Wake County school board member John Tedesco has approached several African-American leaders to be a part of the economically disadvantaged student performance task force.
Tedesco said he's contacted several people, including Raleigh City Councilman James West, Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association President Daniel Coleman and the Rev. Patrick Wooden, the pastor of Raleigh's Upper Room Church of God in Christ. He said he's been asking people who are leaders and who represent a broad section of the community.
Tedesco said he has not asked the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, to participate on the task force. Both men have had a war of words over the new school board majority's plan to end the diversity policy.
But Tedesco has asked supporters of the diversity policy to be on the task force. The RWCA is one of the groups that joined the Great Schools in Wake Coalition to support the diversity policy.
Wooden is perhaps best known locally for his annual efforts to encourage shoppers to only patronize stores that use the greeting "Merry Christmas." He's argued that saying "Happy Holidays" is part of an anti-Christian effort.
Tedesco is using his prerogative as chairman of the task force to identify which community members will take part. Unlike regular board committees, the task force doesn't have to get community members approved by the full board.
Tedesco said he's planning on taking the task force into the community as part of the mandate to recommend ways to lower suspensions, raise student achievement and improve the graduation rate.
Tedesco said he'll hold meetings in Southeast Raleigh and Garner. He said they'll meet at various times of the day and on weekends too to try to make the meetings more convenient for people.