im·bro·glio (n.): an extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation.
If that doesn’t sum up the state of education in the United States,
I don’t know what does.
We once enjoyed a decades-long bipartisan consensus that produced modest progress but never quite lived up to its promise. That consensus has since dissipated, driven by a new breed of politician bent on politicizing our schools.
One step forward, two steps back.
Parents and kids are fed up. They want bold change — not incremental progress, culture war scapegoating, or political pet projects.
This is a newsletter from The Branch about how we bring about that education revolution. Most of our posts will focus on the future of K-12 and higher education, but we’ll also cover the imbroglio itself — the politics, misdirection, the excuse-making, the mediocrity. Occasionally we’ll also meander into the general science of learning outside of the traditional education system.
In short, if you care about building up the next generation, this is the newsletter for you.
About the Author:
My name is Ravi Gupta. I'm a veteran educator and political operative. I worked for Obama’s first campaign and eventually for his administration until one day when I had a Devil Wears Prada moment and (metaphorically) threw my Blackberry in a fountain.
I did a spiritual and professional 180, launching a public charter school in North Nashville, a neighborhood that had the largest concentration of incarcerated males in the country, where the zoned public school graduated fewer than one percent of its kids with a college ready ACT score. Despite the odds, our students produced jaw-dropping results, for years ranking first among Tennessee’s charter schools for student growth by both the state and by Stanford University.
After a few years serving as that school’s principal, I teamed up with some other school leaders to scale a network of schools and eventually went on to found Mississippi’s first charter school. Our schools were routinely what they called "upper right quadrant schools" — meaning we had high percentages of students with free and reduced lunch and high achievement.
I stepped down from CEO of my school network in 2016 to focus on a series of political projects. And I’ve recently founded The Branch, a non-profit media company aimed at fighting misinformation and polarization online. We’ve made it central to our mission to advance a forward-looking vision for our kids and this newsletter is a critical step in that direction.