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Why I am running for the Board of Education

Edison Hatter
Candidate for Frederick County School Board

(1/2018) My name is Edison Hatter, I am an eighteen-year-old senior at Catoctin High School, and I am the first candidate to file for the 2018 Frederick County Board of Education election. I have often been asked to explain my reasons for running and it is a question that I enjoy reflecting on. My original desire to become involved with the Board of Education was sparked just over a year ago when I had the opportunity to run for the Student Member position on the board. Despite not winning the election, I learned a lot about the board and the role that they played in the school system. I also had the opportunity to travel around the county and interact with students and teachers of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. As a result of this experience, I was inspired to explore the possibility of running for the board in the 2018 gubernatorial elections.

I have received mixed support from both family and friends. While some were completely on board with the idea, some had some concerns about my age, experience, and time management. The concerns I heard were very important to me and I explored each of them before I officially filed for the election.

I found that my answer to the age and experience concern was essentially the same. Competence is competence and knowledge is knowledge, regardless of whether it comes from an eighteen-year-old or a 50-year-old. Over the past few years, I have researched the Frederick County Public School system extensively to learn as much as I could. At the end of the day, I am confident that when the Board of Education debates come around, I will be able to demonstrate that I am as legitimate of a candidate as anyone else. As for the time management question, I admit that it will be difficult to manage my commitments to school, the Board of Education, and other responsibilities. At this point, I have only applied to the University of Maryland. If that is where I end up going, I should have little trouble getting back to Frederick for Board functions. As most events occur on Wednesdays, I plan on ensuring that I donít have any classes that will conflict with these meetings. At the end of the day, even more mature members on the board have to balance their time to ensure they can attend all board functions. Just because I am younger doesnít mean my time management will be different than any other member currently serving on the board.

I have had the privilege of working with many amazing students in the county over the years. I volunteer in the Kindergarten department at Mother Seton School, Iím coaching a third to fifth grade girlís basketball team, Iíve spent time at Thurmont Middle School helping with Math day, and I spend time with high school students at Catoctin every day. While running for the Student Member position on the board, I created a cabinet composed of one student from each of the ten high schools in the county. Through them, I was introduced to so many incredible students and teachers all over the county. They are the reason why I am running for the Board of Education. I have personally witnessed the flaws of the Frederick County Public School system and I want the opportunity to solve them. While there are many issues that I find to be very important, the top two that I will base my platform on are class size and standardized testing. Class sizes are growing all around the county at an alarming rate. It is very disappointing that the board didnít seriously consider a plan last year to decrease class size by hiring more staff. Standardized testing is another major issue in the county. Our middle school students take over twenty standardized tests a year on average, while our high school students are required to take dozens of benchmark exams. Even our preschool students take six standardized tests on average. Standardized testing is a state level issue and my hope is to have the Frederick County Board of Education make a presentation concerning standardized testing to the State Board of Education.

Over the upcoming six months, I will be discussing my thoughts on important issues in the school system. Next monthís topic will be class size and number of faculty members in each school. Additionally, I will be holding a number of fundraisers in the coming months. The first one is tentatively scheduled for the middle of January. Follow @HatterForBOE on Twitter to keep up with my campaign.

Read other articles by Edison Hatter