Ybarra rips media coverage of DeVos

Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration’s polarizing education secretary, isn’t getting a fair shake in the media.

That assessment comes from state superintendent Sherri Ybarra, elected after a rocky election in 2014.

“I went through exactly what she’s going through,” Ybarra told Chuck Malloy of Idaho Politics Weekly, in a column posted Monday. “I’ve told my team, ‘Look at her, she’s telling my story almost verbatim.’”

The column revisits some talking points from an Ybarra speech Wednesday. Speaking in Boise at a conference on federal programs — attended by nearly 800 Idaho educators — Ybarra said she came away from recent meetings in Washington, D.C., convinced that DeVos will make good on her commitment to allow states and local districts to chart education policy.

In the column, Ybarra repeats a claim she made Wednesday — as she again downplayed the impact of proposed federal cuts in K-12 spending. “The media talks about programs that are zeroed out of the budget, but what they don’t say is money will be diverted to other areas, while giving schools flexibility to use money for programs that are working,” Ybarra tells Malloy.

But as we reported last week, Ybarra’s math doesn’t hold up.

The Trump administration budget proposes zeroing out two K-12 programs: the $2.4 billion Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, which covers teacher training and initiatives to reduce class sizes; and the $1.2 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which pays for before- and after-school and summer programs. The Trump budget proposes a $1 billion increase in Title I, a federal program that supports low-income students.

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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