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CMU senior running for Port Huron school board

She may be only 20 years old, but Central Michigan University student Hayley Alderman has big plans for changing the future of Port Huron Area Schools.

Alderman, a Fort Gratiot senior, is running for one of the district’s Board of Education positions and hopes to become a voice of reason for the board.

“I am running because I completely disagree with how the board has run so far,” Alderman said. “The current board members have made it clear that they care more about balancing the budget than the students.”

Alderman added, “Balancing the budget is very important, but we keep writing budgets that raise administrative pay to the detriment of the student experience.”

Vying for one of three open seats in the November election, Alderman said she wants to take the focus back to students and teachers.

“I just graduated from the district I am running in,” she said. “I saw firsthand the problems that were being perpetrated against the students and teachers. I think that some people will say (my age) is a bad thing. However, I feel my age is nothing but a good thing.”

Alderman is a 2012 graduate of Port Huron High School. She will be graduating from CMU in December with a degree in political science with a minor in leadership. Alderman is the executive vice president for the College Democrats at CMU.

Schools in Michigan are rated on a scorecard overview system based on colors. The five colors are based on meeting different strategic goals. Failing to meet these goals will automatically lower the overall scorecard color, even if the school or district is meeting all other goals.

The Port Huron Area School District has an overall scorecard color of orange. Of the 17 schools in the district, two have red scorecards, the lowest rating they can receive. This includes Port Huron High School. The other 15 schools have a score of “yellow,” the middle ranking scorecard color.

One of the main reasons Alderman wants to run for school board is to help increase transparency between the board and its constituents.

“My biggest goal for the school district is to respect the students, value the teachers and honor the tax payers,” she said. “(The current school board) is just spending money needlessly. Education exists for the students.”

Sam McNerney, the president of College Democrats at CMU, said Alderman is passionate and will bring a different perspective to the board of education if she wins in November.

“Hayley has spent so much of her life focusing on education,” the Vestaburg junior said. “It’s important to look at education from the perspective of the young people who are going through it. You have a completely different perspective, a different sense of what needs to be done, on how to do that and a fresh view point.”

Alderman said she believes more young people need to get involved in politics if they want to make a difference in the world.

“We have a lot of good ideas,” she said. “We shouldn’t sell ourselves short. Register to vote. Register to be the person they vote for. If we want our children to grow up in a better world than what we did, then we should go out and hopefully make a difference.”

Alderman said her main focus will be on the school board for the first six months of her term if she’s elected. Alderman added she will be starting law school in the fall 2015, lending her more time to learn how to balance the meetings with her classes.

The St. Clair County Clerk’s Office, which is running the election, said they do not know how many people are in the race yet. The school board election filing deadline is July 22.

Check back with cm-life.com for more on Alderman and her push to become a member of her local school board.

6 Comments

  1. I think it’s great that she’s so passionate, but this is by far the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. As a graduate of port huron schools and CMU alum myself, as well as a teacher, u can tell you there is so much more to the school system than anyone understands. Not to mention that what you think you know at 20 is not the same as what you’ve truly learned by 30. At 20 years old toy haven’t even had to be truly independent yet. You’re still I’m the cocoon of college life, in that pseudo adult mode. On top of that, while scool can prepare you academically for the real work there is so much more that only experience can teach you, and a 20 year old college student just doesn’t have it yet. I know, I’ve been one myself.

    • Really, Jennifer? If you don’t know Hayley personally, then I think you have no room to judge. May I also say, as a graduate of the PHASD, I am not impressed with your writing. Your comment is riddled with typos and grammatical errors. I certainly do not think that that speaks well of CMU and the fact that you are a teacher. By the way, I grew up in a family of educators, and my father is also a CMU alum. The East China School District elected a board member younger than Hayley and he has done just fine. In fact, now he is seeking a seat as a county commissioner. So, as I said, unless you know Hayley personally, and have first-hand knowledge of her awareness of what it takes to do this, you have no room to criticize her.

  2. Jennifer,

    Thank you for bringing up the issue of age. My candidacy for school board should be strengthened by the fact that I was once a student who was directly affected by the actions of the current board.

    I saw first hand the damage caused to the classroom experience as politicians eroded the professional status of our state’s teachers. I recognized the harm caused as teacher and support staff salaries as well as work environments steadily declined, while, at the same time, administrative salaries were protected.

    I was there when a multimillion dollar contract with a for profit consulting firm was signed, paving the way for onerous micromanaging of our professional educators. Teachers were consistently absent from their classes in order to attend meetings run by consultants who assumed our educators were “Teach for America” novices rather than highly educated and trained professionals. This company has not provided any positive results for our district and is arguably leaving us worse off than when they started.

    I was there when unfair math grading policies were harming students. I lobbied to have this policy changed. It was.

    I stayed involved after graduation, speaking out against using our teachers in a voluntary evaluation tool experiment that inconsistently and unfairly evaluated teachers and resulted in litigation against the district.

    There is nothing inherent in school board leadership that is over any thinking person’s head. What separates one person from another is a moral compass. My moral compass tells me students must be honored, teachers must be valued, and taxpayers must be respected. Budgets should reflect these values.

    Age is but a number, Jennifer. And now I would like to point out that there are multiple typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors in your written comment. Do you believe, simply by virtue of your age, that you are a better writer than every person younger than yourself?

    Maybe you would not have been a good fit on a school board when you were my age, but I’ve been involved in the politics of my school district since the fourth grade. I am ready.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Age shouldn’t be a problem. It’s just a number. I am already a CEO at a mega-company at age 20. Is that a age problem too.

  4. Jackie Jablonski says:

    Here in Ithaca, NY, we have a successful and much respected mayor who was 20 when first elected to city council. You may have seen him on national tv a time or two, now that he’s the youngest mayor in Ithacan history.

    Mayor Myrick’s is just one example showing that successful leadership is not determined by age but by intelligence, dedication, energy, and compassion. Hayley Alderman has all that and more.

    Port Huron Area School District needs her leadership.

  5. Jennifer, I am sad to see as a teacher you have such poor spelling and grammar. Further, it saddens me to see that as an educational professional you take such little regard for your own image you are willing to publicly use “u” rather than “you”. Your lack of spell check use and overall poor use of the English language make people disregard your entire point – which was invalid to begin with. Port Huron needs young leadership with an understanding of what the boards decisions are doing to our students. Hayley is a great candidate and will do an amazing job on the board if elected. Age is nothing more than a number, and while some get wiser with age, others can still make themselves look like fools. Go Hayley, you have a community of support behind you!

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