Approaching the Saint Ignatius Portal

Saint Ignatius West Portal

You can mark out this week, as far as educating students in Texas goes.  It is TAKS testing.  Four hours a morning, our students are taking state standardized tests that are being phased out, and then our district runs the students through their regular classes throughout the afternoon for another four hours (30 minutes a class), assuming that they are getting further educated.  In two weeks, we will wipe out another three days, with the new (and improved?) STAAR testing–same thing–test them all morning, then pretend to educate them further by forcing them through their abbreviated afternoon classes.  Texas thinks it is educating students with all these standardized tests, when in reality the state continues its slide to the bottom of the nation with the SAT scores.  Our state-mandated tests appear to have little-to-nothing to do with SAT success (when did they ever?).  But tell that to our governor and legislature.  They are the education experts.  Just listen to our Texas governor speak publicly, and you know immediately what kind of premium he places on an educated mind.

Teachers are allowed one day duty-free from the testing.  This is my day.  I will begin my fake classes at 12:15.  So, the morning has been spent in the watercolor studio, and I’m just about to finish the west portal of Saint Ignatius Academy.  Looking at the remains of this bastion of education probably has me bemoaning the condition of Texas public education.  The Jesuits knew how to train the intellect, and students passing through their corridors exited with trained minds.

It still bugs me to watch our Republican-majority legislature and tax payers hold their noses when “public education” is brought up, while they look for every possible means to starve that beast, revenue-wise, and at the same time insist on higher standards.  Makes sense, huh?

After school today, I hope to begin work on this monumental sculpture just outside the Saint Ignatius portal.  I have admired this monument, studying closely the photos I took, but kept procrastinating the rendering of it in watercolor, probably because I’m concerned about how to make her stand out against that facade background.  But, I guess her time has now come.  We’ll see what transpires this afternoon.  I still have less than two hours to shower, dress, groom, fix lunch, and then head to school to pretend to accomplish something in each 30-minute class originally designed for 90 (I’ll have four of them in a row, in four different classrooms, on two floors, without a break–groan).  But hey, at least the students got to take that phased-out TAKS test throughout the morning, so the day wasn’t a total waste, right?  I believe this is the final year of TAKS testing before we move on to the new-and-improved STAAR standardized test.  Bring it.  Texas can brag all she wants about her state-mandated, standardized testing scores, but as long as this state remains the bottom-feeder of the nation with its SAT results, all that bragging will be nothing more than political showmanship.  Our universities and corporations could not care less about Texas high school test scores.

My musical company throughout the morning has been Neil Young’s “Live Rust” and Rare Earth’s “Get Ready” (both on vinyl).  Great stuff to listen to while painting in the studio.  And the weather this morning has been cool, the sunlight bright and clear, and the ambiance positively delicious.

Thanks for reading.

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One Response to “Approaching the Saint Ignatius Portal”

  1. asmalltowndad Says:

    Another wonderful beginning and I’m anxious to see the final!


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