Like a broken record, in a new “report” put out by the far Left NC Justice Center’s Kris Nordstrom, more mud has been slung at North Carolina parents wanting to choose the best educational option for their children.
Go get your coffee. This one was written with rant mode in the ON positi0n.
Full disclosure: I do not like Mr. Nordstrom. From the very first interaction I had with him on social media, he’s been nothing but arrogant and supercilious. I have had to keep him permanently mute on Twitter since he is incapable of a dialogue without being insulting.
Here’s just one example, which is actually very relevant to the rest of this article:
Much like his tweets, Nordstrom’s “report” offers few solutions to his own manufactured problems. Three suggestions that are tucked into the “report” include:
- Require that charter schools provide transportation and school lunch.
- Clarify requirements that charter school demographics reflect those of the school district.
- Close charter schools that fail to meet integration goals.
The first one is classic Nordstrom. He is well aware that charters currently do not receive the overhead funding for transportation that their traditional counterparts do. If he’s up for giving charters more money for buses, that’s great! However, I’d bet that his intention here is that requiring transportation would cripple and close a lot of charters.
The second shows the complete lack of understanding of what school choice is by applying forced racial quotas. Revisit the tweet above – To Nordstrom, you are a racist if you want school choice.
The third is just Nordstrom wiping the drool off his chin at the thought of a charter school closing regardless of the reason. Parents, how do you feel about this guy mocking you and suggesting to close your child’s school?
Cripple, Slam, Eviscerate
Just a reminder, Nordstrom is a former NCGA researcher who was given a policy wonk title by the NC Justice Center.
The NC Justice Center is the parent organization of Blueprint NC, a “non-profit” whose primary goal to “cripple” “slam” and “eviscerate” all North Carolina Republican lawmakers was exposed in 2013 through a leaked memo. Nordstrom’s “report” is more of the same.
Let Me Tell You How To Educate Your Kid, Said The Guy With No Kids
It must be nice to be Kris Nordstrom and apparently be a man with no children of his own dictating to those who do have kids on just how and where and how their child should be educated.
The title of the 23-page “report” is Stymied by Segregation.
What follows the title is a non-stop set of attacks on school choice (specifically charter schools) using cherry-picked data with no population or demographic shift context.
It starts out with pages of anecdotes of ‘oh look what horrid racists used to do’ as a mean of setting a shaming tone through the rest of the “report.”
The “report” alleges to have analyzed said cherry-picked data to support the following claims:
- The number of racially and economically isolated schools has increased
- Districts’ racial distribution is mixed, but economic segregation is on the rise
- Large school districts could be doing much more to integrate their schools
- School district boundaries are still used to maintain segregated school systems
- Charter schools tend to exacerbate segregation
Without getting into the forest of weeds in Nordstrom’s report, let’s unpack these five claims.
1. The number of racially and economically isolated schools has increased
First, what is considered “economically isolated?” The report says it’s “a school is
considered racially or economically isolated if more than 75 percent of its
students are students of color, or qualify for free or reduced school meals.”
So which is it? The conflation here is probably not accidental. Are we talking about racial makeup or school lunches?
If it’s the latter, the majority of schools in North Carolina qualify as “economically isolated” as the threshold to qualify for Free and Reduced Lunches dropped every year for seven years in a row starting in 2009.
Second, Nordstrom shoots a hole in his own claims of increased racial isolation by not even acknowledging the fact that PEOPLE MOVE. Instead, Nordstrom is more concerned that “students of color became less likely to interact with white students in 106 of 115 districts.”
The “report” more than once aims to tear down school choice through the idea of forced integration. School choice hinges on the freedom of voluntary association, therefore that angle has to be attacked.
2. Districts’ racial distribution is mixed, but economic segregation is on the rise
The first part of this statement undermines claim number one, but now the issue is “economic segregation” – whatever that is since the term is used twice in the whole report and is largely undefined. There is just no pleasing this guy.
Again, people move. Jobs move. They always have. They always will.
3. Large school districts could be doing much more to integrate their schools
Let’s see. We’ve done busing. How’d that work out? Ask Charlotte parents how they felt about their kids being bused 30 to 45 minutes halfway across the city in the name of ‘racial equality’.
We’ve done magnets. So far, not really making a big dent despite the millions thrown at it.
We’ve done charters and Opportunity Scholarships — WHICH ARE ACTUALLY WORKING. But you’re segregating our schools by going those routes according to the childless Kris Nordstrom.
4. School district boundaries are still used to maintain segregated school systems
Are you kidding me with this one? Now county district boundaries are racist? Give me a break.
Now go read how advocates (a.k.a. Nordstrom) are freaking out about the NCGA investigating breaking the districts up:
“the General Assembly has created the Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Division of Local School Administrative Units, which many advocates fear is an attempt to begin the process of re-segregating urban school districts.”
As I said, there is no pleasing this guy.
5. Charter schools tend to exacerbate segregation
Finally, we get to the point of this smear job: Charter schools.
First, There is no evidence of this whatsoever. To the contrary, charters in NC are as racially or more racially balanced than their traditional counterparts.
According to the data, which Nordstrom omitted, charters in NC have a larger percentage of black students than do their traditional counterparts. But you parents, especially you minority parents out there, you’re racists because you want options for your kids.
Cordes studied more than a decade’s worth of student achievement data for 876,731 students attending 584 elementary schools in community school districts in New York City (NYC) with at least one charter school serving children in similar grades.
“These findings shed new light on the public debate over the effects of charter schools on non-charter students,” Cordes writes. “Rather than sapping resources and putting students at district schools at a disadvantage, the data in New York City show that students do better when charters open nearby. In particular, students at co-located district schools, where their school shares a building with a charter school, experience the most sharply positive spillover effects. Importantly, the effects of co-location appear to be specific to charter schools, as students in district schools that are co-located with other district schools do not experience similar performance gains.”
The Left hates school choice – unless it’s their choice.
Calling Out Nordstrom’s Arrogant Charter School Smears
Here is just the ticket: A Response to Kris Nordstorm
It is written by Dr. Tom Miller who has been a past consultant to the NC Department of Public Instruction’s Office Charter Schools.
Here is the opening text:
As a former traditional public school teacher and public charter school principal, I find reports like the one from Kris Nordstrom to be offensive and misleading. He represents public charter schools as a threat to public education and not as colleagues in education to their traditional public school counterparts. He also leaves out the most important stakeholder in his report–parents. Our world has evolved to a place where choice is part of all aspects of our everyday life in which apps we use, which cars we drive, and which neighborhood we live in. Why would the education of our children be any different?
Further on, Miller pretty much disemboweled Nordstrom on charter school demographics:
According to the 2018 Office of Charter Schools report to the legislation, public charter schools have a higher percentage of enrolled African-American students than does traditional public school. We have found that minority families are choosing charter schools because in so many neighborhoods, charters are the best school option for their child. Public charter schools have a higher percentage of schools with greater than 80% of their population being African-American or Hispanic when compared to traditional public schools (27% charters vs. 20% traditional). When just comparing African-American enrollment data, 13% of public charter schools have student populations that consist of 75% African-American compared to traditional public schools where only 5% have student populations greater than 75% African-American. The traditional public school percentage would be much higher if districts did not draw lines to create racial balance in their schools.
Read the whole thing. You will not be disappointed.
The Left Hates School Choice. Act Accordingly.
School choice options remove the impressionable, moldable young children from liberal ‘drip, drip, drip’ indoctrination and place them into the hands of their parents. This boils down to power being shifted back to parents and for the Left, that has to be stopped.
Democrats and the Left are in deep denial that our public school model is antiquated, outdated and has been for decades. There is also a deep degree of union protectionism inherent in this denial.
Progressives and Democrats have entrenched themselves in the idea that public school is some kind of sacred cow that cannot be slaughtered. Well, guess what? Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.
One has to wonder why Nordstrom wrote what is essentially a 23-page long virtue signaling attack on school choice.
A decent thought about that is that it makes a nice piece of ‘that’s racist!’ fodder for the Governor’s sham Education Commission to attack the General Assembly with, right?