On March 1, 1962, delegates from the Independent Schools Education Board (ISEB) and the National Council of Independent Schools (NCIS) voted to establish an entity with the name National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). See a timeline of highlights
, or read the articles below for more in-depth looks at NAIS's history.
History of NAIS, 1991-2001August 6, 2006 This memoir of NAIS by former NAIS President Peter D. Relic recalls NAIS's move from Boston to DC and the association's expansion in the areas of government relations and public affairs.
My Years at NAIS: 1978-1991
July 6, 2006 This brief history of NAIS by its second president, John Esty, covers the association's enhanced presence in Washington, DC; NAIS's early commitment to diversity, and the development of the term "independent education."
This history of NAIS between 1974 and 1976 outlines changes to the organization of the NAIS board and discussions about the association's purpose, structure, and services. It was written by Thomas Read, who served as a consultant to the NAIS board during this critical period in the organization's history.
A feature of the 1987 annual conference of NAIS in Boston was the luncheon on February 26 to celebrate the founding of the organization 25 years earlier. 25 years? The record would certainly substantiate that on March 1, 1962, delegates from the Independent Schools Education Board (ISEB) and the National Council of Independent Schools (NCIS) voted at a meeting in New York to establish an entity with the name National Association of Independent Schools.
Since September 11, 2001, it has become a truism to say the world has changed. But when I looked through the stack of Independent School magazines published between 1991 and 2001, I was newly struck by how different things really are in this millennium — for schools as for everyone else. It's more than security concerns and an ongoing war that have changed us. Today, as an English teacher back in the classroom after nearly 30 years away, I see at every moment of my class that the process of teaching and learning — indeed, kids themselves — have been retooled by technology. Yet in the 23 issues of Independent School that I reviewed for this article, technology is discussed infrequently — and there is certainly no premonition that our world will be shaken by terrorism in the 21st century.
Activist Tom Hayden, in a speech to the Cum Laude Society that was reprinted in the magazine in 1979, puts it another way, "The people of the 1970s have learned too much; they are in the shadow of the knowledge of the 1960s."Still, to read back issues of Independent School from the 1970s is to enter a world with its own set of concerns. The Vietnam War would come to a ragged end, Richard Nixon would resign in shame, the U.S. economy would tank, an energy crisis would suddenly erupt, and the lingering distrust for the Establishment — or at least the way the Establishment behaved — forced a deep introspection by the nation and by its schools. If the 1960s were rebellious years, the 1970s were disquieting years — a nation puzzled by where it had just been, and anxious about where it was going.
I've been doing some heavy reading this fall — literally — leafing through the bound volumes of the Independent School Bulletin. The magazine, which would drop "Bulletin" from its name in 1976, began the month before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, becoming the first and, to this day, only magazine focused primarily on precollegiate independent education. What's so striking about the early years is the way these volumes open windows on a school world like and unlike today's, showing us how much we have changed, and how much abides.