Since its publication in 1983, A Nation at Risk has caused several waves and ripples of educational reform. This article puts that report in the context of earlier responses to perceived education crises. One such important response was from the private sector: the New American Schools Development Corporation (NAS). NAS attempted to create, develop, and widely disseminate “break the mold” whole-school designs to improve student achievement in the nation’s schools. Despite a history of mixed results, NAS was influential in changing federal policy to support the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration program (CSRD). Now embedded in the No Child Left Behind legislation, CSRD has private and public sector support for the nation’s continuing attempts to create effective schools. However, the effectiveness of comprehensive school reform at scale in the nation’s highest poverty schools remains an open question.