By Elaine Magliaro
The Associated Press reported last week that Governor Greg Abbott of Texas had tapped Houston Republican Donna Bahorich, a home-schooler, to serve as the new chairwoman of the Texas Board of Education. The AP said that Bahorich’s nomination has to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Texas Senate.
Ryan Poppe of Texas Public Radio said that Abbott is “now being criticized for selecting someone whose own kids have never attended a public school.”
Bahorich’s appointment is being criticized by some education groups as well as by some of her colleagues because all three of her sons were home schooled and later attended a private high school.
Mt. Pleasanton Republican and State Board member-Thomas Ratliff points out, “Public school isn’t for everybody, but when 94-percent of our students in Texas attend public schools I think it ought to be a baseline requirement that the chair of the State Board of Education have at least some experience in that realm, as a parent, teacher, something,”
David Edwards of Raw Story said that the Texas Freedom Network, a watchdog group, warned that Bahorich would “put culture war agendas ahead of educating more than 5 million Texas kids.”
In a statement, Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, said, “If Gov. Abbott wanted to demonstrate that he won’t continue his predecessor’s efforts to politicize and undermine our state’s public schools, this appointment falls far short…The governor has appointed as board chair an ideologue who voted to adopt new textbooks that scholars sharply criticized as distorting American history, who rejected public education for her own family and who supports shifting tax dollars from neighborhood public schools to private and religious schools through vouchers.”
Edwards noted that critics “have become increasingly concerned that Abbott has allowed homeschooling interests to play too large a role in his decision making.”
According to Ryan Poppe, Bahorich said that a lot of “parents just want to have more school choices.” She admitted that “her background on the state board is certainly a non-traditional one”–but argued that “she is as familiar with important issues of the day as any other member of the state board.”
And so it goes. This is just one more story about political ideologues doing their best destroy public education in this country.
Gov. Abbott Appoints Home-School Mom To Chair State Board Of Education (Texas Public Radio)