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I’ve been writing about education for 30 years, and I’ve never before felt the need to protest a U.S. Secretary of Education. On Friday, I’ll be outside a hotel in Bellevue, where Betsy DeVos will speak at a Washington Policy Center event, with a sign giving DeVos an “F.”

When I graduated from a public, liberal arts college in 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education issued a report called “A Nation at Risk.” That report inspired a generation of teachers, gaining widespread and sustained attention by leading many colleges to improve quality of teacher education.

Since then, educators have made clear, unmitigated civil rights progress in classrooms, by uplifting disadvantaged students, closing the achievement gap, and improving gender equality in scholastics and sports.

DeVos’ ideology will put our national system of public education seriously at risk once again. She backs privatization, calls for vouchers and federal support for charter schools. DeVos aims to rollback Title IX’s protections that prohibit sex discrimination in schools. She’s relaxed oversight of for-profit colleges, and she just doesn’t seem to understand public schools or their innate community value.

Government should nurture the nation’s intellectual capital, not tear it down. I’m protesting against an agenda that would turn back the clock.

Stuart Glascock, Seattle