NC Charter Wars Spills Over Into Virtual Online Schools

The war on school choice in North Carolina continues. The Left and Democrats in this state have made their hatred for school choice (charter schools, homeschooling, and Opportunity Scholarships) very well-known.

This time the salvo is targeting virtual charter schools.  Here’s the overall theme: All charter schools are evil and if it’s a virtual charter school, then it is double evil.

Why all the amped-up School Choice hate?

Traditional public schools, which still educate the majority of students in North Carolina, saw enrollment fall by 5,562 students, down to 1,454,290, from 2016 to 2017.
Charter schools saw the greatest jump, with 11,437 new students in 2017, followed by home schools, with 9,579 new students, and private schools, with 2,864 more students in 2017, according to state data, which was first reported by The News & Observer.
(WRAL 07/21/17)

This trend of parents fleeing public schools has continued into 2018.

Kris Nordstrom & The Left’s Virtual Charter Narrative

Here’s Nordstrom’ “headline”:
Legislators should reject efforts to extend failed virtual charter school “pilot”

If you understand upfront that Kris Nordstrom is totally and utterly unhinged in his hatred of Charter schools and just about every single school choice options other than public school, then his article makes more sense when you read it.

Nordstrom uses these three arguments prove that the virtual charter pilot should be shuttered:

  1. NC virtual charter laws eschew best practices, reflecting the aggressive lobbying efforts of for-profit corporations
  2. North Carolina’s virtual charter schools are arguably the worst-performing in the state, consistent with national research
  3. Other states are shutting down their failed virtual charter schools

And The Point-by-Point Rebuttal


Lobbying is bad mmkay

Lobbying is bad – unless it’s being done by Nordstrom’s employer, the NC Justice Center.

NC Justice Center employs a mere 7 lobbyists. But I’m sure Mr. Nordstrom would tell us that they’re all ‘good’ ones.

How much did they spend in lobbying the last few years? Take a gander.

NC Justice Center 2016 990 Sched C - sm - school choice - charter wars

2. Nordstrom equates the success of these two virtual charters with student growth.

Um, LOL?

The entire point of a Virtual Charter is for flexibility. Being able to get something you can’t at a traditional public school, take classes on one’s own schedule or pace.

This kind of flexible enrollment is hard to track. One kid might get what they need in a single class and leave. Another might be in it for several semesters.

There is a multitude of reasons they leave. WRAL actually does a decent report on the reasons for leaving and staying. Read that report here.

3. If everyone else is doing it, we should too.

Yes, and teens are taking the tide pod challenge too, Kris. Didn’t your mom ever use that time-honored phrase? If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?

Here’s a dose of reality, which Nordstrom includes in his article yet basically ignores what it says: Virtual Public School enrollment in NC now 2nd-largest in country

While the NCVPS may be unfamiliar to many North Carolina residents and not every school system cooperates with its program, the state has the second-largest virtual public school system in the country, with enrollment climbing from 17,000 at inception in 2007 to 58,000 students across the state today. Only Florida has higher enrollment in its comparable program.

But let’s chuck that baby out with the bath water. Two virtual charter schools with varying enrollment and satisfaction must be a sure sign of the apocalypse, right?

I’ll agree with Nordstrom on one thing: Failing schools should be closed.

If we can shut down a failing virtual charter based on the criteria Nordstrom uses in his article, then how about we shut down one of the dozens of the public schools that have been failing for a decade or more? Right? Those are his rules.

NORDSTROM WONKI’ll leave you all with this line from Nordstrom’s article:

“Lawmakers appear uninterested in any serious evaluation of North Carolina’s virtual charter schools.”

Now replace “Lawmakers” with “Nordstrom.”


John Hood recently took a swing at Kris “I live to be an arrogant jackass’ Nordstrom:

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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