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.


National experts highlight how much tax cuts for the wealthy have cost NC schools

By: - January 14, 2021

Two new reports from researchers at the Education Law Center document the extent to which North Carolina’s legislative leaders have shifted state resources out of our schools, and into the pockets of their wealthy benefactors. The first report, Making the Grade 2020, provides an important snapshot comparing school funding in North Carolina to other states. […]


Judge Howard Manning’s misguided views on education should also be retired

By: - October 5, 2020

Now-retired North Carolina Superior Court Judge Howard Manning’s chief claim to fame during a lengthy judicial career came from overseeing the landmark Leandro school funding case from 2000 to 2015. Over this period, Manning held several hearings, often scolding state officials for failing to provide North Carolina’s students with the education they are owed under […]


General Assembly’s latest spending proposal fails to meet schools’ basic needs

By: - September 2, 2020

This week offered the General Assembly an opportunity to address two glaring needs in our public schools: Making progress towards delivering every child the education they are owed under our constitution, as required under the long-running Leandro court case; and Helping schools meet the increased costs of operating under the COVID pandemic. In both cases, […]


How the governor’s budget proposal would advance a sound basic education

By: - August 31, 2020

Despite fits and starts over the years, North Carolina lawmakers have consistently failed to provide children with the sound basic education that they are owed under our state constitution. Since the Leandro court case was filed in 1994, the courts have consistently found the state falling short of meeting this basic obligation. The December 2019 […]

Lack of new investment moves NC even further from delivering kids the education they’re owed

By: - July 16, 2020

NC devotes a smaller share of its economy towards its public schools than any other state in the nation The most damning aspect of the watershed Leandro consultant’s report is the authors’ meticulously documentation of how a decade of poor legislative leadership caused our education system to regress.


Legislature must act to hold school budgets harmless for COVID-related enrollment decreases

By: - July 13, 2020

For the second year running, the General Assembly has left town without fulfilling a basic role of state governance: passing an updated budget bill to meet the needs of North Carolinians. What this means for our public schools is that – at least initially – they will once again be operating under a budget that […]


Why NC needs to hit the pause on school choice until we meet students’ basic needs

By: - June 10, 2020

When you’re stuck in a hole, the best advice is to stop digging. Few would dispute that North Carolina’s public schools currently find themselves in a hole. Over the past decade, Raleigh’s lawmakers have chosen to prioritize tax cuts for the rich over investing in our students. Over this period, student achievement has stalled with shockingly few high school graduates prepared for college-level coursework. The opportunity gaps faced by Black, Latinx and Native American students, and those from families with low incomes, have remained persistently high. Racial and economic segregation have increased.


Memo to charter school advocates: Get your facts straight; stop undermining traditional public education

By: - May 29, 2020

North Carolina charter advocates continually complain of an “unfair” funding system despite regularly outspending comparable traditional public schools. An analysis of expenditure data from the ’18-19 school year indicates that charter schools maintain a small, $83 per-student local funding advantage over similar public schools. Charter advocates seeking greater investment in charter students should stop trying […]


How the COVID-19 packages compare for public schools

By: - April 30, 2020

Lawmakers have returned to Raleigh this week, aiming to pass a series of bills to help the state manage through the COVID-19 crisis. To date, the House, Senate, and Governor have all released plans to distribute funding received from federal relief bills and to modify state regulations. The plans are a reflection of the crisis […]


At time of glaring education needs, state voucher program remains wastefully overfunded

By: - April 2, 2020

In a year with no budget, one program for K-12 students was guaranteed a funding increase of more than 30%: the Opportunity Scholarship voucher program. And once again, that funding will substantially outpace demand for vouchers. As a result, the state is on pace to waste more than $26 million that could otherwise be used […]


The pandemic will harm vulnerable students, which is why we must continue fighting for vulnerable students

By: - April 1, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the closure of North Carolina’s schools through at least May 15, and students will face a growing set of challenges: Loss of instructional days Diminished instructional quality Uptick in adverse childhood experiences Likely cuts to school budgets Education research provides us with a good idea of what these changes […]

Leandro funding recommendations: Much lower than reported, readily affordable

By: - February 7, 2020

Despite the alarm and denial with which they have been greeted in some circles, the recent recommendations of a national education research group to the presiding judge in North Carolina's 26-year-old Leandro education finance lawsuit are quite reasonable and within the state's capacity to readily implement. Indeed, according to national experts, North Carolina doesn’t have to break the bank in order to finally begin meeting its constitutional obligation to provide every child with a good education.