The LAROS Papers: Part II

An Inside Look at NEA’s Effort To Influence Education Policy in Louisiana

Note: This is the second installment of a four-part series. You can read Part I here.

When Kyle Serrette learned back in February that Louisiana was on the verge of winning an $8 million charter school grant from U.S. Department of Education, he wasn’t happy about the news.

After all, he had spent the previous six months working to establish the Louisiana Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (LAROS), a secret group of education leaders dedicated to securing a statewide moratorium on charter schools. Now that LAROS was ready to implement its plan to slow the growth of charters, the federal government was going to give state education officials a pile of money to expand them. Something needed to be done to stop it.

Kyle Serrette, director of education justice campaigns at the Center for Popular Democracy.

Serrette sent an email to LAROS members asking if anyone had connections inside the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) who could tell them whether the grant had been finalized. If the terms were still being negotiated, Serrette wanted the group “to try to stop millions of new dollars from flowing into Louisiana to start lots more charters most likely in cities other than NOLA.”

In response, Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) president Debbie Meaux immediately reached out to David Shepherd, director of charter development at LDOE, to check on the status of the grant application.

As it turned out, they were too late — the grant was a done deal. Nevertheless, the episode shows that LAROS was willing to use any means necessary to fight charter schools, even if that meant sabotaging a grant that would bring millions of dollars to Louisiana…


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Originally published at on December 7, 2016.