Gov. Abbott Appoints Home-School Mom To Chair State Board Of Education

Jun 19, 2015

Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed a person to lead the State Board of Education during his time in office.   But he’s now being criticized for selecting someone whose own kids have never attended a public school.

Newly appointed State Board of Education Chair Donna Bahorich
Credit Texas Education Agency

For the last two years Houston Republican Donna Bahorich served as a member of the State Board of Education.  Before that she worked for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s previous state senate campaign, and she was one his top choices when asked who should succeed outgoing chair Barbara Cargil.

“My research and my work and my desire and interests have all been in education, so when there was an opportunity for me to run for office it seems like such a natural fit for me because of my intense interest in this area and because of the relationships I had formed while serving in then-Senator Patrick’s office, Bahorich said.

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. Pleasant 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,”

Bahorich says a lot of parents just want to have more school choices.  And she admits her background on the state board is certainly a non-traditional one.  But she argues that she is as familiar with important issues of the day as any other member of the state board.

One of Bahorich first initiatives will be to have a roundtable discussion with textbook publishers about their vision for the future and how to possibly reduce the cost of classroom content.