Archives by: Kris Nordstrom

Kris Nordstrom

Kris Nordstrom's articles and posts

Top Story

Margaret Spellings’ glaring omission

One of the reasons I love working on education policy is that academic research on education is ever-evolving, and chock-full of hotly-debated issues. But not all aspects of education policy remain up for debate. For example, education researchers of all stripes agree on a simple fact: child poverty is the single greatest barrier to academic achievement.

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Top Story Trump Administration

Lt. Governor’s aide peddles misinformation on NC charter school funding

Imagine a family with twin boys: Charter Chad and Traditional Travis. Chad and Travis have generous parents who give each of them an allowance of $75 per week. For Travis, however, $75 a week isn’t enough. He wants to do some things that Chad isn’t interested in doing, like running a pre-kindergarten program for the local neighborhood kids. So Travis gets a part-time job earning $25 per week.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

National School Choice Week highlights movement’s lackluster track record in NC

This week is National School Choice Week. In North Carolina, the week’s main event was yesterday’s rally, attended by Superintendent Mark Johnson. But hopefully the week will also serve as an opportunity for reflection. The track record for North Carolina’s school choice programs – charter schools and voucher programs – has been lackluster. The movement could benefit from less cheerleading, and more reckoning with evidence.

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Education Top Story

Special report: How poorly-crafted education policies are failing North Carolina’s children

Veteran North Carolina education policy expert Kris Nordstrom has authored a new and vitally important report about the path that state elected officials have taken during recent years in crafting state education policy.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

New report highlights General Assembly’s failed record on higher education

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), a nonpartisan organization that provides independent data and policy recommendations to its 16 member states in the southeast, has published new state-specific data on college affordability that paint a damning picture of the General Assembly’s record. The report shows that both cost of attendance and student loan debt have risen dramatically from 2008 to 2014. These increases disproportionately create barriers to economic advancement for students of color and students from low-income families.

North Carolina’s constitution places a very important responsibility on the General Assembly. State leaders are required to provide higher education for free “as far as practicable.” Article IX, Section 9 reads:

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Legislature creates school funding task force, but appears unwilling and unable to seriously examine NC’s school funding needs

Last week, the General Assembly announced which legislators will serve on the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform. The Task Force, created via the 2017 budget bill, is charged with developing recommendations to radically overhaul North Carolina’s school finance system. A serious review of North Carolina’s school finance system could substantially benefit the state. School funding matters, particularly for students in low-income families. Unfortunately, early indications suggest that the Task Force is uninterested in reforms that would actually improve educational delivery in the state.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

As new school year commences, shortage of basic supplies demonstrates legislature’s failure to invest

This week marks the beginning of the school year for most of North Carolina’s 1.5 million public school students. It’s an exciting time of year for students, parents, and educators, alike, as everyone considers the vast potential for the year ahead. Undoubtedly, this will be a great year for many students. But far too many North Carolina students still face barriers to reaching their full potential due to the General Assembly’s continuing failure to adequately fund our public schools.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

General Assembly should repeal poorly-constructed and misnamed education savings accounts program

Now that the lackluster, uninspiring, harmful, disappointing, and misguided public school budget has become law, it is time to look towards next year’s priorities. By failing to adequately address the needs of our public schools in the 2017 budget, General Assembly leaders have much work to do in 2018. Any 2018 education agenda should focus on restoring adequate funding to our schools, increasing efforts to improve the recruitment and retention of educators, and providing the necessary supports to give low-income students the tools needed to succeed.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Poor, rural schools likely the big losers with lawmakers’ planned cuts to central office staff

Among the elements necessary for a well-functioning school district, central office staff is often overlooked. However, a functioning central office is vital. These professionals ensure that money is spent in accordance with the law, provide technical assistance to ...
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Education Top Story

General Assembly must still provide $293 million in teacher money to settle class-size debate

On April 27th, the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, House Bill 13, bringing a temporary reprieve to North Carolina’s great class-size debate. The bill delayed the unfunded class-size requirements by one year, preserving elementary school students’ access to “enhancement courses” such as art, music, technology, and physical education for the 2017-18 school year.

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