Kris Nordstrom

Kris Nordstrom

Kris Nordstrom is a Senior Policy Analyst with the North Carolina Justice Center's Education & Law Project. He previously spent nine years with the North Carolina General Assembly’s nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division.

the North Carolina Legislative Building

Senate budget would take education funding to destructive new depths

By: - May 20, 2023

“Fund students, not systems” has become the rallying cry of the country’s most extreme school choice zealots. It’s a silly motto for many reasons. Notably, private schools and public schools are both “systems,” and systems are necessary to efficiently provide students with high quality education serving the public good. Despite the motto’s obvious ridiculousness, it […]

a Bible on a school desk

Proponents of massive school privatization scheme owe us answers

By: - April 25, 2023

If legislative leadership has their way, our public schools will be radically transformed by the 2023 legislative session. Bills targeting Black students and trans students threaten to make our schools increasingly hostile for many children. They are seeking to radically overhaul school funding in ways that harm rural students, students with disabilities, Black students, and […]

Boy in a classroom

House budget proposal falls woefully short of what our students and educators deserve

By: - April 4, 2023

North Carolina’s public schools face many challenges. In November, the Supreme Court ruled that the current level of school funding is so low that it violates the constitutional rights of the state’s 1.5 million public school students. Student performance on state tests is improving but remains below pre-pandemic levels and opportunity gaps have grown. The […]


Why are School Choice Week’s loudest supporters opposed to expanding school choice?

By: - January 24, 2023

School choice week is upon us once again. Groups of lawmakers, advocates, and school leaders will praise General Assembly leadership for dramatically expanding school choice over the past decade. They will thank legislative leaders for increasing the number of charter schools and creating voucher programs that now give families earning over $100,000 per year over […]


Two new reports confirm gross inadequacy of North Carolina’s public school funding

By: - December 15, 2022

North Carolina’s school funding system is among the worst in the nation, according to two new reports from the nation’s leading school finance experts. New reports from the Albert Shanker Institute (ASI) and the Education Law Center (ELC) assess every state’s school funding systems across multiple quality measures. Both reports reach the same conclusion: North […]


Five steps Gov. Cooper can take to ensure the Leandro ruling benefits students for years to come

By: - December 9, 2022

In November, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling in the long-running Leandro court case. By a 4-3 margin, the justices ordered the state to provide our public schools, early education providers, and higher education institutions the funding necessary to implement years two and three of the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. The court ruled that the state continues to violate the constitutional rights of North Carolina’s students to have access to a “sound basic education.”


Let’s hit pause on half-baked teacher performance pay proposal

By: - November 18, 2022

The November 30th State Board of Education meeting will be the most consequential in some time. The Board will determine whether to recommend radically overhauling how to certify and pay the state’s 93,000 teachers. At question is whether the Board will move forward with an ambitious performance pay plan called Pathways to Excellence. The plan […]


Expert report details the high cost of charter schools

By: - November 14, 2022

Retired Duke University professor Sunny Ladd has published an incredibly important and useful paper detailing the high cost of charter schools. “How Charter Schools Undermine Good Education Policymaking” details the ways charter schools undermine four core goals of education policy: Establishing coherent systems of schools Attending to child poverty and disadvantage Limiting racial segregation and […]


North Carolina’s teacher shortage: the inevitable result of the General Assembly’s decade-long effort to degrade the profession

By: - September 30, 2022

While there are many disagreements in education policy, nearly all researchers agree that within the school walls, there’s nothing more important than an excellent teacher. North Carolina’s Supreme Court agrees. In 2004, they established that staffing each classroom with a competent, well-trained teacher is vital to providing students with the “sound basic” education guaranteed under […]


Schools and state health officials should go beyond CDC guidelines to ensure continued access to in-person learning

By: - September 2, 2022

As students returned to school across North Carolina this week, school leaders are facing a daunting challenge: how to academically support students knocked off track by the pandemic while still navigating an ongoing COVID pandemic that puts student and staff health in jeopardy. This critical challenge is heightened by lack of strong guidance from the […]


Alabama is schooling North Carolina on teacher pay

By: - July 7, 2022

Last week, the General Assembly passed a budget that provides teachers with an average nominal raise of a little over 4%. When adjusted for inflation, the average teacher will actually experience a pay cut of about 3.9%. Somehow, this plan earned bipartisan support, with 32 Democrats joining their Republican colleagues to deliver the Governor a […]


Education budget proposal falls short on Leandro and teacher pay

By: - June 29, 2022

Education policy can get awfully complicated. However, state lawmakers will do a pretty good job if they consider just two guiding questions: Do our schools meet the bare minimum standards of what’s required under our state constitution? Are we doing a good job of recruiting and retaining great educators? The answer to the first question […]