This morning, my delightful, lively, and always totally off-topic Freshman Composition class got on the subject of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) testing that apparently takes place in K-12 schools every year. (We had been reading about the Declaration of Independence, which led to mention of Thomas Jefferson, and in turn brought up the terrific Texas Board of Education’s recent idea to avoid any exploration of Jefferson’s philosophies or purported philandering.) Anyway. While I do remember taking a few standardized tests as a kid – especially in elementary school – the Texas version of making sure that learning is not occurring, at least according to my classmates, is to focus almost entirely on testing.

This single-minded focus is allegedly so intense that schools encourage their educators and students to wear “motivational” TAKS tee-shirts during testing season. Since the only education-oriented motivational shirt I’ve ever seen is one that a guy named Adam craftily spray-painted for an AP European History exam back in 1999 or 2000, I had a hard time believing that mass-market, test-oriented clothing existed. However, my trusty friend Google confirmed this, providing me with multiple TAKS-related clothing sites, including this one, which has the above gem for sale. Your’s for the asking? Are you fucking kidding me? I might be willing to dismiss the your’s as a placeholder for “‘s for the asking” were it not for the fact that said placeholder already exists on the design.Dear Texas, please shut up. Sincerely, history.

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