A protest launched by a statewide nonprofit devoted to racial and social equity in Washington's public schools will greet US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Friday in Bellevue, where she is speaking at the right-wing thinktank Washington Policy Center's annual dinner.
The Equity in Education Coalition started organizing for the event on Facebook nearly two months ago, but has since grown its support to include backers like Fuse Washington, the largest progressive advocacy group in the state, the AFL-CIO, the Washington Education Association, the state Democratic party, the Seattle King County NAACP, OneAmerica, the Faith Action Network, the Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees, and Communities of Color, and more. More than 800 people have signed up on Facebook to attend.
Organizers of the protest have taken issue with DeVos's advocacy for privatizing public education through charter schools and private school vouchers offered to public school families. Last month, DeVos also reversed Obama-era guidelines on campus sexual assault, making it more difficult to hold accused perpetrators accountable. The University of Washington has said it will not ease its own campus sexual assault rules, but Democratic state legislators have promised a fight if publicly-funded universities are made to adopt DeVos's attitude toward sexual assault.