5¢ Makes Sense

Social Campaign ToolKit


This toolkit will equip you to start an online
conversation about increasing the federal education
budget in the United States. The campaign’s official
hash tag is #HearOurEdStories.


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.

Data and Facts About Federal Education Funding
To help build you craft your personal narrative, we
pulled together a list of federally funded programs
that you can reference when describing your
education story.

Download PDF

Download the full toolkit PDF here


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.



(202) 327-8125


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


The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) is a coalition of 110 education organizations and institutions representing the continuum of education from early learning to postgraduate education to adult education and education enhancements. CEF’s “5¢ Makes Sense”campaign demonstrates the need to increase education investments from the current two percent of the federal budget to five cents on the federal dollar, providing evidence behind the effectiveness of investing along the entire education continuum.


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, our schools, and our communities. Education funding currently accounts for about two percent of the federal budget, yet those investments have important short-term and long-term returns that benefit all of us as students become productive adults ready to participate 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 “#5centsMakesSense” campaign.

By using social media to share personal stories about the impact of federal education funding to our lives, we can influence policy-makers, 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. Policy makers 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 ineducation to easily communicate the importance of federal investment 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 and tag your Representatives on Twitter, but you can also participate on other social media platforms or by sharing a written post. All you need to record and share a video is a smart phone or other video recording device that enables you to upload videos to social media, and a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram account

Whether are you recording 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 affects 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 – but do what works for your story.

Below is an outline of a script you can plug your personal story into:
“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 quite to record your story.

i. 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 you plan to post your message on or pick multiple platforms to share your message on. We suggest using Twitter because it is the best platform to increase visibility around issues related to the government. That’s because it is the easiest platform to tag elected officials and get noticed by the media since the hashtag function on Twitter is a publicly discoverable metadata tag and 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 that button.

After you upload your video, write a comment, Tweet, or post to accompany it. The comment you share with your video or screenshot is very important. This is very important because we want to make sure the maximum amount of people see your
story and that your elected representatives are notified when you click share. In order to do that, your post must include the handles of your Representative and Senators (a full list of handles are located in the appendix). The post must also include the campaign’s hashtag #HearOurEdStories so anyone following you can click the hashtag and see the scope of the conversation. We also strongly encourage you to use the hashtag #5CentsMakesSense when asking your elected officials to increase the federal education budget. Lastly, ask your friends and followers online to take action on this issue by sending a letter to their elected official. We created a template letter that asks Congress to increase federal education funding, please use this link to that letter in your post [INSERT LINK TO LETTER TO MEMBER OF CONGRESS].

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 just need to press the + in blue to complete the post.

Below is an example of how to do that.

Below are a few sample posts you can mirror or draw inspiration from.

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: [insert letter to member link] #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: [insert letterto member link] #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: [insert letter to member link] #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: [insert letter to member link] #HearOurEdStories

How To Find Your Elected Official' 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

If you’d like some information to help discuss 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 could use as a 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 gets from Department of ED formula grants and student aid at this link. Key programs include: (I have the table complete but it’s not on our website yet).

  • 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, adequate 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.

5¢ Makes Sense

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

CEF Gala

September 26, 2018, at Union Station
Tickets, sponsorship, and full information.

Charts & Resources for FY 2018 and 2019

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.