A Special Announcement from BAEO!
Last year, the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) launched the Social Innovation Challenge (SIC), with the objective of identifying a disruptive, revolutionary idea and investing $500,000 to transform this idea into the next iteration of BAEO or an entirely different Black-led national advocacy organization to carry out BAEO's unique mission.
Many good ideas came forth, and many promising leaders presented constructive and positive visions for what was possible to help low-income and working-class Black families seeking high quality educational options for their children. The SIC work to evaluate the 122 entries was formidable.
The Committee was guided by the high standards set by BAEO's Board of Directors. A rubric was used to evaluate each application, with particular emphasis on the following: 1) the idea had to be national in scope; 2) the action plan had to be fully operational with proven leadership capacity starting day one; and 3) the idea/action plan had to demonstrate a convincing vision, theory of change and implementation strategy, including a two-year budget and a clear plan for achieving financial sustainability beyond the initial $500,000 investment. All of the criteria considered by the Committee became even more critical in the wake of recent changes in the national political landscape that are creating new challenges and opportunities for achieving the mission of BAEO. Upon completion of the comprehensive evaluation process, the SIC selection committee determined that no single entry met all of the high standards and criteria set forth by BAEO's Board.
While the SIC process did not produce a revolutionary or transformative idea, two critical and important takeaways did surface from the process: 1) BAEO is a leading voice and moral authority representing low-income and working-class Black families and children in the education reform space, and 2) BAEO has the base of support and networks that could be leveraged to advantage and be extremely influential in today's education reform environment.
BAEO stands by its commitment to seek and support the next iteration of BAEO. It also stands equally and fully committed to ensuring, to the best of its ability, that the next iteration of BAEO is set up for success. We believe to fail in this duty of care, is to fail the families and children we serve.
Therefore, given the results of the SIC, the new national and local political landscape impacting education reform, and reaffirmation of BAEO's value and standing in the education reform community, BAEO will continue its national activities while exploring options to recalibrate the organization to effectively respond to and support policies and activities aligned with its mission.
To this end, BAEO will begin immediately to reach out to the national and local educational leaders, community-based parent leaders, parents, students, elected officials, education reform activists and invested donors to discuss how BAEO can best leverage its standing and assets to fulfill its unique mission as the sole Black-led national education reform advocacy organization wholly committed to increase access to high-quality education options for Black children by actively supporting transformational education reform initiatives and parental choice policies that empower low-income and working-class Black families.