November 1, 2023

Justin Parmenter: For-profit charter school operators grease NC politicians’ palms to ensure they get a piece of the pie

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Justin Parmenter has regularly chronicled the shenanigans of North Carolina privatizers, and this newest story is a doozy.

Representatives of an Arizona-based for-profit charter school operator have been writing campaign checks to North Carolina elected officials who are in positions to guarantee our tax dollars keep flowing their direction.

Both Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson and State Superintendent Catherine Truitt have received thousands from these charter operators in the past few months.

But as we all know, gifts of money often come with expectations.


2023 has been a particularly grueling year in North Carolina for fans of public education and democracy.

Heading into this year’s long session, Democrats had held off a Republican supermajority in both chambers of the General Assembly by the thinnest of margins–just one seat in the House.

That all changed in April when Mecklenburg County Representative Tricia Cotham betrayed her donors, volunteers and voters by changing parties just months after being elected as a progressive Democrat.

Cotham’s betrayal guaranteed that, if the GOP voted in lockstep, Republicans could pass any law they wanted to without worrying about a gubernatorial veto.

What followed was a veritable avalanche of terrible policy.

Among many other changes which are not the focus of this article, state lawmakers stripped the State Board of Education of its authority to approve or deny charter school applications.

This drastic move followed the board’s denial on two occasions of a charter for American Leadership Academy in Monroe, a school managed by an well-connected out-of-state company and on whose school board Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson’s wife happens to hold a seat.

But of course in North Carolina that could never be the end of the story.

It is a long and twisty story, but Parmenter has dug out the details about this apparent corruption involving the front-runner for the governor’s seat. Read the full post here.

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