NC Charter Wars: Public Policy Interests vs. Personal Profits

According to the News and Observer, NC Superintendent June Atkinson was singing the praises of one Joel Medley last week.  Medley is about to take over the K-12 Online Charter School System.  As quoted by the News and Observer, Atkinson says Medley is an “extremely ethical and straightforward” guy:

“I found him to be extremely ethical and straightforward,” said state Superintendent June Atkinson. “Those are two important skills to have as a charter school director. He certainly was respected by the State Board of Education and all of us at the state Department of Public Instruction.”

As head of the charter office, Medley was deeply involved in working with the online applicants and their contracts.

Medley said he could not provide a date when he was contacted about going to work for the online charter.

“When I resigned, I made 100 percent sure that everything was done above board and done correctly,” he said.

Hmm, seems kinda too good to be true, right?

This afternoon during the update on the digital learning special committee of the State Board of Education might get interesting. Will we see the salary of Joel Medley, the former director of the office of charter schools, will be released along with that of his staff, as he and Phillip Price demanded of all charter schools earlier this year?  He’s “extremely ethical and straightforward”, right?

Furthermore, I wonder if Medley’s amnesia has lapsed, so that he can now remember when he was approached and negotiations started for him to jump ship from a cushy job at DPI with a state pension to run a virtual school — something he has apparently never done before. Shockingly,the News Observer article says he couldn’t remember last week. Seriously?!

Medley has been known to be a strident opponent of virtual charters, to the point where he reportedly excoriated Rebecca Taylor and Helen Nance after the bizarre and frankly freakish meeting that involved reviewing the virtual charter applications for Connect Academy and NC Virtual Academy. The applications were ultimately approved and sent to the State Board of Education for a final vote, demanding of them “how could you let that happen?”

It’s obvious why Medley became a sudden, and well-compensated believer in the cause, but I wonder if Nance and Taylor are as thrilled with his new role, which could be a potential threat to their livelihoods.

Taylor apparently makes a fortune every year from over half a dozen tutoring centers filled with students from failing public schools. Additionally, she is the watchdog for the State Board of Education over the Charter School Advisory Board, which is the one sector of public education that threatens the status quo and may actually improve it.  Brick-and-mortar or virtual, Charter schools have the potential of reducing her client base.

Nance apparently didn’t like the thought of virtual schools on the charter landscape either. Sources tell me that her husband’s company finances charter school facilities and operates in the shadows and that this has never been disclosed to the public. Nance’s husband is therefore financing and make a profit off of cyber classrooms??

Should Medley, Nance, and Taylor be able to make a buck? Absolutely, that’s the American way. The problem is that buck may be made as a direct result of actions taken while acting in the capacity of a policy maker or administrator. Picture that problem, literally:

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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3 Responses to NC Charter Wars: Public Policy Interests vs. Personal Profits

  1. Pingback: NC Charter Wars: Four FOIA’s Filed | Lady Liberty 1885

  2. Janet says:

    Maybe you should get your facts straight about Nance and Taylor before posting this ridiculous blog post! You are clearly delusional!


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