Utopia 23: Graduation Day

In many places, the report discusses critical thinking,  complex problem solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication  (a.k.a. 21st-century competencies). We read about goals of creating  inquisitive, creative, resourceful thinkers, informed citizens,  effective problem [solvers], groundbreaking pioneers, and visionary  leaders. But the report also clearly articulates the importance of  data-based instruction and data-based decisions. How does this report  imagine education in the context of quantitative data and qualitative  experience?

The report says data, data, data. I get it.  But the report also says schools can’t be ‘information factories.’  Where do those ends meet?

The focus of the federal and  state governments on high-stakes testing is in direct contradiction to  creating an environment where humans learn best. Furthermore, it  perpetuates the idea that all students should be the same. Students are  not the same. People are not the same. … Stop attaching funding to only  standardized test scores. Then, perhaps schools could begin moving  towards creating an environment where 21st-century skills can develop.–Bill  MacKenty eSchool News

Utopia:  Graduation

Alone in his classroom, Jack contemplated  the box he had taken down from the highest storage shelf in the room.   It had a year’s worth of dust adhered to its surface.  Jack removed his  handkerchief and rubbed the box free of dust.  Then he lifted the lid  and gazed down at the carefully folded cloth within.  It was exactly as  he had left it, one year ago today.  His hand drifted down the front of  the robe caressing the fine linen.  It had come to him from his  predecessor, when Jack had replaced the retiring educator.  Despite its  age the robe showed no signs of wear.   Jack had gone to the Tlaquepaque  Grange, known for its art community, to have the robes altered to fit  him and delicately cleaned before he had worn them for the first time.   That day had filled him with as much pride as the children whom he had  watched graduate.  Then he had carefully folded the robe into this box  as he had every year since then.

Today was different.  Today he  would not just be one of the educators in robes in the background.   Today he and his class took center stage.  Today he would pay homage to  this ancient custom.   To graduation.  And today would likely be the last time he  would don these robes.  He drew in breath and exhaled  slowly, closing his eyes and letting the wave of anxiety pass over him.  These were to remain his  until he passed them to his successor. And today was not that day he  told himself.

Jack  hefted the robe gingerly from the box.  The smell of the fine, old  cloth filled the air.   It was a smell Jack was exposed to only on this  one day every year and  it set the mood for the moment.  But today the  mood had  a bitter-sweet undertone for Jack.

The Corona School  robe was jet black with three dark green velvet stripes over the  sleeves.  The student always wore complimentary green satin robes which  they borrowed from the school.  Jack slid his arms into the master’s  robe.  The weight of the robe, with all its various pleats and long  voluminous sleeves, always surprised him.  He was wearing the lightest  weight tunic he could find to compensate for the heat the tightly woven  cloth produced.  He pulled the cowl from the box.  Its light blue velvet  trim representing his mastery of the field of education stood out  against the black linen.  The interior of the cowl was gold satin and it  was crossed by three chevrons of different shades of green.  One for  each of the institutes of higher learning that had led to his masters  degree and Corona’s own dark green.  He fitted it to the clip at the  front of the robe so it did not choke him.  Finally he fitted the mortar  board on his head with some clumsiness.  He was not at all used to  wearing something on his head.  Particularly something flat with a  tassel that dangled just within the edge of his vision on the left;   distracting him with each turn of the head.

In the weeks since their return from the desert,  the class had been in preparation for this day.  Jack had spent his  remaining time with them preparing them for their next step toward their  secondary education.  He had advised all of them about which classes he  felt they needed or would find to their liking.  Mixing the classes so  no student would have too heavy a load or be unchallenged.  He had pushed them to try  new things.  Had encouraged them to hone the talents they already  possessed.  All but one.  That one absence bored a hole in Jack’s heart.

Will had tried to ask questions on Andy’s  behalf but Jack had been firm with him.  He had explained to Will time  and again that it was not what Andy’s parents wanted, and therefore not  something Jack could do; as much as he had wanted to.

Properly clad, Jack took one more look  around before he left his classroom.  He stepped into the dazzling  Spring light and paused to allow his eyes to adjust.  Then he began to  make his way to the table on stage to join his fellow educators.

As he approached he  saw one of his fellow educators, Camile, bending the ear of her  neighbor, Barlow.  Barlow abruptly waved her off and her head snapped up  to see Jack’s approach.  She visibly blushed and looked away.  Jack  also looked away from the pair. A second later he was sitting at his  usual seat.  Neither of his neighbors seemed in the mood for  conversation…or congratulations for that matter.

Jack sat with his  gaze unfocused, trying to remember what he would say to each of his  students as they passed by him to collect their diploma.  He had sat in  this seat eight time before, but had only looked on as others had said  good-bye to their charges of nine years.  This time he and Educant  Lorring would be handing out diplomas and saying good-bye.  He had  prepared something for each and every student.  Something just for  them.  Some bit of personal encouragement or patriarchal advice as he  passed the diploma to them.

He sat with the early morning sun already making  him uncomfortably warm inside the heavy black material of he robe.  The  hood and the hat only added to the stuffy sense of confinement.  His  mind meandered while he waited and his eyes drifted over the crowd.   Looking at all the familiar faces of students and parent but making eye  contact with none of them.

It was a commotion at the edge of the stage that  finally grabbed Jack’s attention.  Jack saw several of his students  standing in an excited huddle with Marion actually jumping up and down  and all of them talking excitedly.  He could not fathom what had brought  this on.  He sat judging whether he should go to break up the class and  put the proper solemnity to the mood again when the music began to play  and the circle broke apart.  The students began to line up as they and  been instructed.  Jack sat back with his eyes again unfocused as a sea  of dark green graduate robes passed before him in springy exuberant  excitement.  He concentrated on the speech he had memorized and the  words of inspiration he was to give.

The music came to a close as the students were  seated and Jack looked down into the line of eager faces.  There he saw  what had caused their excitement.  Near the front of the seated students  sat Andy.  His parents had let him return for just this one day.  Andy  caught Jack’s gaze and his face broke into a toothy grin.  Jack’s heart  leapt to his throat and he smiled back at the boy.

Speeches were  given by various members of the faculty including Jack and then before  he could catch his breath or think his students were lined up before  him.  Jack encouraged Fahrid to pursue his writing and his poetry.  He  told Marion she had a way with people.  He told Tanner to continue to  experiment with life and thinking outside the box even when others found  such behavior hard to take.  And then Andy stood before him.  He had  not thought of anything to tell Andy and in the excitement of seeing the  boy nothing had come to him either.  He simply signed, “I’ve missed  you.  We’ve all missed you.”

Andy replied, “I missed you too.”

“Congratulations,  Andy.  You deserve it.”

Andy took the diploma with a thank you  and turned to head off the stage.  Then he turned and hugged Jack  briefly before he fled the stage holding the diploma high over his  head.  Jack felt warmth at the corners of his eyes and blinked back the  tears, but he was still grinning madly when he turned to tell Svana that  she played the piano beautifully and he hoped that she would invite him  to a recital some day.

Ms.Grant then made a brief speech and  presented the class to the audience.  The air was filled with green  mortar boards and whoops of triumph, and then the entire scene dissolved  into groups of people congratulating the new graduates.  Jack waited in  his seat until most of the students were engaged in some social circle  and then slowly collected himself to go.  He made it off the stage  before he heard Ted’s voice hailing him.  He turned to see Ted and Kate  flanking their son Andy.

“Educant Randall.”  Ted started.  Jack  cringed a little inside.  Ted had been calling him “Jack” since Andy’s  first year and the formality Ted now used burned Jack as much as  anything Ted could have said.

“Yes, Mr. Clay.”  Jack returned the  formality though it pained him to do so.

“I understand that you  are to stand before the Educator’s Board in Sacramento.  That your  license is in question.”

So that was it.  That was why  Ted had  allowed Andy to come to his own graduation.  So he could rub Jack’s nose  in it.  Jack turned to face Ted completely now.  His back stiff and his  jaw clenched, Jack glared defiantly at the man.  His voice was  almost  a  low growl when he answered, “That’s correct.”

“I was wondering  if the favorable testimony of Andy’s father would have any sway with  the Board?”

Jack hesitated, unsure.  Was the man making a cruel  joke or was he serious?, “I am sure that it would.”

“I have been  reminded lately,”  Ted looked to his right where his wife stood with a  slight smirk on her lips, “that I have not lived my life without making  mistakes, and that I have been lucky when I did make them and  forgiveness was forth coming.  I have been reminded that our society  only works because we take turns and that it was my turn to forgive.”

“You  would come and tell the Board what?”  Jack was still too stunned to  react.

“That you are an exemplary educator.  That my son thinks  the world of you and that he would not have come so far so fast if it  was not for you.  That you made one miscalculation and that does not  make you less of an educator.  That it is wasteful to throw away a  perfectly good educator over one incident that can not be undone.”

Jack  stood frozen in stunned silence.

Kate stepped forward,   “Educant…Jack?”

That was enough to snap Jack out of his shocked  silence.  “I would be proud to have you speak for me.”  Jack held out  his hand.

Ted looked down at Jack’s hand for a moment and then  looked him in his face and took his hand and gave it a vigorous hard  shake.

The Concepts behind the Fiction:

1.  Teacher’s  Pet

The nation’s  struggling K-12 education system has a persistent achievement gap between  white and and minority students, a dismal 69 percent  average high school graduation rate, and U.S. students trail behind  other nations in math and science proficiency. —ABC

Today,  the United States stands 10th in the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds  who have earned a post-secondary degree. We’re behind Canada, Japan,  South Korea, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Denmark and  France.–Washington Post

“Quality public education is the civil  rights issue of our generation.”  Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan, Obama’s Sec of Education, has a big  agenda.  He wants 100% graduation from high school and to lead the world  again in college graduates by 2020.  Granted this smacks of a publicity  stunt but I must admit that his resume did at least impress me.

In the Chicago  Public Schools, where 85 percent of the 400,000-plus students live  below the poverty line, test scores, attendance, and teacher retention  all went up during Duncan’s seven-year tenure, while the dropout rate  declined.  Edutopia

Last year he launched a program in 20  Chicago schools to pay students for grades, funded by private  donations.  He raised the ire of the teachers union by closing failing  Chicago schools and, he said, “moving all of the adults out.” ABC

Mr.  Ducan’s Race to the Top wants to do  several things at once:

       #Increase the number of charter schools.

    *Increase the amount of time that kids are in school including summers and weekends.
    #Increase the school hours to 12-15 hours a day so  they can become hubs of adult education as well.

       #Make schools the center of their community  with activities for whole families, daycare for working parents, classes  for parents, family literacy night and health care clinics.

Who is this man?  This Arne Duncan?  When he talks  like this he sounds like one of us…those on the far left.  Those who  never get invited to the table.  Could he be?  Did one of us BS the  administration enough to get in?

Well  maybe not.  Like much of the Obama administration, it sounds good but  the reality falls short of the rhetoric.

2.  The Problem

“When we give our children real opportunities, real  support, real guidance, have the highest of expectations, they can do  unbelievable things. That’s what drives me everyday, is knowing how much  potential children have if we as adults meet them half way.”–Arne  Duncan ABC

Even before George Bush II, the education system in the US  was falling apart.  Graduation rates were dropping and we were falling  behind the rest of the world in college educated individuals and in  innovations that can be attributed to Americans.  

John Taylor Gatto, in his well researched book The Underground  History of American Education, pointed out that schooling was  deliberately dumbed down to aid corporations in finding a docile work  force.  I have covered his works elsewhere in this series.

But  there was  another issue that also devastated US schooling.  The need  to avoid controversy.  The most famous example is the debate over  evolution.  A debate that has raged in American schools and courts for  well over 100 years now.  You can see where American schools would want  to avoid that.  So much so that they define education almost exclusively  as math and literacy in English.  All other studies are to open to  debate and controversy.  Art, literature, drama, history, science,  debate, politics, journalism, sports are all seen as expendable.  Their  beauty and usefulness are in the eyes of the beholder.  What should be  taught and what should be left out is too debatable.  And so we are left  with only the most rigid and quantifiable of subjects.  Also the least  imaginative and innovative.

No Child Left Behind  told states to set their own benchmarks for education and told them how  to reach those benchmarks–through standardized tests of math, and  reading that were produced by a handful of corporations.  These  corporations did not necessarily make well written tests or tests that  actually measured students’ ability to comprehend the material.  All  funding for the schools and whether a school would even continue to  exist was attached to those test scores.  What corporations did make is a  financial profit.

The result was like  throwing gas on a lit fire.  The standardization further eroded any joy  from the educational process.  Any attempt to teach children to think  critically or enjoy learning in general was abandoned for rote  memorization of test material in order to increase test scores for the  school.  Children who did graduate had little ability to do much but  stretch their capacity for short term memory of trivia.  They were  unable to handle college let alone the problems of tomorrow.  During  this time graduation rates did increase.  But the number of college  Freshmen relegated to remedial courses in their first year went up  dramatically.  These students stayed in college 1-2 semesters and then  quit, leaving them in debt, and worse off than if they had never  attended college at all.

Additionally, the system  awarded money and incentives to schools that were already ahead in the  nation.  In short it gave unequal monies to schools in rich, white  neighborhoods instead of trying to level the playing field for under  advantaged schools.  A truly capitalistic ideal.  This further separated  an already unequal system.  

To bolster his  point, Delbanco cites the remarkable finding of Donald E. Heller, the  director of Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, that  “the college-going rates of the highest-socioeconomic-status  students with the lowest achievement levels is the same level as  the poorest students with the highest achievement levels.” I added the  italics to underscore the not-so-hidden injuries of class.–Washington Post

It is in this crisis of education that Obama hires  Arnie Duncan and Race to the Top is born. In No Child Left Behind the  states set their own benchmarks and were rewarded for reaching them; so  the pressure was to set low goals.  No Child Left Behind was also very  stringent about how the goals were achieved.  There was essentially no  room for experimentation.

Race to the Top takes the exact  opposite approach.  The states compete for limited federal dollars.   They are in competition to set their goals ever higher and then achieve  those goals. Race to the Top includes wording encouraging states to  adopt international benchmarks for children to achieve success in  college and careers.  He wants the schools or the states to have data  bases that track what happens with the students.  Did they go to  college?  Did they graduate on time?  Did they get a job in their field  on graduation?  His idea was to hold the states accountable to high  performance but to allow the states to come up with their own way of  getting there.  Race to the Top says very little about how the state  should achieve its goal. Instead states are set at each others throats  competing for the same federal dollars with achievement test scores and  compliance to federal wishes being the measure of success.

Under Race to the Top guidelines, states  seeking funds will be pressed to implement four core interconnected  reforms.

— To reverse the pervasive  dumbing-down of academic standards and assessments by states, Race to  the Top winners need to work toward adopting common, internationally  bench-marked K-12 standards that prepare students for success in college  and careers.

— To close the data gap  — which now handcuffs districts from tracking growth in student  learning and improving classroom instruction — states will need to  monitor advances in student achievement and identify effective  instructional practices.

— To boost  the quality of teachers and principals, especially in high-poverty  schools and hard-to-staff subjects, states and districts should be able  to identify effective teachers and principals — and have strategies for  rewarding and retaining more top-notch teachers and improving or  replacing ones who aren’t up to the job.

— Finally, to turn around the lowest-performing schools, states  and districts must be ready to institute far-reaching reforms, from  replacing staff and leadership to changing the school culture.–

Arne  Duncan, Sec of Education about Race to the Top

This approach  is not without its critics.  

So  here’s the deal: At the same time that our federal government is  mustering financial resources to save teachers’ jobs, it’s also pushing  measures to eliminate them. And at the same time that the US Department  of Education is urging educators to focus their programs on ambitious  learning goals and qualitative learning experiences, it’s doing  everything it can to undermine those goals by focusing on a narrow  curriculum and strict, quantitative measures. This cognitive  dissonance that characterizes the Obama administration’s  approach to education reform isn’t anything new. —Open Left

So despite the rhetoric that Race to the Top is  completely different than No Child Left Behind, and that it promotes  curriculum goals of teaching “collaboration and multimedia  communication” and  “personalizing learning”; it leaves several basic  faults with our educational system intact.  The emphasis on only two key  areas of learning to the exclusion of all else, the use of high stakes  testing, the rewarding of schools already doing well and the schools not  doing well are closed down.  The value of evaluating our education  system on high stakes testing remains an unanswered question.

3.  A Mind is a  Terrible Thing to Waste

“Schooling  is not just about getting a job.  Schooling is about getting a life.”–Diane Ravitch, former Assistant  Secretary of Education and counselor to Education Secretary Lamar  Alexander under President George H.W. Bush and was appointed to the  National Assessment Governing Board under President Clinton. She is the  author of over twenty books, is research professor of education at New  York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

She’s long been known as an advocate of No  Child Left Behind, charter schools, standardized testing, and using the  free market to improve schools. But she’s had a radical change of heart,  as chronicled in her latest book, The Death and Life of the Great  American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education.

I must admit that when I first heard that there was  a  turn away from the traditional public school to publicly funded charter schools, I was thrilled.  You see,  my experience with charter schools was positive.  My daughter had gone  to two charter schools and about 3 traditional public schools.  (We  moved around quite a bit.)  The charter schools were far and away the  better of the two.  But there was one caveat.  The charter schools my  daughter attended were more or less run by the parents with heavy  parental control and involvement.  The public schools only allowed  parents to have control over fund raising decisions.

[Just in case  you are wondering how that turned out, my daughter is currently on the  Dean’s Honor Roll at her university.]

Initially  trade unions and workers groups supported the charter school movement.   Any group of teachers or parents could form and run a charter school.   Those schools were seen as being more closely tied to their communities  and under the control of the parents.  That is definitely what I  experienced as well.

At the end of the Clinton administration,  however, Congress passed the New Market tax credit.  This allowed a 39%  federal tax credit to banks and equity funds if they invested in  community projects in underserved communities.  For the last several  years this tax credit has been used to fund charter schools.  Investors  in these charter schools would loan money to the charter school and gain  interest as well as the 39% tax credit combined with other tax credits  like historic preservation or brownsfields credits.  The end result was  that the investors would double their  money in about 7 years.  These are huge rents that are coming from state funds. Often, there are interlocking  relationships between the charter school boards and the nonprofit  groups, like the Gates Foundation, that organize and syndicate the  loans.  A whole industry has arisen from creating charter schools for  this tax credit and now most charter schools are created through  corporations  and not parents and teachers.  Most of these new charter  schools are nonunion and the teacher’s unions have turned away from this  movement.

New Orleans after Katrina showcased this new  charter school system.  All the teachers were fired.   Unions were  disassembled.  Corporations were hired to create charter  schools.  Upper managers of schools were brought in and paid very well  ($300-500K).  Teachers on the other hand were  still paid relatively poorly and they were locked out of the decision  making process.  These corporations frequently saw teachers as  expendable commodity.  They hired teachers out of college who were  willing to work 60-70 hours a week.  These teachers would then burn out  and leave, while a new set of young teacher were hired to replace them.

Detroit and Chicago are undergoing this transformation now.   Underfunded community schools which did have parental involvement are  being closed.  They are being replaced by charter schools run by  foundations which are setting the goals for the schools without input  from the communities they serve.  People in Detroit report going to a  “participatory meeting” and discovering that they were to participate in  fund raising or other work for the school but not the decision making.   Additionally, if a community comes together to create a charter school,  Race to the Top says they have to compete against these already well  funded national charter foundations and they are of course unable to do  so.  All but 2 of the 16 finalist schools in Race  to the Top had help from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.   Additionally the Gates Foundation gave grants of up to $250,000  to some  of the states.  It sounds more and more like corporate  management of our schools.  It appears that the Gates Foundation is  taking up where the Carnegie Foundation left off with compulsory school.

Meanwhile, these corporations are locked in a heated  battle with each other over the brightest children with the highest test  scores.  This is a crucial element of Race to the Top.  Less gifted  children, it appears, could attend a traditional public school.  Thus a  two tiered system has begun to emerge.  When the  schools do not get the results they want, then the teachers are to  blame, even when they have little or no say over the curriculum.

What  I am seeing from the Obama administration is not an example of what my  daughter grew up with, but something entirely different.  Duncan wants  to increase the number of charter schools, but he wants them run by  corporations that do so professionally.  This is yet another example of  public works being privatised.  These corporations  run schools on an even more business centric model than our traditional  schools.  Turning American public schools into business operations,  notwithstanding the fact that the very business principles they insist  will rescue our educational system are the ones that have left many  American workers behind as their jobs were outsourced to other  continents.  Dog eat dog competition is favored over cooperation.   The parents of children in these schools are even more locked out of  the decision making process.  In fact there is no avenue at all for  community input in many of these schools.  Think tanks and foundations  are consulted instead.  The Gates Foundation and Eli Brode Foundation  have far more input than the community in the education of its  children.  And there is no transparency as the corporation consider much  of their decision making trade secrets.

4.  More is Not  Always Better
Duncan wants children in school more days and more hours.   He does make some valid points.  Children come back from the long Summer  break having forgotten much of what they knew the year before.  They  are in a constant state of catch up instead of building on what they  already knew.

Our current school system is based on an agrarian schedule.  With  less than 1% of families earning a living as farmers this no longer  makes much sense.  Also many children are raised in homes with single  parents or both parents working.  They have to arrange childcare or take  opposite work hours so the adults can no longer see each in other to  care for their kids.  Industry meanwhile gets to use these employees  without being responsible for child-rearing, a vital part of our  society.

I have been a parent for schools that teach a  traditional schedule as well as year round.  I prefer the traditional  because at least I have some hope of spending time as a family at  Christmas and summer.  The year round school year does not allow much  time and all the people in the town want vacation at the same time  because the students are off.

When my grandfather died, my family  went to the funeral in the next state.  This trip took one week in the  middle of the school year.  When I returned to school I was told I would  get a D on a certain project because my parents had had the poor sense  to take me out of school.    If anything the school has become more  militant since I was a student.  Actually making kids with 4.0 take the  year over if they have too many absences.  In another episode I even told  you about one child who lost a valuable scholarship to an Ivy League  school because of the school policy toward absence.  [The fate of that  school, I just learned, was to be closed due to karma  funding cuts.]

I have the same problem with throwing money  at our problems as throwing time at them.  If there is no overarching  plan for the money or the time both are wasted.  The “hippie” school  that my daughter attended was on a laughable shoe string of a budget.   Almost everything in the school was donated and the building itself was  made by parents and students.  My experience also leads me away from  more time spent being better.  When my daughter went to the “hippie”  school that put her 2 grades ahead of her peers, she actually went to  school less.  Four days a week and with more than a month more vacation  time.  Yet that school blew the doors off the public schools in the  area.  It is not about quantity.  It is about quality.

It used to be that one of the  things I loved most of  all during summer was reading. When my daughter went to school that love  was beaten out of her by reading lists.  Instead of reading what she  wanted during summer she was assigned someone elses’s idea about what  she should be reading. Apparently even the limited amount of free will  exercised in recreational reading was too much for our current  educators.  And so reading, even in summer, became work.

More hours for  students without any other improvement means more stuff to memorize and  more kids bored out of their minds.  It means less time for children to  investigate their own talents and abilities.  It means more time for  them to conform to someone else’s standards.  That is not an  improvement.  Kids need time to themselves to develop their own ideas,  likes and dislikes, imagination, etc.  More time would serve to only  make kids more dull and listless and more subservient to adults.  And  eventually it would create subservient adults.
If Duncan’s  whole vision is taken into account, more school time could be a good  thing, but only if the added hours were not regimented.  If it were  moderately supervised time with access to library, computers, sports  equipment.  If the added time spent at school could be something less  micromanaged.  Perhaps student projects or daycare type activities, then  I could see doing this.

5.  The Heart of the Community
Arne Duncan  wants the school to become the center of the community.  In fact he  wants it to be the “heart” of the community.  No really…he said that  on The Colbert Report.

The fact that anyone in the government wants  community to exist at all is heartening.  His vision is to use this  public tax payer built building all the time.  Not just 9-3.  That it  should be open late into the night as a day care center, health care  center, adult education center.  A place not just for adults to dump  kids so they can trudge off to be wage slaves, but to actually meet the  neighbors later and discuss how things could be…should be.  A place to  get the education you need to break free from your slavery.

Unfortunately, Chicago’s schools under Duncan  indicate a different philosophy
.  Poorly preforming schools were  closed.  The students at the smaller schools were ever shifted to larger  schools which were also doing poorly.  The closed schools, instead for  bringing community together, left gaping holes in their communities.

Its  a pity he was not sincere about this concept.  It was the one concept  about which I had nothing negative to say.


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  1. Gradual



  2. …. the upper part of this is almost impossible to follow with the tinier text, lack of spacing, and no quotation marks.

    “this is a quote”  

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