The XX Factor

Texas Governor Appoints a Homeschooler to Head State Education Board

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaking in 2015 in Austin.

Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Last week, Texas governor Greg Abbott nominated member Donna Bahorich as the chair of the Texas Board of Education. Bahorich is one of the quieter members of the board, largely going along with the board’s radical right-wing agenda, which has included voting to approve history textbooks that claim Moses helped shape democracy, show sympathy with Joseph McCarthy, and argue country music is culturally relevant but hip-hop is not. 

Now the Texas Freedom Network—a watchdog group that has been fighting creationism, right-wing historical revisionism, and abstinence-only education in the classroom—is raising the alarm about Bahorich’s history of hostility to public education. In their press release, TFN notes that Bahorich went to great lengths to keep her three sons from attending public school; they were first homeschooled, then sent to private and religious schools. Bahorich also voted against a resolution asking the state legislature to reject private-school vouchers. 

It’s not necessarily a problem to take over a school system that you didn’t want educating your kids. It ‘s conceivable that Bahorich felt the schools weren’t high-quality enough and she intended to make them better. But the school board battles that Republicans have been waging in Texas have nothing to do with improving the quality of the state’s public schools. Most of these efforts are about making the education experience less educational, by injecting conservative propaganda into history class and religious dogma into science class. Texas is bent on undermining public schools, not fixing them. This appointment only serves as further proof.