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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Schools chief hopefuls outline differences…

The first question posed to the two candidates for state schools superintendent was about the main philosophical difference between them. Republican Sherri Ybarra responded, “My proven method of address the whole child is a method of just individualizing education and paying attention to the unique needs of our students. What that means is I will be the conservative leader who believes in not just naming the problem but getting in there and finding it, and then maintaining a focus on a vision for the future, laying out that plan,” and making sure “every day what you are doing in education is that plan. Focusing on moving forward. Adequate funding, stretch the dollar that you have, empower districts to do what they need to do. Maintain a focus on your vision and your plan and live it every single day.”

Democrat Jana Jones responded, “In Idaho, we’ve been working very hard to individualize since at least the 1980s, to individualize for all kids in our schools. It’s a good thing that we need to do. But we need to do more.” She said, “Make sure that the things we’re doing in our classrooms are research-based, best for our kids.” Jones also called for enhancing local control, “because our districts in our state are so uniquely different. … So it’s really important that we have a state superintendent who understands those concepts, has the broad perspective of a statewide approach, not a single-district approach, and that we can take that philosophy remove the strings that are binding the hands of our state’s local boards, give them the opportunity to make the decisions that are right for their schools, their communities, and not have a top-down approach that we’ve been living under for the last eight years.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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