The latest installment of our series of interviews with school director candidates across Pennsylvania brings us to the Central Bucks School District.
Aarati Parmar Martino is running for school director in Region 6 of the Central Bucks School District, located in Bucks County. Region 6 covers the majority of Doylestown Borough, including the following voter precincts: the Township Building, Pine Run, the Senior Center, Pebble Hill Church, and Grundy Hall. She is a registered Republican and a software engineer, and she believes her most important job is that of a wife and mother.
Why are you running for school board?
“I am running because I believe academics and not politics should be in charge of shaping the minds and values of our young children. Social media and school closures have damaged our children’s desire to learn. Teachers tell us they have trouble engaging kids. We need to work together to fix this. I am running for school board because I believe we need to focus on academics for all the kids, with parents as partners. This approach helps everyone, is truly educationally inclusive, and keeps the focus on academics, where it belongs.
“Our opponents have created a false narrative that the Central Bucks Forward team is causing chaos, banning books, and discriminating against LGBTQ kids. We aren’t against anyone; we are FOR education. Many good people have been fooled. This negative narrative is sowing negativity and division, which is adding to the anxiety rampant among students.
“I want to get Central Bucks in the news for good reasons, not bad. We can take this learning loss as an opportunity to revamp our curriculum and mold Central Bucks into a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) powerhouse. Technology is not going away, and Bucks County has an abundance of highly skilled and lucrative manufacturing and biotech careers. Did you know Middle Bucks Institute of Technology is currently oversubscribed and has courses in graphic design, networking, and cyber security? I know how to extend our existing curriculum so that our kids learn how to build planetary-scale systems like we do at Google. I successfully taught fourth, fifth, and sixth graders the same search algorithms I learned in my sophomore year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Imagine what a jump these kids will have on the competition in college admissions! I can’t wait to see how they succeed.
“As one of the engineers behind Google Calendar, I know how to deal with large, complex systems. I know how to collaborate with others of different perspectives to come to amicable agreements. I do this every day at my job, and I am good at it.
“I want to take on all the challenges we have to make Central Bucks even better than before. We have a wealth of talent and good people that can put our district on the national map in a positive light. Let’s bring them together to make sure each kid gets a great education that caters to their strengths.”
What are the most important issues facing your district?
“The most important issues facing our district include student learning loss coupled with their increased anxiety and depression. Central Bucks is struggling to hire staff and teachers and retain experienced educators given the economy and morale. I am also concerned with a sexualized agenda being forced on our young children because some clumsily equate support of LGBTQ kids with teaching sexual pleasure.”
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
“I love to build and fix things and make them better. I attended MIT to develop engineering skills and then honed my research skills on complex topics by completing my PhD at Stanford University. At Google, I helped create Google Calendar, a large-scale system that helps millions keep track of their everyday lives. Since then, I have pivoted to privacy and security, where I excel at understanding and then balancing differing perspectives to come to a common solution.
“Ever since I was a high school student tutoring my peers, I have always been interested in helping other kids succeed. I am looking forward to sharing my experience, skills, and contacts from Silicon Valley, local leaders, and academia to help our students achieve their goals.”
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
“No, I haven’t run for office. I am not a political activist, but I got involved in politics as a concerned parent.”
Are you running with other candidates?
What is the most important role of the school board, in your opinion?
“From our own Central Bucks School District handbook, ‘The school board has three basic functions: planning, setting policy, and evaluating results. Among other responsibilities, the school board establishes school district policies; adopts an annual budget and sets the tax rate; approves expenditures, contracts, and personnel actions; adopts an annual school calendar; and approves textbooks and courses of study.’
“I believe the above actions should be taken with an emphasis on listening to parents and teachers, guiding the district with policies that reflect good governance and financial responsibility, and efficiently using our wealth of resources. Let’s create policies that encourage people to work together and help the kids succeed.”
We contacted the Democratic and Republican committees in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties and asked them to share the questions with their school director candidates. Broad + Liberty will post the responses throughout the summer to assist voters in learning about the candidates running in their district. The series is open to any school director on the ballot in November. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty