By A.P. Dillon

With the ESEA Reauthorization looming, Sen. Lamar Alexander has been a central figure. A colleague of mine recently sent me this video of Alexander from 1989. Watch the video, it’s only about 3 minutes long and is an eye-opener.

The video’s description reads:

Lamar Alexander lays out the plan to restructure education at the 11-2-1989 Governors Conference on Education in Wichita, Kansas. The Conference title was “Schools, Goals and the 1990s”. As George Bush, Sr’s Secretary of Education, he implemented education restructuring as America 2000 that specified creation of the New American Schools Development Corporation. He is currently senior Senator from Tennessee and Conference Chair of the Republican Party.

What caught my eye was “New American Schools Development Corporation” and it sent me down a rabbit hole. We’ll use NASDC  to identify New American Schools Development Corporation going forward for the sake of brevity.

NASDC is defunct. Well, sort of. I’ll explain.

I did some Googling and came up with a 1991 C-SPAN video. In the video, it describes NASDC as what now is commonly referred to as a public-private partnership:

“The New American Schools Corporation was created as a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to solicit donations from American businesses for the creation of 535 new experimental schools.”

What happened to those schools, one has to wonder?

I hit the Wayback Machine after coming up empty on finding a website for NASDC. At the Wayback Machine, I located the original site which was started in 1997. The working title for the group was “The New American Schools Network”.

The WayBack Machine’s archive of NASDC included a link to a partner business who did multiple research pieces for NASDC called Rand Corporation. On one lengthy research piece, it should be noted one of the funders was the Ford Corporation.

Of interest are the long list of business ‘contributors‘ for NASDC; many are the same as the ones promoting Common Core.

The list includes IBM’s Lou Gerstner. Gerstner is now Chairman Emeritus of Achieve, Inc. — the outfit who helped write the Common Core. There is a whole other rabbit hole to go down with Gerstner for those who are interested.

I dug a bit further and found that in May of 2004, NASDC merged with another company. That company should be familiar to those fighting Common Core. The company NASDC merged with was The American Institutes for Research or AIR for short.

AIR is now in the high stakes testing world, competing against Pearson in multiple states, including Jeb Bush’s Florida.  In New Mexico, AIR accused officials in the state of bid rigging.

Now, coming full circle, Lamar Alexander’s NASDC merging with AIR is important for another reason. Remember? The Vice President of AIR was selected to oversee the application of ESEA waivers.

AP DillonA.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review,, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.