By: Jonathan Phillips

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

― Mark Twain

The word ‘education’, nowadays, is synonymous with school, or how much schooling one has achieved. The more schooling one participates in, the more educated that individual is. Right? The true definition of education is “the knowledge and development resulting from the process of being educated.” Being ‘educated’ means “giving evidence of training and practice.” This definition, provided by Merriam-Webster, tells us that education is knowledge through training and practice. One can go to school and not have the practice and therefore is not necessarily educated in the true sense.

Consider the electrician profession. An individual wanting to become an electrician does not simply graduate electrician school and is automatically a professional. Instead, an electrician must go through a training process to gain experience so that he or she can get acquainted with the role and understand the particulars of the job. Through this process, the individual becomes educated in the role he or she must perform.

We send our children to school hoping that the teachers we trust will teach the foundational materials necessary for their success. To get straight to the point, the current schooling system in the United States of America is failing our kids. It isn’t the teachers’ fault. It is, however, the administration, school boards, and teachers’ unions that are failing our children. I am not saying all of them; I am only saying too many of them.

Case and point: Willis Independent School District, in Texas, has allowed books with extremely explicit language specifically detailing sexual encounters to populate their library book shelves unchallenged for years. Just recently, prior to the school board election, a member of the Muckraker team raised concerns about one book in question. She read parts of passages self-censoring parts of the statements made in the book because the words were so graphic. Had she read this book out loud in public, say a park, she would have been violating part of Title 49 Section 43 of the Texas Penal code.

This is not just happening in Willis ISD. This is happening all over Texas and all over the United States. When these books are challenged, the school administration, school board members, and others run to the defense of these books, vehemently. They cry out “book ban” and “book burning” while personally targeting the parents who brought up the issue in the first place.

When I say “personally targeting” parents and those concerned about our children’s wellbeing, I mean these attackers write venomous articles, troll, and harass anybody that gets in their way. They will lie, obfuscate the issue, and when they are caught will play the victim.

This article was aptly named “Duped” because, as parents, we trusted the school system to do the right thing. What is the right thing? The right thing is to teach math, science, art, and reading – the basics. It is not the school’s duty to teach morals, ethics, and sexuality. These schools have crossed a line when they decided they wanted to be the parent. Too many times I have heard principals, school board members, teacher union representatives, and even President Biden say, “these are our children.” Everybody knows this isn’t figurative speaking, no matter how much the mainstream media likes to provide cover for “misstatements.”

In closing, it is critically important to state that although the election for school board is over for this term, the real work has only just started. You need to be a part of the process now, whether you are a parent, an uncle, a grandparent, a sister, an aunt, or an individual who just graduated from high school. You absolutely need to be part of this process. You are a citizen of the United States of America. As a citizen, you have the power to help govern. You have elected a representative to support your goals, but you still need to support the representative by amplifying their voice, stand by their side, lift them up when needed, and show them care when they need it.