Wake County Schools

Tedesco proud of Wake school board tenure, despite controversy

Posted July 18, 2013

— A day after announcing he wouldn't seek re-election this fall, Wake County Board of Education member John Tedesco said there were a few things he could have done differently during his tenure, but that he was proud of the board's accomplishments overall.

"People saw the media frenzy on the outside. They did not see, behind the scenes, all the things we worked on," Tedesco said Thursday.

The "frenzy" began shortly after Tedesco's election in 2009, when the new Republican majority made swift and controversial changes to the district's longstanding policy of busing students to balance diversity. The change brought out protesters and ignited a period of in-fighting and political squabbling between board members.

"I wouldn't be worth my salt if I didn't say I could have done a couple things a bit differently," Tedesco said. 

But graduation rates are up and suspension rates are down, Tedesco said, and students have more access to programs and courses than in years past.

Tedesco: 'I could have done a couple things differently' Tedesco: 'I could have done a couple things differently'

"We accomplished a lot of good stuff that got buried underneath the few things of controversy that brought out people and protesters," he said. 

The 2012 election shifted the school board's balance of power to favor the Democrats, who voted to oust Tony Tata, the superintendent Republicans had put in place less than two years earlier. When the school board hired Jim Merrill to replace Tata last month, Tedesco had thrown his support behind a different candidate – Ann Clark, deputy superintendent for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

He also found himself with fewer political allies after fellow Republicans Debra Goldman and Chris Malone resigned from the board.

Going forward, Tedesco expressed cautious optimism about the direction the school board will take in his absence. 

"I hope (the board doesn't) become complacent, more concerned with the adults in the room protecting their jobs and the system and less concerned with the individual needs of the children and their families," he said. "I think we will still see some controversial issues, but when it comes to the meat of it, we care about out kids."


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  • Ex-Republican Jul 19, 2013

    We are all proud of Tedesco. Job well done.

  • westernwake1 Jul 19, 2013

    "You mean an Office of Diversity and Equity similar to the one that is present in nearly every major industry, university system, and large public education system in the country? The real question you should be asking is "Wake Schools, what took you so long?" - i4musicalarts

    You mean all these entities have an office whose entire purpose is to plan to bus students all over the school/business and re-assign them every year to support diversity. Does your business move you to a new department every year so the business so an equal number of people from each race are in each department? Or are the decisions to move employees based on the needs of the business. Shouldn't moving students be based on what is best for their education and not diversity?

  • westernwake1 Jul 19, 2013

    "The rapid growth in Western Wake was the problem and not the bussing." - john4st8

    The old Democratic school board stated very directly in a public meeting that the constant re-assignment of children every year to different schools was due to diversity and not due to growth. Most schools districts handle growth by placing children from new sub-divisions in new schools - not by changing the assignment of children every single year.

    The constant changing schools assignments to support a failed diversity policy is what got a large number of parents upset and the Democrats voted out of office. I hope the Democrats remember this but they appear not to.

  • rushbot Jul 19, 2013

    for the life of me i do not understand how someone who never raised a child from the crib on up was qualified to make rules about our children's education...

  • bobbyj Jul 19, 2013

    to bad people just can not have a difference of opinions. However you made all right thinking republicans look like dummys. I'm not for busing just for the sake of busing. I believe in science and I think global warming is here. Trying to get as far away from Tea Party people is good. You certainly pushed Wake County public schools back 50 years. please keep your little hands off all schools in the future. the entire board sickens me and most have used the board simply to spring board their agenda and future jobs. Good riddens.

  • john4st8 Jul 19, 2013

    Suspensions may be down, but offenses that merit suspensions are not. Graduation rate may be up, but are the students truly prepared for the next phase of life. Not letting schools suspend students and pushing students through grade levels without merit allows counties to say "we are helping more students," but all it truly does is ignore the real social problems.

  • freeman1021 Jul 19, 2013

    Tedesco has done NOTHING for Garner Schools! The rapid growth in Western Wake was the problem and not the bussing. Tax payers had to foot the bill to build all these new great schools in Cary, Holly Spring and North Raleigh while those with kids in Garner got nothing. The legislature did not impose impact fees on the homes in those areas to pay for the schools they needed so no money was there for existing schools. What did Garner get during Tedesco representation for this area? - an old movie theater that will be converted to a 9th grade center that has just started construction still leaving an overcrowded and trailer supplemented school. Principal and teachers are great despite this. Good riddens Tedesco.

  • i4musicalarts Jul 19, 2013

    "The one covered extensively in a series of articles in the N&O, but never mentioned on WRAL - The over $200,000 spent in April to start "an Office of Diversity and Equity".

    You mean an Office of Diversity and Equity similar to the one that is present in nearly every major industry, university system, and large public education system in the country? The real question you should be asking is "Wake Schools, what took you so long?"

  • ncteacher22 Jul 19, 2013

    Oh please just go away! You and Debra and Margianno (sp?) made us the laughing stock of the country! WRAL needs to stop giving you your 15 minutes of fame. Go!

  • NuGamma Jul 19, 2013

    Ms Tedesco, thank God you are leaving! We are truly sick of you and your drama. Please go far, far away.