Community Voice or Captive of the Right? A Closer Look at the Black Alliance for Educational Options

A report by People For the American Way Foundation, December 2001

In December 2001, People For the American Way Foundation examined the short history of a new group called the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). BAEO seemed to come out of nowhere with a series of compelling television ads featuring African-American parents talking about the importance of school choice to them and their children. Behind the advertising was a handful of wealthy right-wing foundations and individuals who have funded the school voucher movement for decades.

Less than two years later, the money keeps coming in to BAEO, but the substance has not changed. BAEO has established itself as one of the top promoters of the right-wing’s school voucher agenda, even landing a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to promote the White House’s education initiatives.

This updated report provides an overview of BAEO’s place in the voucher movement, examining its promotion of vouchers, the affiliations of its leaders and board of directors, and the history of its funders. People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation have produced other reports analyzing existing voucher programs and documenting their failure to address the needs of low-income children.

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