BAEO Communication Office|News Release
Mar 4, 2010


 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) — More than 500 Black educators, activists, advocates, parents, youth and religious, political and civil rights leaders will attend the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) during Symposium 2010, the Annual Meeting of the organization, in Milwaukee on March 4-6.

Since 2000, BAEO has been at the vanguard of the national parental choice movement to empower parents, expand educational options and ensure that low-income and working class Black families are empowered to choose where they want their children to be educated.

This year’s Symposium host is the Milwaukee Chapter of BAEO (MCBAEO) under the leadership and direction of Dr. Deborah McGriff, MCBAEO Board Chair and Chair of the Symposium Planning Committee. Milwaukee was authorized as BAEO’s first chapter in 2001. 

According to incoming Chair of the Board Kevin P. Chavous, “it is only fitting that we have our 10th anniversary celebration where the first Symposium was held, Milwaukee.”

“A Decade of Progress … The Struggle Continues,” will showcase 10 years of the organization’s achievements and will re-energize parental choice supporters to continue the fight to protect, expand and enact new parental choice policies and programs to ensure high quality educational options for Black children across the nation.

“Through the years our focus, actions and overall philosophy have remained the same,” said Dr. Howard Fuller, BAEO out-going Board Chair and former Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent. “Our work is not done yet because not every Black child in America has an opportunity to attend a high quality school of their choice.”

“Symposium is a time we inspire, inform and empower those in the battle for parental choice to continue to fight for high quality education options for Black families,” said McGriff.

Participants will visit public and private high performing schools and strategize with local and national educational reform leaders on improving the quality of education for Black children.

General sessions and workshops will focus on BAEO’s priorities that include: the role of emerging leaders in the movement, mobilization, Black male academic and career success and instructional strategies for teachers that will help close the achievement gap and improve student outcomes.

Presenters will include: new BAEO President Kenneth Campbell, a founding board member and current Director of Charter Schools for the Louisiana Department of Education; Ebony Lee from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and a special book signing by Tonya Hegamin, winner of the Ezra Jack Keates Award for her children’s book, Most Loved in All the World. She will be signing copies of her books: Most Loved In All the World and Pemba’s Song, a young adult book, co-authored with Marilynn Nelson. Symposium 2010 will culminate with a keynote address by Fuller.

The First Symposium
The first Symposium was held in March 1999. It was sponsored by Fuller’s Institute for the Transformation of Learning (ITL) at Marquette University. That meeting drew more than 150 activists and parents from around the country to discuss education options. Fifty dedicated and committed Black people held a follow up meeting in Washington, D.C., in December 1999, and officially organized BAEO with the express intent of advancing the school choice movement. The organization was officially launched with a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on August 24, 2000.

BAEO founders include Howard Fuller; Deborah McGriff; Pastor John McVicker of Christ the King Baptist Church in Milwaukee; Washington D.C. Parent Choice Advocate Virginia Walden-Ford; Philadelphia State Rep. Dwight Evans and several other prominent Black educators, elected officials and civil rights activists.  The organization received start-up funding from the Walton Family Foundation.

BAEO is a national, non-profit, membership organization with members nationwide. BAEO’s mission is to increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting parental choice policies and programs that empower low-income and working-class Black families. For more information on BAEO visit