Local Politics

Tedesco announces bid for top state schools post

Posted January 26, 2012

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— Wake County school board member John Tedesco announced Thursday that he's seeking the post this year as the state's top education official.

"I think it's critical, at this time, that our children in North Carolina have a true champion who is willing to fight for the complex issues that will give them opportunities in education," Tedesco told WRAL News.

Tedesco joined the Board of Education in 2009 and has since chaired the board's task force on economically disadvantaged student performance.

As part of a Republican-backed majority elected that year, he helped lead the way for a new superintendent and a new student assignment plan – the latter which sparked protest and sometimes negative national attention.

"There are those who love me and those who don't, but I have earned the respect of those who don't by staying true to my word," Tedesco said.

One of the former majority's accomplishments was managing deep budget cuts without cutting teaching jobs, Tedesco said.

Current state education leaders, he said, have been lax in that area.

"They could have taken a more active role in helping to trim wasteful spending and streamline those dollars to protect teachers, like we did in Wake County," he said.

In a news release announcing his campaign, Tedesco said Gov. Bev Perdue's administration and current Superintendent June Atkinson have "failed our children."

"During Perdue's first two years in office, with a Democrat-controlled General Assembly by her side, we lost more teacher jobs in this state than we had in the previous quarter century," Tedesco said in the release.

He also took aim at Atkinson, who last week said she was running again because "we are winning."

" I quite frankly do not see a state burden by education bureaucracy, firing thousands of teachers over the past four years and producing a 50 percent reading proficiency for our minority children as winning," Tedesco said.

"More than ever, we need real leadership and our teachers need support," he continued.

Tedesco joins a race with a pool of candidates who include Republicans Ray Martin, a Cary teacher, and former Monroe City Council candidate Richard Alexander.

Tedesco running for superintendent Tedesco running for superintendent

Besides Atkinson, Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, is also in the running on the Democratic side.

Atkinson said in an interview that she doesn't want to leave office during what she calls a remodeling effort for the public schools.

"It was a hard decision, but there are quite a few things that we have under way," Atkinson told The Associated Press last week. "I feel like we're in the middle of the game and I don't want to leave the game."

Glazier has said that he could do a better job than Atkinson of standing up to Republicans, whom Democrats in the Legislature have accused of damaging the schools with spending cuts.

"The superintendent has got to be a chief advocate for public education, for the students of this state and the chief advocate for the professionals who teach," Glazier told reporters. "I intend to take that message statewide."


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  • CarolinianByChoice Jan 27, 2012

    @tgiv: You are spot on!!

    If Tedesco reads all the comments on here, maybe he will be enlightened as to how to gain "respect" - but given his past performance probably not. His grasp on reality seems to be right up there with Tracey Cline's.

  • CarolinianByChoice Jan 27, 2012

    Gotta wonder why this guy would run for a position that is essentially a figurehead position. Maybe he thinks it is a good starting point for a political career.

    Have news for you Mr. Tedesco, I have NO respect for you. You made a national laughingstock of the WCPSS. What makes you think any of us would vote you into a position where you could subject the STATE's educational system subject to [more] ridicule?

    I am SO happy my children graduated before the board of doom came into power.

    PS Mr. Tedesco: That swagger and loud-mouthed braggadocio attitude may have worked up in NYC/NJ, but we are more civilized down here in NC – we don’t need someone to hit us over the head with a baseball bat to understand what could be explained in a calm, logical manner.

    You are SORELY mistaken if you think you can pull one over on the entire state like you did the people who were hoodwinked into electing you to local office.

  • Ex-Republican Jan 27, 2012

    "You do not have to have a PhD in Education to be able to perform the job." BSEE

    Agree 100%

    Actually, the more advanced degrees one has in the Humanities the less one's ability to think critically. A PhD in Education should actually count against those who apply.

  • Ex-Republican Jan 27, 2012

    "This will just further their reputation for being known as "Saturday Night Live skit material!!!!" --- Its the who what

    If you're part of the demographic that regularly watches SNL you should worry about your own reputation and not Republicans.

  • Its the who what Jan 27, 2012

    I love this!!! I actually hope that he becomes the republican choice!!!! This will just further their reputation for being known as "Saturday Night Live skit material!!!!

  • Mom2two Jan 27, 2012


  • tgiv Jan 27, 2012

    I MAY have heard a worse idea so far this year, but I really can't recall what it might have been right now.

    "There are those who love me and those who don't, but I have earned the respect of those who don't by staying true to my word,"

    No, you did not earn my respect. You lost it. You had the opportunity to initiate change that would benefit the entire community. Instead you chose to amplify politics, engage in petty name calling of another board member, and to push patronage ahead of the good of the children of the county.

    So for this you should be REWARDED with a job with more responsibility. So that you can push politics even further into the educational process? We want results, and you failed to deliver. I hope that the Republicans come up with better than this amateur. It would be a shame to have no choice come election day.

  • LBJ192 Jan 27, 2012

    "You do not have to have a PhD in Education to be able to perform the job."

    Hasn't worked out too well for him thus far. Why do you think it would change with a more challenging position?

  • kdawg Jan 27, 2012

    Pretty sure if I edited "Napoleon Complex" on Wikipedia with Tedesco's picture, no one would edit it out. You may not need a PhD in Education to be a superintendent of schools, but you do need a little humility, and the ability to compromise on hot button issues.

  • csw Jan 27, 2012

    BSEE...I've yet to see any evidence of common sense comming from this man.