Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County Board of Education member John Tedesco has been named president and chief executive of a new education reform group.
The nonprofit North Carolina Center for Education Reform bills itself as "a catalyst to empower, innovate and transform education on behalf of the children of North Carolina." It is trying to address issues like student suspension, dropout rates and low test scores.
"John Tedesco is a passionate advocate for educational reform," the group said in a statement. "He has been a direct force for student achievement, personally pushing advanced rigor, new data systems, increased participation in advanced mathematics for all students, expansion of themed academies for STEM and Global Studies and the creation of both the Economically Disadvantaged Student Performance Task Force and four Renaissance Schools."
Tedesco has been a lightning rod for criticism on the school board for his efforts to end the long-standing practice in Wake County to assign students to schools to create socioeconomic diversity in favor of neighborhood schools. His work was halted last fall fellow Republican board member Debra Goldman sided with Democratic school board members to kill the student assignment plan he was working on.
Superintendent Tony Tata has been working in recent months on a plan that includes some aspects of the neighborhood schools plan.
Tedesco resigned his position as chief development officer for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Triangle more than a year ago. He said at the time that he wanted to focus on his work with the school board, although he also suggested that proponents of student diversity had pressured Big Brothers, Big Sisters because of his work.