by Valerie Strauss
When it comes to education, Texas is the state that keeps on giving — and not in a good way.
In 2010, there was tumult over proposed changes to social studies standards by religious conservatives on the State Board of Education, including one that referred to the United States’s slave trade as the “Atlantic triangular trade.” In 2014, the board majority approved new social studies textbooks, some of which were criticized as being inaccurate and biased. And now, Gov. Greg Abbott, has sparked controversy — even among fellow Republicans — with his appointment of a new chair of the Texas Board of Education, which is charged with setting policy and standards for the state’s public schools.
Abbott tapped Donna Bahorich, a Republican from Houston who has been on the board for two years and who home-schooled her three sons before sending them to private schools. They never went to Texas public schools.
Bahorich, a former communications director for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who will succeed outgoing chair Barbara Cargil, was quoted by Texas Public Radio as saying that “my research and my work and my desire and interests have all been in education.” But her appointment is drawing criticism not just from Abbott critics but also from some of Bahorich’s Republican colleagues. Texas Public Radio quoted Thomas Ratliff, a Republican member of the state Board of Education, as saying:
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