Where in the world is Sherri Ybarra?

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivered a fiery, feisty speech before a friendly crowd of school reform advocates Thursday.

And one of the 1,100 people attending the National Summit on School Reform is Idaho state superintendent Sherri Ybarra.

Ybarra is at the Nashville, Tenn., summit, hosted by Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate, who founded the Florida-based Foundation for Excellence in Education. To chronicle Ybarra’s presence at the summit, the State Department of Education posted an Ybarra-Bush photo on its Facebook page.

As for DeVos’ speech, Chalkbeat Tennessee writer Marta W. Aldrich has full coverage. Click here for the full story.

A few highlights:

  • Invoking “A Nation At Risk,” the 1983 Education Department report on U.S. schools, DeVos bemoaned the fact that nations such as China, Vietnam, Germany and the United Kingdom are outpacing American students on test scores. “We are a nation still at risk. We are a nation at greater risk.”
  • On school choice, one of her pet issues, DeVos said, “Millions of kids today, right now, are trapped in schools that are failing them. … Millions more are stuck in schools that are not meeting their individual needs. And their parents have no options, no choices, no way out.”
  • DeVos also advocated for the tax overhaul bill now working its way through Congress. The House has passed a version of the plan; the Senate version could come up for a vote Friday.

Ybarra was not the only Idaho political official at this week’s summit, SDE spokeswoman Kris Rodine said Friday. Attendees included Senate Education Committee Chairman Dean Mortimer; House Education Committee Chairwoman Julie VanOrden; Reps. Maxine Bell and Wendy Horman, members of the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriation Committee; Marilyn Whitney, Gov. Butch Otter’s education aide; and State Board of Education member Debbie Critchfield.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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