The rightwing-funded Black Alliance for Educational Options is closing its doors. It was launched by Howard Fuller, who was superintendent of Milwaukee public schools in 2000. Fuller was radicalized by his inability to change the system and formed an alliance with the far-right Bradley Foundation, which funded vouchers and wanted to privatize public education. Over the years, BAEO has been funded by white conservative foundations including the Walton Foundation.

BAEO Sought to persuade African Americans that school choice, charters, and vouchers, and privatization were in their interest.

Southern legislatures, controlled by conservative white men, liked BAEO’s ideas.

Education Week credits BAEO with getting Alabama and Mississippi to pass charter laws, and Louisiana and D.C. to pass voucher legislation.

White segregationists embrace school choice readily, as they have wanted it since 1954. Fuller pushed on an open door. Now southern states can fund segregated schools and do it with a clear conscience. Sort of.

Fuller no doubt was following his conscience, but it would be better if he had done it without all that rightwing money.

In the era of Trump and DeVos, it is difficult to play the role of a progressive when their agenda and yours are the same. Especially when the NAACP is speaking out against charters and privatization.

In a related story, the former chairman of the BAEO board Kevin Chavous has been named president of K12 Inc.s Academics, Policy, and Schools. K12 Inc. was founded by junk bond king Michael Milken and his brother Lowell and is the nation’s largest virtual online charter corporation. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Its schools have been notable for high attrition rates, low test scores, and low graduation rates. The NCAA withdrew accreditation from two dozen K12 schools a few years ago because of their poor quality. This is a choice strongly supported by DeVos. K12 Inc. is also known for paying lavish compensation, desite its poor academic results.