State of mind

By Joe Duty | Published Wednesday, December 21, 2011

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Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“If you must hold yourself up to your children as an object lesson, hold yourself up as a warning and not as an example.”
– George Bernard Shaw

A boy dressed in blue grips a point on a monumental rust-colored star. He leans into it like he’s holding onto a meteor as it arcs through ether into the unknown.

A massive Star of Texas stands outside the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum on Congress Avenue in Austin. It lies two blocks north of the Capitol.

But the boy is not holding onto the star. Rather, he’s holding it up like some undersized Atlas. On his shoulders rest the weight of standardized testing issued from nearby halls and the burden of state budget cuts and a continued bricklaying of unfunded mandates.

The boy and his peers are ready to fly into the future, if they don’t first get crushed beneath the heavy, grinding gears of an unmanageable system.

Our roaming photographer captured this image last Friday as he followed a group of seventh-grade students from Decatur taking a field trip to the seat of Texas government.

His photograph told the story of children waiting for their turn, and the agony that sometimes entails.

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