You’ve probably never heard of NAIS, but you need to know about it. NAIS is the driving force behind the radical racial and gender programming that has captured most K-12 private schools, particularly the elite schools. In coming weeks I will roll out videos and documents shining a light on NAIS’ mischief.
You’ve probably never heard of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), but you need to know about it. NAIS is the driving force behind the radical racial and gender programming that has captured most K-12 private schools (called “independent” schools) across the country, particularly the elite schools that feed higher education, journalism, politics, and government.
I should know, I use to teach math at one of these places before I became a whistleblower. In this post, I will lay out some background about NAIS. And in coming weeks I will roll out videos and documents shining a light on NAIS’ mischief. Read this background below, and stay tuned in coming days and weeks.
The NAIS Nexus
As Aaron Sibarium explained in a major piece last year at The Free Beacon, NAIS dominates all other private school membership associations in power and influence. Through their approval of 25 regional accreditors, the NAIS sets parameters for board decision-making at 1,600 of the top private K-12 schools. A “commitment to equity and justice” is a critical component of their “Principles of Good Practice” (PGPs), which are essential to schools’ missions. After an audit by NAIS’ “Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism” instrument (AIM)–which inevitably identifies deficits around DEI–a network of CRT-based DEI consultants approved in the NAIS marketplace are on call to sell back a bevy of fixes to the school.
These consultants (such as Pollyanna, The Glasgow Group, Perception Institute, and CARLE) can have substantial ties to the trustees at these schools, which seems in violation of the NAIS’ own Trustee’s Guide to Fiduciary Responsibilities.
Connected search firms like Carney Sandoe offer a chance to increase diversity hires, and NAIS sponsored professional development is also available–for teachers and administrators at the People of Color Conference (PoCC), and for administrators and trustees at the NAIS Annual Conference. Carney Sandoe is also sponsors these conferences and draws talent from presenters and attendees.
The Influence of Radical “Thought Leaders”
Conferences like PoCC are a chance to shine for up and coming leaders in the DEI industry. Keynote speakers at these conferences have included prominent figures such as Bettina L. Love (PoCC, 2020), a Professor of at the University of Georgia and “abolitionist educator” who made her anti-capitalist views clear at an interview that same year.
“Destroying capitalism is part of our long term goal” per Bettina Love. She has spoken at #NAIS conferences in the past. Do parents realize this is what #NAIS supports? @ConceptualJames @KoryYeshua @CBradleyThomps1 @realchrisrufo pic.twitter.com/Wk8bhUMJjB
— UNDERCOVER MOTHERS Exposing Private Schools (@UndercoverMoth9) January 31, 2022
Rodney Glasgow, Head of School at Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland as well as President of the Glasgow Group, is one of the founding members and a former chair of NAIS’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). Glasgow was a placement assistant at Carney Sandoe before taking his first school position as a Diversity Coordinator. Last year at the Dalton Conference keynote speech, Glasgow drew an analogy between parents concerned about curriculum in private schools to violent January 6th insurrectionists.
This sample from the latest Dalton Conference keynote speech from @glasgow_rodney of @theglasgowgroup illustrates how high-end DEI practitioners view parent pushback on CRT & Critical Pedagogy in private schools, and what they plan to do about it next year. pic.twitter.com/4pUwjlcfz5
— Paul Rossi (@pauldrossi) July 14, 2021
Promising students who attend the SDLC (which runs concurrently with the PoCC) are groomed to become the next generation of leaders within the DEI industrial complex. Glasgow Group member John Gentile was one such student. Today he is also Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Calhoun School.
Here, a DEI Director describes how he convinces parents to go along with “equity work”. He compares DEI programs to technological innovation & raises the prospect of their children getting expelled from college. #ExposeNAIS https://t.co/uZlVPv6tid
— Paul Rossi (@pauldrossi) February 9, 2022
The actual content changes pushed by this nexus of actors include setting up “affinity spaces,” “library diversity audits,” “anti-racism”/”anti-bias” training, equity grading, and identity-focused curriculum changes to every academic course, including pushing critical gender theory on children using tools like “The GenderBread Person” and the “Gender Unicorn“.
— NAIS (@NAISnetwork) July 1, 2021
The writings of Ibram X. Kendi (Henry Rogers) and Robin DiAngelo have been staples on required summer reading for teachers for years now. Pollyanna’s influential Racial Literacy Curriculum compels children starting in Kindergarten to focus on skin color and racial identity. Much as activists have succeeded in redefining “racism”, children are led to redefine the common meaning of the word “identity” itself. The effect is to reinforce socially imposed identity as the main determinant of a child’s experience.
In addition to these kinds of curriculum changes, one parent shared that, as NAIS influence has grown over the past decades, the individual character and personality of their member schools has dwindled. Her case in point: there used to be a difference between traditional St. Alban’s and progressive Sidwell Friends in Washington D. C. Now they are both cookie cutter woke. According to her, NAIS has rendered all privates the same.
Declining Standards, Cowed Parents, Duped Donors
The upshot of all the interconnected relationships described above is that the much vaunted “independence” of member schools is belied by their dependence on NAIS. Alumni who donate to their alma maters are signing checks based on fond memories, but a radicalized and hollowed out stepchild governed by a “successor ideology” is cashing them in. And enrollment contracts are very clear—parents who organize against any of the practices mentioned above can have their child expelled.
Declining standards are another major concern for Parents Unite and Undercover Mother. As NAIS has been refocusing their priorities away from academic rigor and towards “wellbeing”, “feeling good about yourself”, and “creating a better society”, according to Donna Orem, NAIS President, dropping numbers of National Merit Semifinalists suggest that academic standards are suffering. A major question is, how long can these schools whose brands signify excellence continue down the primrose path of “belonging”, “social transformation”, radical “equity”, and an obsession with “whiteness” and white supremacy at the expense of their core value proposition, all while dividing the student community and creating an intellectual monoculture?
Resource Guides and Handbooks
NAIS also offers a suite of best practices through their resource guides for school trustees, and heads. The book “Hopes and Fears: Working with Today’s Independent School Parents” has many tips for how to keep parents at arm’s length, including training teachers in managing parent relations.
NAIS resource guides tell schools how to cope with meddlesome parents who may have pointed questions about DEI. "Hopes and Fears" suggests training teachers "in parent relations". Parents will trust teachers who put their child's needs over public relations. #ExposeNAIS pic.twitter.com/D3PovlZ5iY
— Paul Rossi (@pauldrossi) February 9, 2022
The book also makes clear that administrations should NOT treat parents as co-equals. Rather the school should assert dominance as the “senior partner” in the relationship with parents, and be willing to sacrifice the former respect, cooperation, trust, and confidence parents had for these schools.
The same handbook blatantly urges administrators to make assumptions about parents based on race, claiming that “colorblindness doesn’t work”, “race is always in the room”, and Black parents specifically “can never fully trust their child’s school”.
NAIS also advises stonewalling any perpetually unsatisfied “5 percenters”, pathologizing them as possibly “mentally ill”. This offers a convenient rationale for humoring or silencing any dissent. As a consequence, parents who persist in asking pointed questions find themselves being pigeonholed.
Parent pushback against the onslaught of critical race and gender theory in public schools continues to gain steam. Groups like Parents Defending Education, No Left Turn in Education, and Moms For Liberty organized to fight against divisive practices have achieved major election victories and legislative changes. While most national media attention focuses on public schools, smaller organizations like Parents Unite and Undercover Mother have been garnering attention as they push for change at the nation’s prestigious privates, called “independent” schools.
So are these nascent organizations pushing back in the private school market having an impact? At their “Diversity of Thought in K-12 Education” conference last October, Parents Unite brought together an A-team of educational thought leaders, lawyers, school choice advocates, concerned parents, dissident teachers (such as myself) and four brave students, to share knowledge and experiences. Undercover Mother continues to expose misdoings at member schools, and the flow of leaks is turning into a torrent. In response, NAIS has had to make multiple edits of their website, scrubbing their pages of almost all of their resources related to the PoCC, after leaked videos shared online exposed teacher training in indoctrination. Twitter removed many of the clips I personally shared after Myra McGovern, NAIS’ Vice President of Media, submitted a complaint, although I maintain they were clearly fair use. It seems we are on NAIS’ radar. And at the most recent PoCC conference, three leaders of SDLC were very aware of the pushback against CRT and reasserted their commitments, albeit rather lamely in this video.
More to Come
We will stay tuned as the fight heats up this spring. This is the first in what will be many stories about the kinds of practices that are common among NAIS schools. I’ll be tracking the progress of parent resistance organizations like Undercover Mother and Parents Unite. I’ll also be sharing more curriculum from schools such as those listed in Legal Insurrection’s Critical Race Training in Education Database, as well as more NAIS teacher training videos, as well as statements of board members. I will also guide readers through how DEI pushes through to the youngest students, show how it is carefully sequenced across all subjects in elementary, middle and high school, and share how these materials impact the well-being of children.
Insiders can email me information at [email protected]
Paul Rossi is a high school mathematics teacher, tutor, and writer. In April 2021, he went public about the impact of Critical Race Theory and pedagogy on his students at Grace Church School, where he had taught since 2012. He is currently an advisor to the Educational Liberty Alliance and a co-host of Chalkboard Heresy (launching soon) Please send tips and stories to [email protected] or DM on Twitter at @pauldrossi.DONATE
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