Justin Parmenter

Justin Parmenter

Veteran Mecklenburg County public school teacher Justin Parmenter comments on education policy at the website Notes from the Chalkboard, which first published this commentary.

the North Carolina Legislative Building

A massive expansion of school vouchers is on tap after Cotham’s switch

By: - April 19, 2023

A Charlotte-area state legislator’s recent decision to switch parties just months after being elected as a Democrat all but assures a massive expansion of North Carolina taxpayer dollars flowing into school vouchers. In addition to increasing funding for vouchers by hundreds of millions of dollars per year, the recently filed bill eliminates income eligibility requirements so that […]


Veteran NC teacher questions Board of Ed chair’s good faith on merit pay plan for teachers

By: - January 3, 2023

If there is anyone involved in the controversial North Carolina teacher merit pay work who should understand the importance of giving teachers a seat at the table when redesigning how they are paid, it’s the chair of the State Board of Education. After all, the last time Eric Davis tried–and failed–to pass merit pay against […]


Speaking of indoctrination, a State Board of Education member wants new social studies standards to teach students that America is great

By: - June 8, 2021

[Editor’s note: This post appeared originally on Parmenter’s website, “Notes from the Chalkboard.” Indoctrination has been a hot topic in North Carolina education policy discussions lately. Last month the NC House of Representatives passed a bill entitled “An Act to Ensure Academic Transparency” which would require teachers to post their lesson plans and details about […]


Teacher to GOP lawmakers: Spare us the sanctimonious talk about the pandemic and public education

By: - December 3, 2020

Two powerful–and outgoing–Republican state legislators slammed the work North Carolina educators are doing to keep learning going during a pandemic at a Tuesday meeting of the General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. Representative Craig Horn, chair of the House K-12 Education Committee and the Education Appropriations Committee, referred to the pandemic as “a disaster […]

New and damning evidence emerges in Department of Public Instruction spying case

By: - February 24, 2020

[Cross-posted from the website Notes from the Chalkboard] New evidence has emerged which substantiates allegations by former Department of Public Instruction director Carolyn Guthrie that her personal text messages were illegally monitored by someone on Superintendent Mark Johnson’s staff more than a year after her retirement in 2017. A screenshot of Guthrie’s FindMy app taken […]

Allegations of electronic eavesdropping at Department of Public Instruction deserve to be taken seriously

By: - February 5, 2020

Allegations are swirling that unknown persons at the Department of Public Instruction intentionally monitored personal text messages of a retired director.  If true, the activity could constitute a violation of North Carolina’s statute governing interception of electronic communication.


Leandro report: Principal pay plan harms high-need schools

By: - December 16, 2019

This week, the much-anticipated Leandro report by WestEd was finally made public. The report is the result of a comprehensive, year-long study by non-partisan education consultants appointed by North Carolina’s courts to take a systematic look at whether the state is living up to its constitutional mandate to provide a “sound basic education” to each child. It […]


N.C. GOP official disputes account of suffering teacher, gets dunked on by Rep. Deb Butler

By: - November 20, 2019

(Note: This post originally published Wednesday morning on the “Notes from the Chalkboard” blog, which is maintained by Charlotte teacher and K-12 activist Justin Parmenter.) After the N.C. Republican Party Communications Director questioned the veracity of her account of a public school teacher not having enough money for food and gas, Representative Deb “I Will Not […]

Teacher: 100 days in, Superintendent Mark Johnson still hasn’t turned over my public records request

By: - November 6, 2019

Today marks 100 days since I filed an official request with the Department of Public Instruction to release records of communication related to NC Superintendent Mark Johnson’s Istation contract award. North Carolina public records law deems such records “property of the people,” and continued failure to furnish them may amount to a violation of state law.

DPI documents call into question Superintendent Johnson’s claims about reading screener controversy

By: - July 15, 2019

Last week the NC Department of Public Instruction finally released information related to the procurement process which ended with Superintendent Mark Johnson unilaterally awarding a 3 year, multimillion dollar contract for North Carolina’s K-3 diagnostic reading assessment to Istation. Both Johnson and DPI Communications Director Graham Wilson had previously claimed that the evaluation committee assembled in the fall of 2018 to inform the decision had failed to come to a consensus or make a recommendation.  The records provided by DPI show those claims are absolutely false.

After outcry, Superintendent Mark Johnson tries to put a lid on reading program controversy

By: - June 25, 2019

Last week I published a blog post detailing how NC Superintendent Mark Johnson ignored the recommendation of a committee of educators and made the unilateral decision to award the contract for a K-3 reading screener to a company called Istation. According former DPI employee Amy Jablonski, who headed the evaluation committee, Johnson’s selection of Istation disregarded the Request for Purchase (RFP) evaluation team’s advice that North Carolina schools should continue using the mClass screener which has been in place since 2013.  The change means moving from a model in which children read one-on-one with their teacher to one where their interaction is with a computer.


NC needs to dramatically expand early childhood education…the genuine kind

By: - June 11, 2019

[Cross-posted from the blog of veteran North Carolina educator Justin Parmenter, Notes from the Chalkboard.] As members of the North Carolina House and Senate huddle behind closed doors to hash out a budget compromise which may well include a controversial online Pre-K pilot, a new report by the non-partisan Program Evaluation Division of the North […]