You’ve seen plenty of open letters before – letters to the editor, groups of concerned citizens, coalitions of politicians or policymakers.

Open letters are letters addressed to a specific person or group of people that aim to convey opinions to both the recipient(s) and to the general public. They are an incredibly effective way to mobilize large groups of people around a topic and demonstrate public support for a position.

Sending open letters are especially useful when a person or group of people feel a position is not being well-represented in public or adequately addressed by leaders. They are a powerful tool for groups to speak with one voice.

You want to get your point across in a concise, straightforward way that is both easy to distribute and can attract public attention to your cause. Make sure your letter is coherent and easy-to-read. Use short sentences and bullet points.

Letters can be published in newspapers, blogs, mass emails and even snail mail. Letters can be from groups of parents, alumni, students.

Most importantly for local and state educational policy, open letters can demonstrate to administrators and policymakers that there is a critical mass of unhappy parents.

Here are some examples of effective open letters recently sent to schools: