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First Person Guidelines

Chalkbeat publishes personal essays in a series we call “First Person.” Our goal is to elevate the voices of educators, students, parents, advocates, and others on the front lines of trying to improve public education.

We’re not looking for op-eds that you might find on a newspaper editorial page. We’re looking for essays centered around your personal experience or observation, usually around 800 words.

Strong First Person pieces have a conversational tone, presenting specific examples from the author’s own experience and connecting those examples to larger issues.

We’re always looking for pieces that …

Take a look in our archive for even more examples.

Please note that First Person does not publish:

  • Traditional op-eds that take on an issue solely from a pro/con approach.
  • Academic submissions that don’t speak to a personal experience.
  • Pieces that focus on promoting a specific organization, tool, or program.

Interested in writing a piece? Send your questions, pitches, or drafts to

Not sure if your idea will work? Nervous about writing? Please reach out — we will work with you.