#Donna Bahorich was appointed to chair the State Board of Education by Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2015. Since then, Donna has led the SBOE to make significant and tangible changes to improve outcomes for public school children across the state of Texas.
She started with a very basic premise: No policy, no matter how well-intended, nor how many experts vet it, works without winning the confidence of those it affects. Donna believes the vital first step is making sure educators and the public are involved early and their opinions valued.
- launched a series of community conversations and a large online survey (27,000+ responders) to involve educators, parents and business leaders all over Texas by providing public feedback to help shape the future of state testing and school accountability
- ensured that curriculum standards are online to review and evaluate during the revision process to inform and involve more educators and the public across the state in helping shape the essential knowledge expectations used to teach our children, crucial to achieving better standards, more buy-in and greater effectiveness in teaching Texas standards in the classroom
- worked to change SBOE rules now in effect to require publishers to provide a public portal to invite broad input during the review period before textbook adoption, vital to error-free classroom content
- initiated series of roundtables— titled “Educating the Digital Generation,” “Educating the Children of Poverty,” and “Recruiting, Preparing and Retaining Top Teachers”— to discuss critical issues in Texas education, bringing together national and state experts and practitioners to inform and support policy makers and education leadership
- worked with school district technology experts and the Texas Education Agency to ensure that Texas is the first state to require publishers to use Texas own digitized curriculum standards – an open source, standardized technical language requirement will improve the accessibility and usability of digital curriculum for both teachers and students
- partnered with fellow SBOE members to request that the College Board revise the latest AP US History course to include a more accurate, balanced view of US history to make sure our best and brightest students understand the value of and sacrifices made for the greatest nation on earth (The College Board agreed and revised the national course!)
- drove an effort on the Board to make sure a course for Texas students to understand and manage their personal finances had the critical content needed for real life while also earning a math credit
- spearheaded efforts now in SBOE rule to require Texas school districts provide the opportunity for all high school students to take courses in computer coding, encouraging our students to seek in-demand jobs in an increasingly tech-oriented economy
The legacy Donna wants to leave is one of effectiveness in leadership: increasing the quality of standards and textbooks, transparency and inclusion. That means, of course, she can’t do it without you.