalists, business executives and civic


We are asking for your help in urging Congress to increase federal education funding —
investments that make a real difference every day in the lives of students, teachers, families, schools
and communities. Education funding currently accounts for about two percent of the federal budget
and is crucial to preparing students to become active participants in the 21st century global
economy. Our goal is to increase federal education investments to 5 percent of the budget — the
call to action for our “#5Cents4EdFunding” campaign.

By using social media to share personal stories about the impact of federal education funding on
people’s lives, we can influence policymakers, elevate important education funding issues and
mobilize grassroots support to advocate for vital investments in education.

Creating your personal message and engaging in this campaign matters. Policymakers are
influenced by what their constituents want, and this campaign’s goal is to have Congress
“#HearOurEdStories” and your needs loud and clear.

This toolkit allows teachers, students, administrators, parents and anyone else involved in
education to easily communicate the importance of federal investments in education. The following
sections give you the tools to share your personal story in a meaningful way.

If you’d like additional information or help with participating in this campaign, please email us at:

Step-By-Step Instructions On How To Engage Online

We encourage you to make a video about your education story and share it with your followers on
social media, but you can also participate by sharing a written post. If you plan on recording a video,
you will need a smart phone or other video recording device that enables you to upload videos to
social media. Whether you share a video or written post, you will need a Twitter, Facebook,
LinkedIn or Instagram account.

Whether you are recording a video or typing out your story, you will need to create a short script
that describes how federal education funding impacts you. In your script include your name, the
city and state you live in, how federal funding impacts you and why you are asking Congress to
increase the federal education budget. The script should be short and sweet but also include a
relatable personal anecdote. We recommend that the script be between 130-150 words so that the
video is around 1-minute long. If you are not recording a video, the script will be the bulk of the
story you post on your social media account.
Below is an outline of a script:

“My name is [INSERT FIRST (and last name if you feel comfortable)], I’m from [CITY,
ETC.]. [Federal education funding or list a specific federally funded program] helps
CONSEQUENCES OF A FUNDING LAPSE]. This is my ed story and I know I am not
alone, which is why I am asking my federal Representative and Senators to increase
investments in education.


1. If you decided to record a video, take the following steps:

a. Practice telling your story aloud a few times.
b. Find somewhere quiet to record your story.

Pro tip: Whether you’re inside or outside, try not to record your story with the sun or a bright light behind your back.

c. Record yourself telling your story!

Feel free to personalize your video with a colorful background, props like books or a calculator, and humor. This is your story, so feel free to be yourself!

Pick the social media platform or platforms you plan to post your message on. We suggest using
Twitter because it is the best platform to increase visibility around issues related to the federal
government — users can easily tag elected officials and get noticed by the media since the hashtag
function on Twitter is a publically discoverable metadata tag. Congress and journalists follow
Twitter conversations closely. If you do not have a Twitter account, feel free to use your Facebook,
LinkedIn or Instagram account.

Whether you created a video or wrote a story, upload your narrative to the social media platform(s)
you selected. Each social media platform has a button for uploading a video when you post on your
newsfeed. Below are screenshots to help you find the video upload button.

After you upload your video or story, write a supplementary post to accompany it.

The post you share with your video or written narrative is very important.

This is very important because we want to make sure the maximum number of people see your
story and that your elected representatives are notified when you click “share” or “tweet.” In order
to do that, your post must include the handles of your Representative and Senators. You can
find your elected officials’ handles on this website.

The post must also include the campaign’s hashtags #HearOurEdStories and
#5Cents4EdFunding so anyone following you can click the hashtag and see the scope of the

We have included several post examples you can mimic or draw inspiration from in the following
section titled “SAMPLE POSTS.”

Ask your friends and followers online to take action on this issue by sending a letter to their elected
officials. We created a template letter that asks Congress to increase federal education funding. You
can download the letter through this link: bit.ly/CEFletter2congress. We encourage you to share the
link to this letter in your posts.

Press share, post or tweet to send your story out to the world!

Sample Posts

If you are posting your message on Twitter, you will need to “thread” your message because the
messages we want to send contain a lot of important information that can’t be condensed into one
tweet. To thread a message, you need to press the + in blue to complete the post.

Below is an example of how to do that.

Click the blue button the arrow is pointing to.

Separate the tweets as you see fit and click “Tweet all” to post.

Below are a few sample posts to use in sharing your video or written narrative. If you are
posting a written narrative, some of this information may be duplicative so please edit

I’m a school administer in Troy, Alabama, where our public schools are doing great things for our students. But we can’t hire additional teachers because federal support for teachers has been frozen. Our students, teachers and schools deserve better. I’m asking @SenShelby, @sendougjones & @RepMarthaRoby to increase education investments to 5% of the federal budget because #5CentsMakesSense. Ask your elected officials to join the movement: bit.ly/CEFletter2congress #HearOurEdStories

As the parent of a child who requires special education services in Beckley, West Virginia, I know the toll that a lack of federal education funding takes on my school. That is why I’m asking my elected officials, @RepEvanJenkins, @SenCapito & @Sen_JoeManchin to increase federal funding for education because #5CentsMakesSense. Ask your elected officials to join the movement: bit.ly/CEFletter2congress #HearOurEdStories

I’ve taught in Little Rock, Arkansas for over 20 years because I love teaching and it’s important. But schools need more federal funding to train and hire more teachers so I’m calling on @JohnBoozman @SenTomCotton & @RepFrenchHill to help their constituents by increasing the federal education budget because #5CentsMakesSense. Ask your elected officials to join the movement: bit.ly/CEFletter2congress #HearOurEdStories

As a college junior, I’ve already learned a lot, but I’ve also accrued more debt than my parents did when they bought our first home. We need to increase funding to Pell grants, Work Study, and other federal aid. That’s why I’m asking my elected officials, @SenAlexander, @SenBobCorker & @repdavidkustoff, to increase the federal education budget because #5CentsMakesSense. Ask your elected officials to join the movement: bit.ly/CEFletter2congress #HearOurEdStories

How To Find Your Elected Officials' Account To Tag

If you aren’t sure who your Senators and Representative are, you can find that information on this website. The search result on this website will also provide you with most elected officials’ Twitter handles.

Data & Facts About Federal Education Funding

The Committee for Education Fund tracks federally-funded early childhood, K-12, higher education,
career & lifelong learning and educational enhancement programs that you can reference in your
personal narrative.

Below is a partial list of programs funded by the federal government. You can read CEF’s
description of what these programs do at this link, and see how their funding would change under
the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request at this link. And you can look up how much each
state receives from Department of Education formula grants and student aid at this link:

  • Title I – Education for the Disadvantaged – Grants to Local Educational Agencies
  • Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants
  •  Impact Aid
  • Title II – Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants
  • Teacher and School Leader Incentive Grants
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • Title IV-A — Student Support and Academic Enrichment State Grants
  • Charter Schools
  • Magnet Schools
  • Indian Education
  • English Language Acquisition
  • Rural Education
  • Homeless Children and Youth Education
  • Special Education–Grants to States
  • Career and Technical Education State Grants
  • Adult Education State Grants
  • Pell Grants
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
  • Work-Study
  • Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Aid for Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • TRIO programs
  • Institute of Education Sciences
  • Head Start
  • Child Care and Development Block Grant
  • Library Services Technology Act
  • Museum Services Act

Why 5¢ Makes Sense:

Increase our Investment in Education to 5 Cents of Every Federal Dollar

Investing in education builds a stronger nation.

We need a well-trained and educated workforce ready to compete in a global economy and support our military.

The best way to reduce the deficit is to spur economic growth.

Yet we can’t run businesses, schools and universities, or the public sector if our children don’t grow into adults equipped with the tools they need to succeed.

Education funding for K-12 education is less than it was ten years ago.

In a time of tight budgets, 23 states are on track to provide less formula funding in 2017 than they did ten years ago, cutting the largest source of support for elementary and secondary education. Yet federal elementary and secondary education funding is still below the 2008 level even though public school enrollment has increased by 2.3 percent over those ten years.

The United States spends only 2¢ of every federal dollar on education.

A budget should reflect our values, yet only about 2 percent of the federal budget is for education. Education programs have already been the target of deep cuts; Congress has eliminated 50 education programs since 2010. In fact, current funding for the Department of Education is still below what it was 7years ago, excluding the Pell Grant program.

$1 invested in early childhood education saves at least $7 down the road.

Yet Head Start, the largest federal early childhood education program, is so underfunded that it can serve only 4 out of every 10 eligible children from low-income families.

Earning a college degree increases the average salary by one and half and cuts unemployment rates in half compared with stopping with just a high school degree.

Yet federal student aid has failed to keep pace with inflation, never mind the rate at which college costs have increased in recent years. Increases in federal student aid programs allow low-income students to receive more grant aid to help them enter and finish their degree faster without borrowing more and graduating with more debt.

The U.S. requires that all students with disabilities have access to a free, appropriate public education.

In return, the federal government pledged to cover up to 40% of the additional cost associated with educating students with disabilities. Sadly, the federal share has never reached even half of that commitment — reaching an all-time high of 18% through annual appropriations in 2005 — and currently only covers 16% of the additional cost associated with educating students with disabilities.

Education Accounts for Just 2% of All Federal Spending

Education Accounts for Just 2% of All Federal Spending

Download PDF

View a multi-page PDF file of the full “5 Cents Makes Sense” document, with additional stats and charts.



Social Media Toolkit to let Congress know why education funding matters to you


Increase our investment in education to 5 cents of every federal dollar

CEF Gala

September 18, 2019, at Hotel Intercontinental – The Wharf
Tickets, sponsorship, and full information.

Charts, Funding Tables, and Other Resources

Find an expert, view federal budget info, and browse charts and graphics.

CEF Budget Book

Access CEF’s analyses of the President’s budget request from 2011 to the present.