Non-profit

National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

NAIS logo (link) by NAIS is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 (link)
Website:

www.nais.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

04-2104741

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $20,502,388
Expenses: $19,590,188
Assets: $49,161,682

Formation:

1962

Type:

Private school association

President:

Donna Orem

National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is an association of private K-12 schools and accreditation organizations servicing private K-12 schools. As of February 2022, NAIS has 1,629 members throughout the United States and abroad that serve almost 700,000 students and employ more than 60,000 teachers. [1]

NAIS’s promotion of critical race theory-aligned diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies in private schools have been criticized as left-of-center ideological promotion and heavy-handed tactics, with critics likening NAIS to a “cartel.” [2]

Policy Positions

National Association of Independent Schools supports more generous tax credits for charitable donations. Such policies would incentivize donations to many private schools that have 501(c)(3) status and accept tax-deductible donations. [3]

NAIS supports policies that limit government oversight over independent private schools, including the use of standardized testing to evaluate schools and the application of state and federal standards. [4]

NAIS supports the implementation of tax credits or other benefits to parents who enroll their children in independent private schools. Such benefits could extend to charitable donations to establish scholarships for students attending independent private schools. [5]

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

According to the right-of-center Washington Free Beacon, the National Association of Independent Schools promotes critical race theory-aligned diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in private schools throughout the United States. The report alleged that NAIS enforced DEI standards among its members and certified accrediting agencies. The Beacon claimed that in its periodic evaluations of schools, NAIS consistently recommends enhancing DEI measures, including hiring diversity administrators, attending DEI conferences, and hiring DEI consultants, regardless of how much effort schools have already put into DEI. [6]

Principles of Good Practice

NAIS promotes Principles of Good Practices (PGPs) among its private school members. Failure to comply with these PGPs can result in revoked accreditation for independent schools. [7] One category of PGPs is “Equity and Justice,” which include: [8]

“The board of trustees and the head of school articulate strategic goals and objectives that promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice in the life of the school.” [9]

“The school develops meaningful requirements for cross-cultural competency and provides training and support for all members of its community, including the board of trustees, parents, students, and all school personnel.” [10]

“The school uses inclusive language in all written, electronic, and oral communication.” [11]

Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism

For more than a decade, NAIS has provided Assessments of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIMs) to its member schools. AIM uses on-site investigators to collect data and conduct surveys of teachers, administrators, and students to evaluate the “inclusivity” of schools. According to a former teacher turned whistleblower, AIMs “inevitably” judge schools to be insufficiently inclusive and recommend restructuring and the retaining of DEI consulting services. [12] [13]

Consultants

NAIS members often hire DEI consultants after receiving negative evaluations from NAIS. Consulting groups such as Pollyanna, the Glasgow Group, the Perception Institute, and CARLE pay NAIS to advertise their services on the NAIS Community Market. [14] [15]

NAIS Online Magazine

NAIS’s online magazine often has articles that advocate for far-left ideological goals. One article supported the creation of race-based affinity groups for children as young as three years old. [16] However, administrators at the Fieldston School, a New York-based member of NAIS, prohibited students from establishing a Jewish student group. Another article condemns the leadership of white individuals in DEI initiatives because they inadvertently “[center] whiteness” which risks “[preserving] white innocence, and [denying] the full humanity of Black, Indigenous, and people of color.” [17] [18]

NAIS publishes handbooks that include DEI principles. One handbook, Hopes and Fears: Working with Today’s Independent School Parents, tells parents that racial color blindness “doesn’t work,” that black parents “can never fully trust their child’s predominantly white school,” that schools should seek to become “senior partners” to parents in guiding their children, and that 5 percent of parents will reject all guidance from schools because they are beyond reason, possibly due to mental illness. [19]

Seminars and Conferences

NAIS holds an annual “People of Color Conference.” Attendance of the conference by school administrators yields positive commendations from NAIS evaluations. [20]

NAIS holds an annual Diversity Leadership Institute seminar led by diversity officers from prestigious private schools. Attending the six-day event costs $2,500-$2,750 for members and $3,250-$3,550 for non-members. [21]

NAIS holds an annual Inclusive School Network Institute seminar focused on enhancing gender inclusion at schools. Attending the five-day online event costs $1,210-$1,415 for members and $1,730-$2,025 for non-members. [22]

Criticism

National Association of Independent Schools’ pressure for its members to adopt left-progressive diversity, equity, and inclusion activities has prompted backlash among parents. The Washington Free Beacon found numerous parents who have organized against NAIS in prestigious private schools, like the Dalton School in Manhattan. One parent said of NAIS, “The association is a cartel … You think you have a choice but you don’t.” [23] Organized groups opposing NAIS include Parents Defending Education, No Left Turn in Education, Moms for Liberty, Parents Unite, and Undercover Mother. [24]

According to the Beacon, opposition to NAIS is more popular than it seems, but many parents are afraid to openly oppose the organization out of concerns they might jeopardize their children’s educations and college admissions. Some schools claim that arguing against DEI policies constitutes a violation of enrollment contracts. In 2021, three students were expelled from the Columbus Academy, an Ohio-based NAIS member, due to their parents’ criticism of critical race theory-inspired curricula. [25]

Lobbying

The National Association of Independent Schools occasionally engages in lobbying. In 2009, NAIS spent $10,000 on lobbying. In 2020, NAIS spent $80,000. [26]

References

  1. “About NAIS.” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/about/about-nais/. ^
  2. Sibarium, Aaron. “Why Private Schools Have Gone Woke.” Washington Free Beacon. July 28, 2021. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/culture/why-private-schools-have-gone-woke/. ^
  3. “Public Policy Position on Charitable Giving.” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/about/nais-public-policy-positions/public-policy-position-charitable-giving/. ^
  4. “Public Policy Position on Educational Accountability.” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/about/nais-public-policy-positions/public-policy-position-on-educational-accountabili/. ^
  5. “Public Policy Position on Educational Access and Accountability.” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/about/nais-public-policy-positions/public-policy-position-on-educational-access-and-a/. ^
  6. [1] Sibarium, Aaron. “Why Private Schools Have Gone Woke.” Washington Free Beacon. July 28, 2021. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/culture/why-private-schools-have-gone-woke/. ^
  7. Sibarium, Aaron. “Why Private Schools Have Gone Woke.” Washington Free Beacon. July 28, 2021. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/culture/why-private-schools-have-gone-woke/. ^
  8. “Principles of Good Practice – Equity and Justice.” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/learn/principles-of-good-practice/equity-and-justice/. ^
  9. “Principles of Good Practice – Equity and Justice.” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/learn/principles-of-good-practice/equity-and-justice/. ^
  10. “Principles of Good Practice – Equity and Justice.” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/learn/principles-of-good-practice/equity-and-justice/. ^
  11. “Principles of Good Practice – Equity and Justice.” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/learn/principles-of-good-practice/equity-and-justice/. ^
  12. “Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM).” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/analyze/assessment-of-inclusivity-and-multiculturalism/. ^
  13. Rossi, Paul. “Project Launch: Unmasking National Association of Independent Schools.” Legal Insurrection. February 9, 2022. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://legalinsurrection.com/2022/02/project-launch-unmasking-national-association-of-independent-schools/. ^
  14. Sibarium, Aaron. “Why Private Schools Have Gone Woke.” Washington Free Beacon. July 28, 2021. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/culture/why-private-schools-have-gone-woke/. ^
  15. Rossi, Paul. “Project Launch: Unmasking National Association of Independent Schools.” Legal Insurrection. February 9, 2022. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://legalinsurrection.com/2022/02/project-launch-unmasking-national-association-of-independent-schools/. ^
  16. Connor, Shanon L.; Parsons, Julie. “Loving the Skin They’re In: Race-Based Affinity Groups for the Youngest Learners.” National Association of Independent Schools. August 18, 2020. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20210701003717/https://www.nais.org/learn/independent-ideas/august-2020/loving-the-skin-theyre-in-race-based-affinity-groups-for-the-youngest-learners/. ^
  17. Barton, Nimisha. “Online Exclusive: No Time for Healing: Decentering Whiteness in Multiracial Community Dialogues.” National Association of Independent Schools. Winter 2021. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20210317141454/https://www.nais.org/magazine/independent-school/winter-2021/online-exclusive/. ^
  18. Sibarium, Aaron. “Why Private Schools Have Gone Woke.” Washington Free Beacon. July 28, 2021. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/culture/why-private-schools-have-gone-woke/. ^
  19. Rossi, Paul. “Project Launch: Unmasking National Association of Independent Schools.” Legal Insurrection. February 9, 2022. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://legalinsurrection.com/2022/02/project-launch-unmasking-national-association-of-independent-schools/. ^
  20. Sibarium, Aaron. “Why Private Schools Have Gone Woke.” Washington Free Beacon. July 28, 2021. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/culture/why-private-schools-have-gone-woke/. ^
  21. “NAIS Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI).” National Association of Independent Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://nais.org/participate/institutes-workshops/diversity-leadership-institute/. ^
  22. “NAIS Inclusive Schools Network Institute (ISNI).” National Association of Schools. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.nais.org/participate/institutes-workshops/inclusive-schools-network-institute/. ^
  23. Sibarium, Aaron. “Why Private Schools Have Gone Woke.” The Washington Free Beacon. July 28, 2021. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/culture/why-private-schools-have-gone-woke/. ^
  24. Rossi, Paul. “Project Launch: Unmasking National Association of Independent Schools.” Legal Insurrection. February 9, 2022. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://legalinsurrection.com/2022/02/project-launch-unmasking-national-association-of-independent-schools/. ^
  25. Sibarium, Aaron. “Why Private Schools Have Gone Woke.” The Washington Free Beacon. July 28, 2021. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/culture/why-private-schools-have-gone-woke/. ^
  26. “Client Profile: National Assn of Independent Schools.” Open Secrets. Accessed February 19, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?cycle=2021&id=D000054151. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 1963

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Jun Form 990 $20,502,388 $19,590,188 $49,161,682 $10,912,790 Y $42,500 $19,372,841 $1,087,047 $1,509,561 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $19,465,530 $19,015,572 $47,153,478 $10,346,386 Y $75,000 $18,578,634 $811,896 $1,368,772 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $34,328,504 $23,676,454 $43,189,767 $7,157,146 Y $237,500 $25,336,553 $504,611 $1,752,454 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $24,994,483 $22,262,024 $34,180,903 $9,599,641 Y $37,500 $24,623,635 $332,348 $1,508,758 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $23,173,424 $21,861,466 $31,753,056 $9,671,232 Y $37,500 $22,872,492 $258,769 $1,622,024 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $21,724,577 $21,259,469 $30,907,505 $9,926,577 Y $25,000 $21,446,719 $252,358 $1,384,061 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $21,810,548 $20,697,513 $24,827,493 $5,562,892 Y $75,000 $21,456,665 $278,023 $1,319,907 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $21,249,873 $19,322,303 $25,453,624 $7,907,690 Y $141,400 $20,848,454 $258,069 $1,268,699 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $19,979,441 $18,047,887 $20,189,410 $4,171,374 Y $111,250 $19,626,227 $241,764 $1,415,470 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

    1129 20TH ST NW STE 800
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-3425