Dome: State board to take stand on spanking, jfrank@newsobserver.comApril 6, 2012 

The State Board of Education wants to weigh in on the issue of school spanking with the aim of making recommendations for a new law next year.

Child advocates for years have pushed the board to oppose school spanking, but members have been reluctant to wade into a local policy issue. That appears to have changed.

“I just think it’s wrong,” state school board member John Tate said Thursday. “I think it’s an instance that we have to stand up for what’s right for kids and say stop this nonsense.”

A report earlier this year shows that three counties – Robeson, Columbus, and McDowell – did 87 percent of the spanking in 2010-2011.

Seventeen districts used corporal punishment a total of 891 times, according to the state Department of Public Instruction report. Ten of those districts have since banned school spanking, the report said. Most local school districts don’t spank students.

Eighty percent of the students spanked were boys. Twenty-two percent of the children spanked were disabled, though disabled students make up 8 percent of the student population.

American Indian students make up nearly 43 percent of Robeson’s enrollment, and that district spanked more children than any other by far.

Super PAC backs Santorum

A North Carolina-based super PAC launched two TV ads this week supporting Rick Santorum in the Republican presidential primary.

Keep Conservatives United is the brainchild of Bob Harris, the legendary researcher for Jesse Helms’ Congressional Club. He lent his super PAC $14,000 in March to fund the advertising, according to federal campaign finance reports.

The first 30-second spot hits Newt Gingrich for his marital affairs. (Key line: “An affair because you worked too hard. Sit down, Newt.”) And the second ad hits Mitt Romney on the issue of health care, saying he can’t attack the president on Obamacare because of his Massachusetts record. (Key line: “Mitt Romney and Barack Obama stole people’s freedom with their mandates.”)

Road tour pushes state budget

Americans for Prosperity is adding a road tour to its campaign supporting the state budget.

The tour starts in Burlington on Monday and ends in Rockingham on Wednesday. The tour features a North Carolina Real Solutions mobile billboard, which publicizes the pro-budget campaign slogan and website.

AFP’s efforts also will include a robocall to homes in the areas where its TV ad aired last month. The call features much of the same claims as the TV ad (

Tedesco channels Rocky Balboa

The leading Republican candidate for state superintendent, John Tedesco, is promoting a campaign video unlike any other this election season.

The two-and-a-half-minute Web production – set to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” – is equal parts humorous and questionable. Tedesco, a controversial Wake County school board member, uses unsourced quotes about his tenure to promote himself as a fighter, as a photo slideshow rotates in the background. More than once Tedesco juxtaposes himself against the Rev. William Barber, state NAACP President .

He also prominently shows a headline from a News & Observer story that apparently says “Tedesco’s the one.” The problem is he cropped the photo to cut the first half of the headline, which reads in full “It takes forever: Tedesco’s the one.”

The story actually is far from glamorous. It discusses the 56 rounds of voting it took for the Wake County school board to approve him as vice chairman, a move that showed great discord among the board’s Republican majority.

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