The NCGA’s Plan to Make School Performance Grades Fuel Voucher Expansion

Public Schools First NC (PSFNC.org), an organization that supports advocacy of public education in North Carolina, regularly sends out very informative factoids through social media that give texture to the landscape of the politics associated with public education.

With the current recess of the General Assembly after its disastrous budget proposal for public education, it takes a lot of eyes to sift through the muck and make sure that all deficiencies are identified and brought to light because those who made this budget did so behind closed doors without political discourse and with partisan agendas. PSFNC.org is invaluable in that respect.

One of those agendas is to help ensure that vouchers will continue to be funded and expanded at astronomical rates.

This past summer Public Schools First NC tweeted this graphic:

Budget fact

Those school performance grades are based on a model developed by Jeb Bush when he was in Florida. It’s disastrous and places a lot of emphasis of achievement scores of amorphous, one-time testing rather than student growth throughout the entire year.

It’s part of the “proficiency versus growth” debate that really came to the forefront during the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearings when she could not delineate between whether test scores are used to measure student “achievement” or student “growth.”

The people who made the decision to keep both the school performance grading system formula where it is and still expand vouchers ABSOLUTELY UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROFICIENCY AND GROWTH. IT HELPS TO VALIDATE THEIR WANT OF MORE VOUCHERS.

If one thing is for certain, North Carolina’s school performance grades are a confirmation that student poverty levels have so much to do with how schools perform.

With the tweet sent out last summer, PSFNC.org, also had a link to a quick fact “sheet” about school performance grades in North Carolina. It is very much worth a look on any person’s part, especially public school advocates – http://www.publicschoolsfirstnc.org/resources/fact-sheets/quick-facts-a-f-school-performance-grades-2/?platform=hootsuite.

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There’s a table in the report that talks about the link between these grades and poverty levels from 2015–16 Performance and Growth of North Carolina Public Schools Executive Summary, NC DPI.

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You can also refer to another posting from this blog from last year that talks about the correlation between the grades and state poverty levels – https://caffeinatedrage.com/2016/09/05/map-it-and-it-becomes-very-apparent-that-poverty-affects-schools/.

Interestingly enough, in the school year 2019-2020, the school performance grade scale will shift from a fifteen-point scale to a ten-point scale. Do you know what that means?

IT WILL BE HARDER FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO QUALIFY AS PASSING. IN FACT, SCHOOLS COULD HAVE A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF STUDENT GROWTH AND STILL GET A LOWER SCHOOL PERFORMANCE GRADE!

There will be more failing schools. This comes from a legislative body that endorsed the state board last school year to institute a ten-point scale for all high school grading systems to help ensure higher graduation rates, but now shrinks scales for those schools’ performance grades.

With policies that still hurt the working poor and those in poverty (which in NC affects over 20% of students) and the refusal to expand Medicaid and the other policies that hurt poorer regions, it is almost certain that poverty will have as much if not a bigger role in school performance grades in the near future.

Guess what else is happening in 2019-2010? Voucher expansion!

PSFNC.org made mention of the Opportunity Grants being expanded in a Facebook posting a day ago. It references the following from the recently passed budget by the NC General Assembly:

SECTION 6.6.(b) G.S. 115C-562.8(b) reads as rewritten: “(b) The General Assembly finds that, due to the critical need in this State to provide opportunity for school choice for North Carolina students, it is imperative that the State provide an increase of funds of at least ten million dollars ($10,000,000) each fiscal year for 10 years to the Opportunity Scholarship Grant Fund Reserve. Therefore, there is appropriated from the General Fund to the Reserve the following amounts for each fiscal year to be used for the purposes set forth in this section:
Fiscal Year Appropriation

2017-2018: $44,840,000
2018-2019: $54,840,000
2019-2020: $64,840,000
2020-2021: $74,840,000
2021-2022: $84,840,000
2022-2023: $94,840,000
2023-2024: $104,840,000
2024-2025: $114,840,000
2025-2026: $124,840,000
2026-2027: $134,840,000

For the 2027-2028 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, there is appropriated from the General Fund to the Reserve the sum of one hundred forty-four million eight hundred forty Page 14 Senate Bill 257-Ratified thousand dollars ($144,840,000) to be used for the purposes set forth in this section. When developing the base budget, as defined by G.S. 143C-1-1, for each fiscal year specified in this subsection, the Director of the Budget shall include the appropriated amount specified in this subsection for that fiscal year.”

Read that first line again: “due to the critical need in this State to provide opportunity for school choice for North Carolina students.”

That “critical need” has been created in part by making sure that many schools look bad – i.e., school performance grades. With a shrinking scale, more schools will “fail” and most of those schools will have higher levels of poverty in their student populations.

Those are exactly the students who will be targeted for expanding vouchers, because the Opportunity Grants are supposed to help “low-income” students.

And look when that expansion will start to take place – the school year of 2018-2019 with another 10 million dollars. However, our state budgets go in cycles of two years. That means that the next budget if the powers that be stay in power can come back and expand vouchers even more.

Starting right when those school performance grades change scales.

They know damn well the difference between proficiency and growth – the less proficient public schools look in the eyes of the public through a lens that the NC General Assembly prescribes, the more growth for vouchers in this state.

Keeping It Partisan – Our State Superintendent

And some of those tasked with making schools better are more focused on preserving tired partisan wedges rather than looking for innovative ways to provide more and better opportunities in rural communities.” – Mark Johnson, February 7th in an op-ed he wrote entitled “What I meant about $35K teacher pay” in the News & Observer (http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article198795214.html).

And from the “Official Twitter of NC Superintendent Mark Johnson” on February 16th:

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If you are unaware, Jason Saine is probably one of the more “partisan” lawmakers we have in NC. He is a champion of charter schools.

AND HE IS NOW THE NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL (ALEC).

So much for not being partisan.

The 32-Minute “Run” That Decided the Conference Championship

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In sports, there are times when a team may go through a stretch in which it totally takes over the game, grabs the momentum, and seems to score in bunches either wiping out a deficit or increasing a lead.

In football, we may call it scoring “unanswered” points. In baseball, it is putting together some at bats and having a “rally.”

In basketball, it is called making a “run.”

In a sport that forces you to play both offense and defense in a matter of seconds, the ability to make a run when absolutely needed can do several things. One, it gives your team the confidence that scoring in spurts is possible at anytime, especially when the team can ride the momentum for a while.

Secondly, it always makes the other team feel like they have to “weather a storm” at any given time. It is always in the back of their minds.

But the best aspect of making a run is that it really takes a total team effort. Five players are on the court, but one team is making it happen.

Five moving parts. One entity. Synchronicity. Extreme effort appearing effortless.

“Runs” in a basketball game seem to come when the defense generates instant offense, when hustle breeds more energy, when enthusiasm becomes contagious, when potential gets realized, when all of the conversations in the huddles make sense, when players put team ahead of themselves, and when scoreboard means more than stat sheets.

“Runs” show both heart and mind, involve dedication to executing every fundamental, and giving your teammates better chances at helping the team.

A “run” shows the fans and your supporters that you fully embrace the desire to win.

Rarely in a championship game, does one witness a “32-minute run” – not when the two teams playing know each other so well from multiple competitions and are as highly ranked.

But that’s what happened tonight.

Well done, ladies and coaches.

Malcolm clapped a lot tonight. He sensed you were on a “run.”

Keep it going.

 

 

 

What Happens At Schools Should Teach Us All, Especially What Happened At Douglas High School

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The mass shooting at Columbine High School occurred in 1999. It was my second year of teaching. It changed the American high school landscape. Procedures. Drills. Even the construction of classroom doors altered to be more resistant to break-ins.

Furthermore, Columbine involved no gang members. It took place in an affluent area. The killers had planned to do something. There were warning signs.

The killers were white males. U.S. citizens.

Students whom I teach now were probably born after that event in Colorado, but mention it in conversation, and each one of them knows what happened that day.

One even stated that Columbine no longer ranks as one of the top ten massacres in terms of victim numbers. He was born in 2002.

Almost twenty years later we are in the same country, barely into the second month of the calendar year and we experience the 18th shooting on a school campus of 2018. That’s nearly one every 60 hours. It’s the fifth in which a casualty has occurred.

The killer in the Douglas High School massacre planned his actions. After initial reports of being linked to white supremacist group, any affiliation to any type of group or gang has not been proven.  He was a white male. A U.S. citizen.  There were warning signs.

And Douglas High School does not stand out as being a school in a poor district.

It seems that in a country whose president calls for a wall to keep out immigrants and “criminals,” claims that MS-13 is our biggest enemy, and that we need to focus on mental health when his administration has allowed for cuts to happen to the very agencies that can help with those issues, we would look at this recent shooting as yet another wake up call.

There is a problem with how we treat mental illness. There is a problem with how threadbare we staff schools to make sure we can ensure safety. There is a problem in how we perceive that sending thoughts and prayers can absolve us from action. There is  a problem in how we identify and ignore warning signs.

And there is a problem with how we as a nation can believe that the second amendment means that we can have access to semi-automatic assault weapons like we have access to cigarettes.

These problems are not mutually-exclusive. And if we build some sort of wall, then we will not solve these problems. Why? Because the problems that spawn horrific actions like the ones in Columbine and Douglas High have come from within our country.

It is often told that faith without works is dead.

Thoughts and prayers without action to help make sure things like this don’t happen again is an open invitation that it will in fact happen again.

We need to really look in the mirror.

Honestly.

 

Remember Ladies, You’re The Titans

I imagine most of you have seen the movie Remember the Titans about a public school in Virginia the 1970’s being desegregated and how its football team became a vehicle for positive change.

I watch it every chance I get. There’s a hopeless romantic still inside of me that likes a feel-good movie that actually is based on real events. That and my aunt who is an actress is in it.

It’s rather neat to see her on screen and say, “Hey, I know her.”

titans

We play a clip from the movie before football games that has Denzel Washington’s voice giving a pep talk to his players.

It sounds cliche’, I know. But if you remember, that was an actual team from an actual small town in the south and the local public school was a fundamental part of those kinds of small towns like West is to Clemmons.

West Forsyth is one of those few remaining schools in our area that can be claimed by a small town. It has been that way for three generations. All of 27012 feeds into West along with other surrounding areas of course.

So what happens at West happens to the town. And we are the Titans.

“Family” is a word that you have been using to describe yourselves. It’s on social media and Twitter. It’s also why there is only one name on the back of each jersey to remind you that you are a team, a “family.”

You ladies are a family. Anyone who watches you play sees how you pick each other up, celebrate each other, and refuse to let setbacks keep you from achieving. And you instinctively understand that the power of the team as a whole is more than the sum of the individual parts put together.

Any competitor is disappointed in a loss or less-than-stellar performance. But since March of last year, you have been preparing for this part of the schedule, the season after the season. The real season.

A house is where you keep your belongings. A home is where your family is. Sometimes it is a physical place, sometimes it is metaphorical, but it is always an awareness that you carry with you and keep open for those you care about.

You ladies are family. Have been for a while. Those who cheer for you have seen it. Those you have played against more than know it.

So no matter that color of jersey you wear, you are the “home” team.

There will be a lot of people from your hometown and school to see you play on your “home” court. There will be parents, friends, coaches, students, teachers, and others who may have never played a basketball game in their lives there to watch you play, hopefully for many more games.

And there will be many more following from their homes via social media, texts, phone calls, internet, etc., but expect a crowd at your “home court,” whether it is Simpson Gym or some other hardwood floor.

Baskets are still 10 feet high. Jump stops still will work. Driving to the basket still makes others play defense.

There is no need to tell you that every other team will “remember the Titans.” They’ll know. You will leave it all on the court tonight, Friday, and for the other games.

Just remember that you are the Titans and there will be a very large family gathering when you play.

On our “home court.”

Makes you wonder if we could get a large school flag to wave inside the gym.

Play to win. There is no room to play to not lose.

And as always, it is a joy to be a part of West.

When a “Zero” Becomes a “50” And Other Miracles in Educational Reform

So, are you a glass is half- empty person or a glass is half-full person? It’s a generic question. I know.

Preferably, I would like to be around a water source and not worry if I had enough to fill a glass and just drink my fill.

But there is another way to never have to worry about if a glass is half-full or half-empty. Just pour what you have into a smaller glass and change the paradigm.

That’s exactly what has happened with many school districts in their decisions to make a “50” the lowest possible grade a student could receive for a quarter grade on a report card.

gradebook

Let me explain. In a four quarter system for a yearlong A/B class like an AP course, a student could do absolutely no homework, complete zero papers, and refuse to answer any questions on any assessment and get a true zero percent for a quarter score while that student was present for class on almost all possible days.

I would still have to give that student a “50” for the quarter. That’s ten points below a passing grade for doing nothing.

I could have a student who is busting his/her butt to complete work, but is not mastering the concepts as quickly as others. I offer tutoring, extra credit, and differentiate instruction, but that student is still struggling. That student gets a 65 for the quarter.

I would have to say that there is more than a fifteen point differential in the performance of the two students.

It is hard to fathom, but there are students who literally can do nothing for over half the year (or semester for a block class) and still salvage a passing grade in a class where other students have literally sweated and toiled just to pass. They simply pass two quarters and the state exam, an exam that is not made by the teacher but a third party and graded by a third party who then can designate a conversion formula to alter the outcome.

I don’t like it.

Proponents of this policy for a “50” being the lowest possible quarter grade argue that it allows a student to not be placed in a hole of academic failure for a bad quarter. It gives them a chance to work out of the abyss of failure.

However, when you place a 10 point letter grade system for all high schools in North Carolina where a “60” is a “D”, it means that of the 41 of the possible 51 quarter “averages” one could possibly obtain (60, 61, 62, … to a 100) are passing grades. Only 10 (50, 51 … to 59) are failing. I am not sure that this is saving grades for students or actually enabling many of them to play the system.

Think of it this way. I am getting older. My metabolism is not what it used to be. My body does not have that teenage ability to heal quickly and take the demands of rigorous sports activity. Consequently, I weigh more than I did years ago.

What if all of a sudden, the state’s health department changed the guidelines by which obesity is defined? All of a sudden, in the eyes of the medical community, I am not as overweight as I was in previous days because the labeling has changed; the measurements have changes.

Does that make me healthier all of a sudden? No. My body is still my body. You can’t make it healthier by changing the criteria.

But we can make students more successful academically using the same logic? I don’t think so. What if we extended this policy of inflation for other areas of students’ lives? It would be hard to do that in this economy. Many of the students in my classes today have jobs. If they decided not to show up for work without an excusable reason, then they will get fired. If they drive a car and they (or their families) miss a car payment, then they will lose the car.

I guess my point is that we are not doing students a great favor by artificially raising a bad grade due to lack of performance and work. When doing no work at all can still get you half of the points available in a quarter grade, students might be getting a message that that cushion will exist for them at all times.

It won’t.

A good teacher will work with a student, if the student is willing to work. There is tutoring. There is spending extra time looking over a paper or problem. There is conferencing. There are lots of available options to help a student raise a grade that involves still learning. The grade is authentically earned.

In that respect, students learn to advocate for themselves. And that will serve them wonderfully throughout all of their lives.

West Forsyth WBB Are CPC Champs and a #1 Seed – When You Play With Heart

west forsyth3

The Titan Women’s Basketball Team will always hold a special place in the heart of Malcolm.

Basketball is his favorite sport and he watches the games with an attentiveness that he does not give any other event.

And those ladies who play for the high school in Clemmons, NC have treated him with nothing but class. Before games, two of the players always make it a ritual to come and “fist-bump” Malcolm as a way of “preparing” for battle. Malcolm always gives them a “Boom” right back which if you know Malcolm, he does not do that with many people.

It is commonly known with those familiar with Down Syndrome that kids like Malcolm are very visual in their learning. Consequently, he associates different places with different events or activities.

He knows the road to West Forsyth. It’s another home to him. He knows his way around and a lot of people recognize who he is which is very comforting.

But there are times when we go to away games and Malcolm does not recognize the place. It can set him ill at ease. That’s when I take him inside to see who is playing because he can recognize the uniforms and the players. And for some of those players who go out of their way to acknowledge him, he recognizes their faces and all is well.

Malcolm may not show it, but he does know if West wins. He picks up on a vibe, body language, and atmosphere. But then again, he always thinks of these ladies as winners.

Kid has a big heart.

But tonight, those ladies did not just win the conference championship, they played with heart from beginning to end. They cheered for each other, communicated, worked hard for and with teammates, and won.

Remember that bit about kids with Down Syndrome needing to visualize and see things so they can learn?

Couldn’t have picked a better place tonight for Malcolm to see what happens when a team plays with heart.

Big heart.

Always looking forward to the next game.

 

“For the first time in its history, the Gerber spokesbaby is a child with Down syndrome”

Don’t think that this does not make me smile a little more than a lot – https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/07/health/first-gerber-baby-down-syndrome-trnd/index.html.

And who wouldn’t if there was someone like this smiling back at you with the most sincere display of joy?

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Reminds me of someone I know.

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Malcolm

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Newest Member of the Endangered Species List in NC, the “NorthCackalacky Magister Expertus” – Commonly as the North Carolina Veteran Teacher

7-11-OldTeachersMug

There are many on West Jones Street in Raleigh who are deathly afraid of a certain “genus” of people, and more scared are they of a certain species in that genus that they have exerted great effort to make it endangered in hopes of making it extinct.

The biological classification of this genus / species is called “NorthCackalacky Magister expertus”, otherwise known as the North Carolina veteran teacher.

Interestingly enough, you can still find these “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” in public schools. Many have graduate degrees in education and other vital fields, have due-process rights, and have survived many government-driven initiatives to change curriculum, testing, and evaluation protocols. These veteran teachers have also withstood the failed initiatives of merit pay, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top. Currently many are weathering, but still educating effectively, in the wake of school voucher programs, ridiculous school measurement instruments, and lowered funding. Some even belong to education advocacy associations like NCAE.

And having these “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” in our schools is vital to our students and our communities. Furthermore, they pave the way for newer teachers, also referred to as “NorthCackalacky Magister novi” to mature into “NorthCackalacky Magister experti”. If there are no more “experti”, then the “novi” will not transition into “experti” themselves.

However, many profit-minded political poachers are lurking in legislative chambers hoping to alter the environment for these veteran teachers in hopes to prevent more from coming into fruition. Why? Because veteran teachers with due-process rights have the ability to provide a check and balance for the public school system like none other against the forces of personalities and profit that are mixed in NC’s politics.

And while there are still many “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” in schools now, they are lower in number than five years ago, and those numbers will continue to dwindle if current “environmental stressors” stay in place.

It will get to a point where the “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” will be no longer. They will either go to other states or mutate into another profession.

They will be extinct. And our schools, students, and communities will suffer severely from that.

What actions have been taken to help eradicate our veteran teachers and keep new teachers from becoming veterans in North Carolina? They are many and they are deliberate.

  1. Removal of due-process rights. At one time the NC General Assembly took away due-process rights for all teachers. It was ruled unconstitutional by the court system in the case for those veteran teachers who already got those rights when they became fully certified. However, new teachers in the profession will not get due-process rights in North Carolina. That will surely inhibit those teachers from advocating loudly for schools in the future for fear of reprisal.

And those teachers who had due-process rights may be retiring earlier than expected because of conditions.

“NorthCackalacky Magister novi” cannot fully become “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” if not allowed to stand up for themselves and the students they teach.

  1. Removal of Graduate Degree pay bumps. As with due-process rights, graduate degree pay bumps have been abolished. What once represented the only way (besides National Board Certification) to gain a promotion in pay was to get a relevant graduate degree. While many have argued that teachers with graduate degrees are not more effective, that argument is usually made by people who stand to profit from controlling teacher pay (https://www.ednc.org/2016/04/22/why-teachers-believe-advanced-degrees-matter/).

    “NorthCackalacky Magister novi” cannot fully become “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” if not allowed to work on becoming more qualified.

  2. Salary Scale “adjustments”. This current GOP-led NCGA put into place a new salary schedule a few years ago that literally tops out at a little over $50 K as the highest salary a new teacher could ever make in a thirty-year career. While many in the NCGA claim that salaries have gone up for teachers they lock in on a trivial word – “average”. It’s true that average salaries have gone up, but really only for the newer teachers. Veteran teachers did not receive these kinds of raises.

Besides, it is easier to pay three new teachers than two veteran teachers if you are only looking at the bottom line for salary. However, think of the mentoring and the effect on student achievement coming from those veteran teachers, especially if they are respected by the state.

Oh, and that doesn’t even begin the discussion of the removal of longevity pay, which in NC only applies to teachers.

“NorthCackalacky Magister novi” cannot fully become “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” if they cannot make a salary that allows for them to support a family and/or have a mortgage.

  1. Removal of class size caps. When the legislation removed the caps on class size, it helped to balloon the number of students in a class for teachers. That applies to all teachers, k-12. Some systems made the switch to block scheduling as well for their high schools. Simply put, teachers are teaching more classes with more kids with less planning time and collaboration opportunities.

Also put into consideration the removal of funds for professional development and teachers are forced to either get recertified in the summer on their own time and money, or they have to squeeze that professional development into the school year which takes away time from those bigger classes.

“NorthCackalacky Magister novi” cannot fully become “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” if they are forced to teach so many kids that it takes away from the student/teacher dynamic crucial to learning.

  1. Too many standardized tests. The only thing a citizen has to do is to see how many tests are administered in a public school for the sake of measuring student achievement – EOG’s, EOCT’s, NC Finals, PSAT, PLAN, ACT, AP, ASVAB, etc.,etc.,etc.

And that doesn’t even touch the time needed to review for the exam or to take teacher made exams.

“NorthCackalacky Magister novi” cannot fully become “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” if not allowed to have a say into what is on the test and how those tests are graded.

  1. Inconsistent teacher evaluation programs. Two words – Standard 6. Three more words – Value Added Measures.

“NorthCackalacky Magister novi” cannot fully become “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” if their effectiveness is measured arbitrarily.

  1. Lack of resources and less money per pupil. This has been explained so many times, but it can’t be stated enough.  -(https://caffeinatedrage.com/2016/04/30/north-carolinas-playbook-to-dismantle-public-education/ ):

 

“NorthCackalacky Magister novi” cannot fully become “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” if they constantly are asked to do more with less and watch as charter schools and vouchers suck more money from traditional public schools.

  1. School grading system. This is another “constantly explained” item. From the same posting as above (https://caffeinatedrage.com/2016/04/30/north-carolinas-playbook-to-dismantle-public-education/):

“This letter grading system used by the state literally shows how poverty in our state affects student achievement. What the state proved with this grading system is that it is ignoring the very students who need the most help — not just in the classroom, but with basic needs such as early childhood programs and health-care accessibility. These performance grades also show that schools with smaller class sizes and more individualized instruction are more successful, a fact that lawmakers willfully ignore when it comes to funding our schools to avoid overcrowding.”

“NorthCackalacky Magister novi” cannot fully become “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” if they are constantly being told that their schools are “failing” when they actually show substantial student growth.

Those are eight of the more seen ways that the NCGA has tried to alter the environment to eventually exterminate the “NorthCackalacky Magister experti”. To a certain extent, it has worked. Last year’s teacher turnover report claimed a turnover rate over 10%  It was surely more than that as not all teachers who leave the profession report to DPI their reasons. Some teachers move to another district that may have more local supplement and support to offer. In that case, it could be just the “NorthCackalacky Magister experti” migrating to places where the environment has not been as damaged.

And remember, if a species becomes extinct….

Only One Person is “Attractive Inside of This Moral Kiosk”

“It‘s so much more attractive inside the moral kiosk.”

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It is true that if your ego is both big and fragile enough that everything can be “so much more attractive inside the moral kiosk” especially if it is a kiosk of your own construction.

Possibly one of the most underrated songs of R.E.M. is “Moral Kiosk.” While the fifth song on the Murmur album is uniquely 1980’s, it has morphed from a catchy, dance-able tune that may have been laced with ambiguous lyrics to a song whose verses seem almost eerily pertinent to today’s political landscape.

Imagine having your own floating pedestal that follows you wherever you go that you can climb upon at any time to present yourself as blessed, pure, and most righteous. All who see you upon it immediately look negatively inward and compare themselves unfavorably to you.

This pedestal looks inviting, but no one else is allowed on it but you. It may even look like one of those kiosks in the mall that openly sells some sort of consumable or displays something newsworthy. But no one else is allowed to shop there no matter how much money he/she may have.

It’s like a “moral kiosk” that allows you to look down upon others and pass judgement. In fact, it is surrounded by a glass dome that when viewing the outside world from within automatically casts all others in an inferior light and makes them “little” by belittling them.

“Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper!”– February 5, 2018.

Or “treasonous” (for not clapping for you).

“They were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, ‘treasonous.’ I mean, Yeah, I guess why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country that much.” – February 5, 2018.

The moral kiosk allows you to openly absolve yourself when even the most egregious character defects and “scratched scandals” that would ruin others like grabbing women by the “p***y” or providing hush money to people with whom “idle hands oriented” are washed away with talk of religion.

And there are those who look from the outside in see only grace, humility, and integrity – even supposed “Men of God.”

graham

In a country where so many supposedly benefited from a massive tax break, the idea of having a “magic pillow under head” is still a far-fetched idea for almost everyone. That’s because many do not even have a pillow to sleep upon or a pot to piss in unless it is on loan from the Guggenheim Museum.

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That moral kiosk allows you to script a doctor’s findings in an “official” physical because inside of it you can defy time itself (Horae) and reverse gravity to grow another inch in height from your last physical.

Small hands become “yuge.”

All positive things like unemployment and the stock market are all of your doing.

All negative actions that reflect badly on you are to be blamed on others.

And you are so much more attractive.

At least to yourself.