For years, the Texas Board of Education was led by Don McLeroy, a Creationist who did all he could to dismantle the teaching of proper science in the classroom. It hasn’t gotten any better since he left, with the Board approving textbooks suggesting Moses influenced the writing of the Constitution and other Christian revisionist history.
So when Governor Greg Abbott had to replace evolution-doubter Barbara Cargill, no one was feeling optimistic. But you didn’t think he could do worse.
Looks like he has, appointing Donna Bahorich to the position of Board Chair, even though she’s never sent her own children to a public school. (She home-schooled them before enrolling them in a private school.) Bahorich is the former communications director for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, in case you’re looking for a reason he would’ve picked her.
The consensus seems to be that Texas schoolchildren will remain screwed.
Here’s Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller:
“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. This appointment almost guarantees that the board will continue to put culture war agendas ahead of educating more than 5 million Texas kids.”
Even one prominent Republican didn’t understand the decision:
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,”
You won’t be surprised to learn that Bahorich received a Masters degree from Liberty University, the school founded by the late Jerry Falwell.
This is the person who’s ultimately responsible for decisions that’ll affect children across the state. She’s someone who doesn’t understand science or history and whose own background has little to do with education policy.
But what did you expect Abbott to do? Appoint someone who actually knows what he or she is doing? He doesn’t have that in him. He’d rather screw over millions of teenagers trying to get an education comparable to what kids get in other (more competitive) states than upset his religious base.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Scott for the link)