Texas Take: Nov. 18, 2015 – Houston Chronicle

“I think she’s the best chair I’ve served under,” Ratliff, a Republican from Pleasant Valley, said of Bahorich, calling his previous statements a “temper tantrum.” He tweeted as much in July, he added.


He said he thinks Bahorich, R-Houston, is continuing to shift the board away from its troubled past of infighting and political squabbles. This week, he pointed out, the board spent an entire day discussing how to improve instructional materials as more and more school districts shift from textbooks to digital products.


ON THE AGENDA: On Wednesday, outgoing Commissioner of Education Michael Williams will speak, and Ratliff could introduce an agenda item to require the board to consider more vetting of textbooks before they go into use. Never far from controversy, the instructional materials the board chose again came under fire this year after the mother of a high school freshmen from Katy saw a passage in her son’s McGraw-Hill textbook which referred to African slaves as “workers.” The online version of the McGraw-Hill book was later changed.


Some board members believe those who oversee the textbook adoption process are forced to spend too much time ensuring they adhere to the state’s education standards, called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and not enough time ensuring the content is accurate.


State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff has had a change of heart. After saying he was reconsidering leaving the boardbecause he doubted the new chair Donna Bahorich, a homeschooling champion Gov. Greg Abbott named to the board in June, Ratliff says he was wrong.