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.


News & Observer “fact check” on senator’s school voucher claim tells only half the story

By: - May 20, 2019

A recent News and Observer “fact check” weighed into the North Carolina Senate’s debate over a bill that would expand eligibility for the state’s Opportunity Scholarship voucher program. The article rates Sen. Natasha Marcus’s claim that there’s no wait list for Opportunity Scholarship vouchers as “Half True” because she failed to tell “the full story.” […]

Local conservative group wildly over-inflates actual costs of NCAE’s policy priorities

By: - May 7, 2019

Last week, the John Locke Foundation attempted to tar the NCAE’s 2019 policy priorities by claiming they would cost $6 billion. The analysis, such as it is, betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of some of the biggest issues faced by North Carolina policymakers. A more accurate estimate would put the NCAE’s policy priorities at about $1.2 billion per year.


House education budget falls short of needs, misleads on pay increases

By: - May 3, 2019

It’s a story that North Carolinians have heard all too often this past decade. Despite a steadily growing economy, the General Assembly – in this case, the House – has once again failed to meaningfully address budget shortfalls in our public schools. The only new wrinkle presented by this week’s passage of the 2019 House […]

Superintendent Johnson uses new website to gaslight educators

By: - May 1, 2019

Under North Carolina’s Standard Course of Study, 6th graders are expected to understand the difference between the average and median of a distribution of numbers. So the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mark Johnson, is certainly aware that you should never compare the median of one data set to the average of another data set.

Flawed classroom supplies legislation is based on lawmaker’s false premise

By: - April 8, 2019

Last Wednesday, Superintendent Mark Johnson was joined by important members of the House and Senate for what they promised would be “a major announcement regarding education in North Carolina.” While the hype for the announcement was major, the announcement itself was a dud. The “major announcement” was a plan to divert funding for classroom supplies from school districts to an app that would give every teacher $400 to spend on classroom supplies.


House budget targets for education expose legislature’s backwards priorities

By: - April 5, 2019

Ten years of austerity budgets have left North Carolina’s education system – public schools, community colleges, and university system – with incredible needs. Compared to before the Recession, the state is providing public schools with fewer teachers, instructional support personnel (nurses, librarians, counselors, psychologists, etc.), teacher assistants, textbooks, and supplies. The North Carolina Community College […]


Trump education budget lays bare his party’s antipathy towards public schools

By: - March 20, 2019

President Donald Trump issued his budget proposal earlier this month continuing the trend in divestment in universal public education. If enacted, Trump’s budget would slash federal education spending by 12 percent, eliminating funding for 29 education programs. A full list of the programs slated for elimination (as first reported by Education Week) can be found […]


Governor’s budget shows schools’ desperate need for more revenue

By: - March 12, 2019

On May 16, more than 20,000 educators and public school advocates marched on Raleigh to demand better funding for North Carolina’s public schools. Speaking at the event, Governor Cooper captured the protesters’ sentiments, saying “This is far more than just about teacher pay…it’s about real investment in our schools.” The Governor specified which investments he […]


Teacher protests helped, but North Carolina still has ways to go to restore school funding

By: - March 7, 2019

On May 16, over 20,000 teachers descended upon Raleigh to encourage legislative leaders to increase funding for North Carolina’s public schools. The impressive labor action – which shut down 40 school districts across the state – came on the heels of teacher-led protests in other states such as West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona. According […]


Over-funded Opportunity Scholarship vouchers continue to drain resources from underfunded public schools

By: - January 21, 2019

Data from the North Carolina Education Assistance Authority shows that North Carolina’s largest voucher program, the Opportunity Scholarship, was over-funded by approximately $16.3 million in FY 2017-18. The state appropriated $44.8 million to subsidize tuition costs for students attending private schools last fiscal year, but issued only $28.1 million in vouchers. That $16.3 million is […]

The fine print: How North Carolina charters are — secretly — lagging behind traditional public schools

By: - January 14, 2019

Did you know that student performance in North Carolina charter schools is increasingly falling behind traditional public schools? Probably not. After all, that message was absent from state charter office Director Dave Machado’s presentation to the Board last week, nor will you find it in the related Charter Schools Annual Report submitted to...


Senator Berger’s signature education program continues to fail

By: - January 10, 2019

In October, researchers from NC State’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation helped to confirm what many educational advocates have long claimed: North Carolina’s Read to Achieve program is a failure. This week’s State Board of Education meeting included a presentation on the evaluation, which served as an important wake-up call to North Carolina’s policymakers. However […]