John Tedesco: Redefining revisionist history

It’s one thing to simply be against public policies that intentionallly promote socioeconomic diversity. It’s quite another to purport to base one’s opposition on, of all things, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education! But that’s just what Wake County School Board member John “Tea Party” Tedesco attempted to do tonight as part of the debate surrounding the Board’s final vote to eliminate diversity as a factor in student assignment.

Tedesco attempted to draw a tortured analogy between the situation of a lower income student in Wake County who is transported to an integrated, lower poverty school further from his or her home than the nearest school in order to promote better socioeconomic balance and opportunity for him or her and the broader community of students, to one of the plainitiffs in Brown case who was barred from attending an all-white school near her home becasue of her race.

Here’s Tedesco:

So what we’ve done in this county at some time now, is told many of our children and many of our families even if they live near a school, because their mom and dad doesn’t have enough money in their pocket, they’re not welcome to go to school with their friends and their neighbors. And I just don’t find that fair. I find that inherently unfair. That if a section of children should exceed that fifty per cent or fifty-one per cent or fifty-two percent, that we have to tell that two per cent ‘you got to get on a forced bus ride out of town cause you’re not welcome in your neighborhood.'”

Got that? This is the person drafting THE PLAN to totally remake one of the largest and most successful school systems in the United States: a man who has such a twisted and confused view of American history that he’s willing to cite the most important anti-segregation case ever handed down by the Supreme Court as grounds for intentionally re-segregating the schools!

This is Orwellian reasoning of the worst kind. What’s next for Tedesco? An MLK quote? Cesar Chavez?

All a caring and thinking person can do is echo the cries that came from the back of the audience in the Board room when Tedesco uttered his absurd “argument”:

Shame! Shame!”


  1. Rob Schofield

    May 18, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Those wondering whether the tortured grammar in the quote is an attempt to make the man look bad can watch the WRAL video; it is, I believe a word for word quote. Tedesco apparently paid about as much attention in English class as he did in U.S. History.

  2. […] the original: The Progressive Pulse – John Tedesco: Redefining revisionist history Post a […]

  3. Kevin Rogers

    May 19, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I had a difficult time sitting through Tedesco’s comments last night. I have become accustomed to him saying ridiculous things, but this really takes the cake. The only thing more strained than his grammar is the logic!

  4. J. Bailey

    May 19, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Are you serious? The man is talking, not writing a book.

  5. Jack

    May 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

    The above quote is what the Wake County School Board has been chanting all along. Those conversant in doublespeak understand this. Most of the time its been more of an in your face comment and/or action revealing the mission of the board.

    When it works break it.
    Everthing old is new again.
    We have met the enemy and he is us. (voter turn out)
    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ayanna's mother. Ayanna's mother said: @harisslacewell, @profblmkelley, @gregflynn WC school board evokes Brown when dismantling diversity policy! Disgusting! http://bit.ly/blCYXp […]

  7. Liberaytor

    May 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I was infuriated. I couldn’t believe it. How dare he use Brown to justify dismantling a diversity policy with the goal of minimizing the number of low wealth schools.

    I was also angered by their inability and unwillingness to cooperate with each other. Diversity and school assignment/choice can coexist. How can we teach our children to work together if we as adults are unwilling to set an example?

  8. Joe Ciulla

    May 19, 2010 at 4:54 pm


    You do a more than adequate job of making John Tedesco look bad. I’m quite sure that I could replay a recording of the meeting and find widespread examples of bad grammar. You undermine your credibility by demeaning someone this way.

    And John’s citing Brown vs. Board of Ed was spot on. In that lawsuit, the plaintiff sued for the right to attend her neighborhood school (6 or 7 blocks from her home), instead of being forcibly bused to a school much further away. In Wake County, we have ED and minority students who live within a few blocks of excellent schools like Ligon and Enloe, but are forcibly bused to schools much further away.

    Who died and appointed you as savior of our minority and ED students?

  9. Steve Harrison

    May 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Joe, those kids were bused because they were deemed to be a nuisance, not because someone was trying to help them. To make the connection between what the Wake School Board is doing and Brown, simply because there were buses and neighborhood schools involved, indicates either a fundamental lack of reasoning skills or a desire to obfuscate and deceive, or some painful combination of both.

    The following excerpt goes to the core of Brown, and is something that a true and empathic educator would already know in his or her heart:

    “To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.”

  10. Tim Tyson

    August 2, 2010 at 2:25 am

    In fact, Mr. Ciulla, you and Mr. Tedesco are absolutely, 100 per cent wrong on the Brown v. Board and “neighborhood schools” question. The lawsuit *specifically* excludes the location and facilities of the schools as a cause of the plaintiff’s complaint and focuses instead on racial segregation. The only grain of truth in your observation is that there was a “white” school about equidistant from the Browns’ home and one of the two “colored” schools she could have attended. Her father walked past the “white” school on his way to work, and this rankled him. But his lawsuit specifically said school proximity was NOT among the Brown family’s complaints. It is also well to remember that there many, many other plaintiffs bundled into the same case. Not one of them sued about school location. I informed Mr. Tedesco of this misconception the last time I saw him, and suggested that he read Richard Kluger’s definitive Simple Justice for details. I see that he just kept on repeating that nonsense, even though he knows it is not true.

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