Education

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Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, and values from one generation to another.

Quotes[edit]

General[edit]

What are books but folly, and what is an education but an arrant hypocrisy, and what is art but a curse when they touch not the heart and impel it not to action? ~ Louis Sullivan
  • Education makes a greater difference between man and man, than nature has made between man and brute. The virtues and powers to which men may be trained, by early education and constant discipline, are truly sublime and astonishing. Newton and Locke are examples of the deep sagacity which may be acquired by long habits of thinking and study.
    • John Adams, in a letter to Abigail Adams (29 October 1775), published Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife, Vol. 1 (1841), ed. Charles Francis Adams, p. 72.
  • The Science of Government it is my Duty to study, more than all other Sciences: the Art of Legislation and Administration and Negotiation, ought to take Place, indeed to exclude in a manner all other Arts.—I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.
    • John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, after May 12, 1780; reported in L. H. Butterfield, ed., Adams Family Correspondence (1973), vol. 3, p. 342.
  • [The educated differ from the uneducated] as much as the living from the dead.
    • Attributed to Aristotle; reported in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, trans. R. D. Hicks (1942), vol. 1, book 5, section 19, p. 463. Diogenes also credits Aristotle with saying: "Teachers who educated children deserved more honour than parents who merely gave them birth; for bare life is furnished by the one, the other ensures a good life" (p. 463).
  • There's a reason education sucks, and it's the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It's never going to get any better. Don't look for it. Be happy with what you've got... because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners now... the real owners. The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. That's right.
  • Vi har väldigt mycket att tjäna på att sluta ömma för dem som ändå kommer att få ett gott liv.
    • Translation: We have very much to earn by ceasing to tender those who are going to have a good life anyway.
    • Swedish socialist debater Göran Greider about giving special education to gifted pupils, in the television program Godmorgon världen from the episode aired 17 February 2002.
  • The educated don't get that way by memorizing facts; they get that way by respecting them.
    • Tom Heehler, The Well-Spoken Thesaurus (Sourcebooks 2011).
  • Education is the factory that turns animals into human beings. […] If women are educated, that means their children will be too. If the people of the world want to solve the hard problems in Afghanistan — kidnapping, beheadings, crime and even al-Qaeda — they should invest in [our] education.
  • Education is an ornament for the prosperous, a refuge for the unfortunate.
    • Democritus (ca. 4th century BC). Tr. Kathleen Freeman, Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers: A Complete Translation of the Fragments in Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 1948.
  • Education is a means of sharpening the mind of man both spiritually and intellectually. It is a two-edged sword that can be used either for the progress of mankind or for its destruction. That is why it has been Our constant desire and endeavor to develop our education for the benefit of mankind.
    • Haile Selassie, in a University Graduation address (2 July 1963), published in Important Utterances of H. I. M. Emperor Haile Selassie I, 1963-1972 (1972), p. 22
  • The best education will not immunize a person against corruption by power. The best education does not automatically make people compassionate. We know this more clearly than any preceding generation. Our time has seen the best-educated society, situated in the heart of the most civilized part of the world, give birth to the most murderously vengeful government in history.
    Forty years ago the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead thought it self-evident that you would get a good government if you took power out of the hands of the acquisitive and gave it to the learned and the cultivated. At present, a child in kindergarten knows better than that.
  • Universal education through schooling is not feasible. It would be no more feasible if it were attempted by means of alternative institutions built on the style of present schools. Neither new attitudes of teachers toward their pupils nor the proliferation of educational hardware or software (in classroom or bedroom), nor finally the attempt to expand the pedagogue's responsibility until it engulfs his pupils' lifetimes will deliver universal education. The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse: educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring. We hope to contribute concepts needed by those who conduct such counterfoil research on education — and also to those who seek alternatives to other established service industries.
    • Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society (1971) Introduction (November 1970).
  • Surely a University is the very place where we should be able to overcome this tendency of men to become, as it were, granulated into small worlds, which are all the more worldly for their very smallness. We lose the advantage of having men of varied pursuits collected into one body, if we do not endeavour to imbibe some of the spirit even of those whose special branch of learning is different from our own.
  • What are our schools for if not for indoctrination against communism?
    • Richard Nixon, Speech before a meeting of San Diego educators during the 1962 gubernatorial election.
  • I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: 'The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair.' In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.
  • Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
    • Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (1945), Book Three, Part II, Chapter XXI: Currents of Thought in the Nineteenth Century, p. 722.
  • Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.
    • John F. Kennedy, speech on 18th May 1963 on the 90th Anniversary Convocation of Vanderbilt University [1]
  • If the end of education is to foster the love of truth, this love cannot be presupposed in the means. The means must rather be based on a resourceful pedagogical rhetoric that, knowing how initially resistant or impervious we all are to philosophic truth, necessarily makes use of motives other than love of truth and of techniques other than “saying exactly what you mean.” That is why, for example, the earlier, classical tradition of rationalism recognized the inescapable need to speak in philosophical poems and dialogues as well as treatises.
    • Arthur Melzer, “On the Pedagogical Motive for Esoteric Writing,” Journal of Politics, Vol. 69, Issue 4, November 2007, p. 1018
  • One of the main things about teaching is not what you say but what you don't say. When you hear someone play, you have to work out the way they do things naturally and then leave them alone, because you want the naturalness to be there still.
  • The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.
  • Why is it that in most children education seems to destroy the creative urge? Why do so many boys and girls leave school with blunted perceptions and a closed mind? A majority of young people seem to develop mental arteriosclerosis forty years before they get the physical kind. Another question: why do some people remain open and elastic into extreme old age, whereas others become rigid and unproductive before they're fifty? It's a problem in biochemistry and adult education.
    • Aldous Huxley, in an interview by Raymond Fraser and George Wickes for The Paris Review, Issue 23, Spring 1960.
  • A common strand from many interviews in that students who interact with their advisors by talking about "bigger ideas" are the ones who find these conversations most helpful. Those who simply use the opportunity to get a quick signature...are missing out on conversations that could change their perspective on what they are studying, why they are studying it, how what they study fits into a bigger picture of their lives, and what new ideas might be worth considering.
    • Richard Light, Making the most of college: Students speak their minds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2001, p. 89.
  • How strange it seems that education, in practice, so often means suppression: that instead of leading the mind outward to the light of day it crowds things in upon it that darken and weary it. Yet evidently the true object of education, now as ever, is to develop the capabilities of the head and of the heart.
    • Louis Sullivan, in "Emotional Architecture as Compared to Intellectual : A Study in Subjective and Objective", an address to the American Institute of Architects (October 1894)
  • What are books but folly, and what is an education but an arrant hypocrisy, and what is art but a curse when they touch not the heart and impel it not to action?
    • Louis Sullivan, in Kindergarten Chats (1918), Ch. 36 : Another City
  • Education is not a function of any church — or even of a city — or a state; it is a function of all mankind.
  • Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.
    • Gail Godwin, as cited in Robert Byrne's The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said #766
  • Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.
  • If you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn.
  • Intelligence appears to be the thing that enables a man to get along without education. Education enables a man to get along without the use of his intelligence.
    • Albert Edward Wiggam, as quoted in Philippine Almanac (1986), p. 344
  • In training a child to activity of thought, above all things we must beware of what I will call "inert ideas"-that is to say, ideas that are merely received into the mind without being utilised, or tested, or thrown into fresh combinations.
    In the history of education, the most striking phenomenon is that schools of learning, which at one epoch are alive with a ferment of genius, in a succeeding generation exhibit merely pedantry and routine. The reason is, that they are overladen with inert ideas. Education with inert ideas is not only useless: it is, above all things, harmful - Corruptio optimi, pessima [the corruption of the best is the worst].
    • Alfred North Whitehead, “The Aims of Education,” Presidential address to the Mathematical Association of England, 1916

Self-education and home education[edit]

  • We must encourage [each other] once we have grasped the basic points to interconnecting everything else on our own, to use memory to guide our original thinking, and to accept what someone else says as a starting point, a seed to be nourished and grown. For the correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling but wood that needs igniting no more and then it motivates one towards originality and instills the desire for truth. Suppose someone were to go and ask his neighbors for fire and find a substantial blaze there, and just stay there continually warming himself: that is no different from someone who goes to someone else to get to some of his rationality, and fails to realize that he ought to ignite his own flame, his own intellect, but is happy to sit entranced by the lecture, and the words trigger only associative thinking and bring, as it were, only a flush to his cheeks and a glow to his limbs; but he has not dispelled or dispersed, in the warm light of philosophy, the internal dank gloom of his mind.
  • From my grandfather's father, [I learned] to dispense with attendance at public schools, and to enjoy good teachers at home, and to recognize that on such things money should be eagerly spent.
  • Why is it that millions of children who are pushouts or dropouts amount to business as usual in the public schools, while one family educating a child at home becomes a major threat to universal public education and the survival of democracy?

Raising children[edit]

  • Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
  • The parents who are unwilling to permit their children to undergo a course of training under strict discipline, are the ones who deserve the reproof. In the first place, everything they possess, including the children, is devoted to ambition.
    • Petronius "The Satyricon; Vol I, Chap. IV".
  • Exercises in being obedient can not begin too early, and I have, during an olmost daily observation of six years, discovered no harm from an early, consistent, guiding of the germinating will, provided only this guiding be done with the greatest mildness and justice, as if the infant had already an insight into the benefits of obedience.
  • The old superstition that children have innate faculties of such a finished sort that they flash up and grasp the principle of things by a rapid sort of first "intellection," an error that made all departments of education so trivial, assumptive and dogmatic for centuries before Comenius, Basedow and Pestalozzi, has been banished everywhere save from moral and religious training, where it still persists in full force. (...) But parents are prone to forget that healthful and correct sentiments concerning matters of conduct are, at first, very feeble,and that the sense of obligation needs the long and careful guardianship of external authority.
    • Stanley Hall - Youth: it's education, regimen and hygiene (available at gutenberg.org).

Goal of education[edit]

  • Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.
    • G.K. Chesterton, Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton : The Illustrated London News, 1905-1907 (1986), p. 71
  • The great object of Education should be commensurate with the object of life. It should be a moral one; to teach self-trust; to inspire the youthful man with an interest in himself; with a curiosity touching his own nature; to acquaint him with the resources of his mind, and to teach him that there is all his strength, and to inflame him with a piety towards the Grand Mind in which he lives.
  • This education forms the common mind, Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.

Coercion and education[edit]

  • What we need is to justify coercion, paternalistic control, blame, scolding, and punishment - all of which are less evident in trigonometry class than in a fourth grade learning long division.(...) I have argued that blame, scolding, and punishment in public schools - what I have called "the ordeal" - can be successfully defended. Students have a duty to learn, and can be held responsible for violating whatever rules, policies, or instructions are enforced to ensure that they do so.
    • Charles Howell - Syracuse University: Education, Punishment, and Responsibility src
  • (...) there is always the difficulty of difficulties, that of inducing the child to lend himself to all this endeavor, and to second the master, and not show himself recalcitrant to the efforts made on his behalf. For this reason the _moral_ education is the point of departure; before all things, it is necessary to _discipline_ the class. The pupils must be induced to _second_ the master's efforts, if not by love, then by force. Failing this point of departure, all education and instruction would be _impossible_, and the school _useless_.
    • Maria Montessori, Spontaneous Activity in Education (available on Gutenberg.org).

Philosophy of education[edit]

  • It is very strange, that, ever since mankind have taken it into their heads to trouble themselves so much about the education of children, they should never have thought of any other instruments to effect their purpose than those of emulation, jealousy, envy, pride, covetousness, and servile fear—all passions the most dangerous, the most apt to ferment, and the most fit to corrupt the soul, even before the body is formed. With every premature instruction we instil into the head, we implant a vice in the bottom of the heart.
  • The real nature of education is at variance with the account given of it by certain of its professors.
    • Socrates, from Plato's The Republic.
  • "Good teaching comes from good people."
    • Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach.
  • Man must develop his tendency towards the good.
    • Immanuel Kant, Thoughts on Education, #12.
  • In the world of knowledge, the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with effort.
    • Plato, "The Allegory of the Cave".
  • The most important thing is that the natural will of the child be broken.
  • If the end of education is to foster the love of truth, this love cannot be presupposed in the means.
    • Arthur Melzer, “On the Pedagogical Motive for Esoteric Writing,” Journal of Politics, Vol. 69, Issue 4, November 2007, p. 1018
  • O brave youth, how good for thee it were couldst thou be made to understand how infinitely precious are thy school years—years when thou hast leisure to grow, when new worlds break in upon thee, and thou fashionest thy being in the light of the ideals of truth and goodness and beauty! If now thou dost not fit thyself to become free and whole, thou shalt, when the doors of this fair mother-house of the mind, close behind thee, be driven into ways that lead to bondage, be compelled to do that which cripples and dwarfs; for the work whereby men gain a livelihood involves mental and moral mutilation, unless it be done in the spirit of religion and culture. Ah! well for thee, canst thou learn while yet there is time that it will profit thee nothing to become the possessor of millions, if the price thou payest is thy manhood.
  • The development of the faculty of attention forms the real object and almost the sole interest of studies.
  • School children and students who love God should never say: “For my part I like mathematics”; “I like French”; “I like Greek.” They should learn to like all these subjects, because all of them develop that faculty of attention which, directed toward God, is the very substance of prayer.

History of education[edit]

  • It must also be remembered that one of the three branches of Primary Education in Hellas would be called play in England: an afternoon spent in running races, jumping, wrestling, or riding would not be regarded as work by an English schoolboy. Music, too, is usually learned during play-hours in an English school. Even Letters, when the elementary stage was past, meant reciting, reading, or learning by heart the literature of the boy's own language, and most of it not stiff literature by any means, but such fascinating fairy-tales as are found in Homer. There is little trace of Hellenic boys creeping unwillingly to school: their lessons were made eminently attractive.
  • (...) but the story that Rome created and maintained an extensive system of state-controlled and -supported schools is mainly hyperbole. (...) Official policy had the effect of encouraging the opening of schools, but throughout the greater part of Rome's history, neither compulsory education nor a state school system was enforced or erected.
    • Edward J. Power, A Legacy of Learning: A History of Western Education (1991), p. 92.

Criticism[edit]

  • Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.
    • Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (2009), The Floating Press, page 582
  • [...] If you teach a man anything he will never learn it. [...]

Against the educational system[edit]

A meaningless master’s degree has kept many from becoming true masters. Believing others rather than themselves, and believing to be what they were cried up to be but really were not, they never became what they could have become. ~ Petrarch
  • Multis ne magistri veri essent magisterii falsum nomen obstitit: dum de se plus omnibus quam sibi dumque quod dicebantur, sed non erant, esse crediderunt, quod esse poterant non fuerunt.
    • A meaningless master’s degree has kept many from becoming true masters. Believing others rather than themselves, and believing to be what they were cried up to be but really were not, they never became what they could have become.
      • Petrarch, “On the Master’s Degree,” De remediis utriusque fortune, C. Rawski, trans. (1967), p. 59
  • I believe that school makes complete fools of our young men, because they see and hear nothing of ordinary life there.
  • I have not the least doubt that school developed in me nothing but what was evil and left the good untouched.
    • Edvard Grieg; quoted in Henry T. Fink, Grieg and His Music (1929), page 8.
  • Continued adherence to a policy of compulsory education is utterly incompatible with efforts to establish lasting peace.
  • Show me the man who has enjoyed his schooldays and I will show you a bully and a bore.
  • It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. To the contrary, I believe it would be possible to rob even a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness, if it were possible, with the aid of a whip, to force the beast to devour continuously, even when not hungry, especially if the food, handed out under such coercion, were to be selected accordingly.
    • Albert Einstein; quoted in "Autobiographical Notes", Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, Paul Schilpp, ed. (1951), pp. 17-19.
  • I hated school so intensely. It interfered with my freedom. I avoided the discipline by an elaborate technique of being absent-minded during classes.
    • Sigrid Undset, 1928 Nobel Prize in literature; quoted in Twentieth Century Authors, Kunitz and Haycraft, editors (1942), page 1432.
  • Children are naturally expressive but they go to school and get it taught out of them.
  • In my opinion the prevailing systems of education are all wrong, from the first stage to the last stage. Education begins where it should terminate, and youth, instead of being led to the development of their faculties by the use of their senses, are made to acquire a great quantity of words, expressing the ideas of other men instead of comprehending their own faculties, or becoming acquainted with the words they are taught or the ideas the words should convey.
    • William Duane , "Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky," 1822.
  • "At school boys become gluttons and slovens, and, instead of cultivating domestic affections, very early rush into libertinism which destroys the constitution before it is formed; hardening the heart as it weakens the understanding."
    • Mary Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects" (1792).
  • There is not, perhaps, in the kingdom, a more dogmatical, or luxurious set of men, than the pedantic tyrants who reside in colleges and preside at public schools.
    • Mary Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects" (1792). (In British English "public school" means what Americans call "private school": nongovernmental institutions that are open to the public for a price.).

Against state education[edit]

  • A government system of education in Prussia is not inconsistent with the theory of Prussian society, for there all wisdom is supposed to be lodged in the government. But the thing is wholly inadmissible here . . . because, according to our theory, the people are supposed to be wiser than the government. Here, the people do not look to the government for light, for instruction, but the government looks to the people. The people give the law to the government. To entrust, then, the government with the power of determining the education which our children shall receive is entrusting our servant with the power to be our master. This fundamental difference between the two countries, we apprehend, has been overlooked by the board of education and its supporters.
    • Orestes Brownson, Testimony against proposed Truancy Laws before the Massachusetts Board of Education, 19th Century
  • Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds.
  • There is, in fact, only one solution: the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions.
  • I would promise the whole amount were I not afraid that someday my gift might be abused for someone's selfish purposes, as I see happen in many places where teachers' salaries are paid from public funds. There is only one remedy to meet this evil: if the appointment of teachers is left entirely to the parents, and they are conscientious about making a wise choice through their obligation to contribute to the cost.
    • Pliny the Younger, Letters and Panegyricus, Book IV, XIII; London, 1969, William Heinemann, p. 277-283; writing to his friend Tacitus almost two thousand years ago, describing his plan to establish a secondary school in his home town, but adding that he had decided to pay only one third of the total cost.
  • The school that flies the flag is, in the long run accountable to that flag and to the power and values which is represents.
    • Jonathan Kozol, as quoted by Robin Small, in "Marx and education".
  • A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body. An education established and controlled by the State should only exist, if it exists at all, as one among many competing
    • John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859), in The English Philosophers from Bacon to Mill, ed. Edwin A. Burtt (New York: Random House, 1939), pp. 1033–34.
  • Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents. The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the theological idea that human value is a scarce thing, represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid.
  • Is it not ironical that in a planned society of controlled workers given compulsory assignments, where religious expression is suppressed, the press controlled, and all media of communication censored, where a puppet government is encouraged but denied any real authority, where great attention is given to efficiency and character reports, and attendance at cultural assemblies is compulsory, where it is avowed that all will be administered to each according to his needs and performance required from each according to his abilities, and where those who flee are tracked down, returned and punished for trying to escape - in short, in the milieu of the typical large American secondary school - we attempt to teach 'the democratic system'?
    • Royce Van Norman, "School Administration: Thoughts on Organization and Purpose," Phi Delta Kappan 47 (1966):315-16.
  • ...this has become the most notable feature of the recent history of European 'education': the enterprise of substituting 'socialization' for education. … The design here is to reduce or abolish disparities in opportunity and thus to generate a 'fully integrated' society. Here, however, the design and its imposition upon the educational engagement are inseperable: the design itself requires that all schools shall be the same and that none shall be 'School'.
  • A tax-supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state.

For education[edit]

For state education[edit]

  • Of all our institutions public education is the most important. Everything depends on it, the present and the future. It is essential that the morals and political ideas of the generation which is now growing up should no longer be dependent upon the news of the day or the circumstances of the moment. Above all we must secure unity: we must be able to cast a whole generation in the same mould.
    • Napoleon Bonaparte, in an 1807 meeting of the Council of State. Quoted in "The Life and Memoirs of Count Molé", written by Mathieu Louis Molé, edited by the Marquis de Noailles. 2v London, 1923, 61.
  • "Therefore I praise New England because it is the country in the world where is the freest expenditure for education. ..., namely, that the poor man, whom the law does not allow to take an ear of corn when starving, nor a pair of shoes for his freezing feet, is allowed to put his hand into the pocket of the rich, and say, You shall educate me, not as you will, but as I will: not alone in the elements, but, by further provision, in the languages, in sciences, in the useful and in elegant arts. The child shall be taken up by the State, and taught, at the public cost, the rudiments of knowledge, and, at last, the ripest results of art and science.
  • (...) success itself will decide whether the end of education, the [child's] usefullness [for the end of reason], has been attained. This is a manner of which the state is an extremely competent judge. Thus, if the state grants some office to the son, it thereby judges that his education is completed. Moreover, the judgement of the state binds the parents juridically; they ought to subordinate themselves to it for the sake of duty.
    • Johann Gottlieb Fichte - The System of Ethics: According to the Principles of the Wissenschaftslehre, 2005, Cambridge, p. 323.
  • When an opponent declares, "I will not come over to your side," I calmly say, "Your child belongs to us already...What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community."
    • Adolf Hitler, on Public Education, speech in November 1933.
  • There is a doctrine that is fundamental in American education. That is: every child born or adopted by this republic has by virtue of that fact the right to have developed whatever of talent he may possess, without reference to the quality, quantity, or type of that talent, under conditions favorable to such development, and that he shall have assured to him the oppurtunity to go as far as his ability and ambition will permit in order that he may live his life more abundantly than he otherwise could.
    • Claude L. Kulp, Ithaca High School Dedication Address, September 1960 (reprinted in The Ithaca Journal, September 26, 1960).
  • Dear rulers … I maintain that the civil authorities are under obligation to compel the people to send their children to school. … If the government can compel such citizens as are fit for military service to bear spear and rifle, to mount ramparts, and perform other martial duties in time of war, how much more has it a right to compel the people to send their children to school, because in this case we are warring with the devil, whose object it is secretly to exhaust our cities and principalities of their strong men.
    • Martin Luther, 1524, letter to the German rulers
    • quoted in The History of Compulsory Education in New England, John William Perrin, 1896.
  • In particular, at this point also urge governing authorities and parents to rule well and to send their children to school. Point out how they are obliged to do so and what a damnable sin they commit if they do not, for thereby, as the worst enemies of God and humanity, they overthrow and lay waste both the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. Explain very clearly what kind of horrible damage they do when they do not help to train children as pastors, preachers, civil servants, etc., and tell them that God will punish them dreadfully for this. For in our day and age it is necessary to preach about these things. The extent to which parents and governing authorities are now sinning in these matters defies description. The devil, too, intends to do something horrible in all this.
    • Martin Luther, forword to 'the small catechismus'
    • Preface.19-20, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, eds., Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 2000.
  • ...whoever has a right to hang has a right to educate.
  • Lycurgus," says Plutarch, "resolved the whole business of legislation into the bringing up of youth." When our legislators shall have learnt wisdom from the Spartan, they will acquire, as he acquired, the power of remoulding the national character.
    • Robert Owen, Tracts on Republican Government and National Education (1840), p. 14.
  • There shall be compulsory education, as the saying is, of all and sundry, as far this is possible; and the pupils shall be regarded as belonging to the state rather than to their parents.
  • I think this (...) will demand, as a minimum condition, the establishment of a world State and the subsequent institution of a world-wide system of education designed to produce loyalty to the world State. No doubt such a system of education will entail, at any rate for a century or two, certain crudities which will militate agains the development of the individual. But if the alternative is chaos and the death of civilisation, the price will be worth paying.
  • Education, Public – "The single most important element in the maintenance of a democratic system"… "The better the citizenry as a whole are educated, the wider and more sensible public participation, debate and social mobility will be. Any serious rivalry from private education systems will siphon off Élites and thus fatally weaken both the drive and the financing of the state system. That a private system may be able to offer to a limited number of students the finest education in the world is irrelevant. Highly sophisticated Élites are the easiest and least original thing a society can produce. The most difficult and the most valuable is a well-educated populace."
    • John Ralston Saul, Doubter's Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense, Penguin, 1995.
  • Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don't need little changes, we need gigantic revolutionary changes. Schools should be palaces. Competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be getting six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge for its citizens, just like national defense. That is my position. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet.

For Choice in Education[edit]

"It was imagined that experiments in education were not necessary; and that, whether any thing in it was good or bad, could be judged of by the reason. But this was a great mistake; experience shows very often that results are produced precisely the opposite to those which had been expected. We also see from experiment that one generation cannot work out a complete plan of education."

Quality of education[edit]

  • The spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.
    • Peter Medawar, "Review of Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man". In: Mind Vol.70 (1961)

The spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.

  • To sum up the matter simply, in the language of educationists, one might say the responsibility of the schools of education for the present chaotic disorganization in the curricula of primary and secondary educational institutions is due to their hypertrophical complication of pedagogic education through the duplication of instructional materials under various divergent indefinite polysyllabic terminologies.
    • Portwell, B. G. (May 1940). "Mumbo Jumbo in Education". The American Mercury L (197): 429-432. Retrieved on 2011-06-28.
  • We are getting exactly what the school system was designed to produce - a uniformly dumbed down product of compliant, lackluster people who have had their individuality crushed out of them by a system that rewards mediocrity.

Future of education[edit]

  • Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience
    • Aldous Huxley, letter to George Orwell (Smith, Grover (1969). Letters of Aldous Huxley. Chatto & Windus).
  • I personally believe that U. S. Americans are unable to [locate the U. S. on a world map] because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our education, like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should—our education over here in the U. S. should help the U. S., uh, or, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)[edit]

  • Education is the cheap defence of nations.
    • Attributed to Edmund Burke. Charles Noël Douglas, comp., Forty Thousand Quotations (1921), p. 573. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends.
    • Benjamin Disraeli, speech, House of Commons (June 15, 1874). Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 3d series, vol. 219, col. 1618 (1874).
  • An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. It's knowing where to go to find out what you need to know; and it's knowing how to use the information you get.
    • Attributed to William Feather, reported in August Kerber, Quotable Quotes on Education, p. 17 (1968). Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • By educating the young generation along the right lines, the People's State will have to see to it that a generation of mankind is formed which will be adequate to this supreme combat that will decide the destinies of the world.
    • Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, trans. James Murphy, p. 357 (1939).
  • The benefits of education and of useful knowledge, generally diffused through a community, are essential to the preservation of a free government.
    • Attributed to Sam Houston by the University of Texas. This quotation appears on the verso of the title-page of all University of Texas publications. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to P. S. du Pont de Nemours, April 24, 1816. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul L. Ford, vol. 10, p. 25 (1899). This sentence is one of many quotations inscribed on Cox Corridor II, a first floor House corridor, U.S. Capitol.
  • I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul L. Ford, vol. 10, p. 161 (1899).
  • If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul L. Ford, vol. 10, p. 4 (1899).
  • Every child must be encouraged to get as much education as he has the ability to take. We want this not only for his sake—but for the nation's sake. Nothing matters more to the future of our country: not military preparedness—for armed might is worthless if we lack the brain power to build a world of peace; not our productive economy—for we cannot sustain growth without trained manpower; not our democratic system of government—for freedom is fragile if citizens are ignorant.
    • President Lyndon B. Johnson, special message to the Congress, "Toward Full Educational Opportunity," January 12, 1965. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, book 1, p. 26.
  • I ask that you offer to the political arena, and to the critical problems of our society which are decided therein, the benefit of the talents which society has helped to develop in you. I ask you to decide, as Goethe put it, whether you will be an anvil—or a hammer. The question is whether you are to be a hammer—whether you are to give to the world in which you were reared and educated the broadest possible benefits of that education.
    • John F. Kennedy, commencement address, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, June 8, 1958. Transcript, p. 2. The Home Book of Quotations, ed. Burton Stevenson, 9th ed., p. 84, no. 8 (1964) gives the quotation from Goethe as follows: "Thou must (in commanding and winning, or serving and losing, suffering or triumphing) be either anvil or hammer," citing his play, Der Gross-Cophta, act II, though it has not been found there.
  • If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If for ten years, plant a tree. If for a hundred years, teach the people. When you sow a seed once, you will reap a single harvest. When you teach the people, you will reap a hundred harvests.
    • Kuan Chung, Kuan-tzu (Book of Master Kuan). Kuan tzu chi p'ing, ed. Ling Juheng, vol. 1, p. 12 (1970). Title romanized.
  • Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.
    • James Madison, letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822. The Writings of James Madison, ed. Gaillard Hunt, vol. 9, p. 105 (1910). These words are inscribed in the Madison Memorial Hall, Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building.
  • What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty & Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual & surest support?
    • James Madison, letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822. The Writings of James Madison, ed. Gaillard Hunt, vol. 9, p. 108 (1910). These words are inscribed to the right of the main entrance of the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building.
  • Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men,—the balance-wheel of the social machinery.
    • Horace Mann, twelfth annual report to the Massachusetts State Board of Education, 1848. Life and Works of Horace Mann, ed. Mrs. Mary Mann, vol. 3, p. 669 (1868).
  • I also desire to encourage and foster an appreciation of the advantages which I implicitly believe will result from the union of the English-speaking peoples throughout the world and to encourage in the students from the United States of North America[,] who will benefit from the American Scholarships to be established for the reason above given at the University of Oxford under this my Will[,] an attachment to the country from which they have sprung but without I hope withdrawing them or their sympathies from the land of their adoption or birth.
    • Cecil J. Rhodes, The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes, ed. W. T. Stead, p. 24–29 (1902). The will was dated July 1, 1899.
  • To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
    • Attributed to Theodore Roosevelt. August Kerber, Quotable Quotes of Education, p. 138 (1968). Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • Education has for its object the formation of character. To curb restive propensities, to awaken dormant sentiments, to strengthen the perceptions, and cultivate the tastes, to encourage this feeling and repress that, so as finally to develop the child into a man of well proportioned and harmonious nature—this is alike the aim of parent and teacher.
  • These ceremonies and the National Statuary Hall will teach the youth of the land in succeeding generations as they come and go that the chief end of human effort in a sublunary view should be usefulness to mankind, and that all true fame which should be perpetuated by public pictures, statues, and monuments, is to be acquired only by noble deeds and high achievements and the establishment of a character founded upon the principles of truth, uprightness, and inflexible integrity.
    • Alexander H. Stephens, remarks in the House, February 15, 1881, upon Vermont's presentation of a statue of Jacob Collamer to Statuary Hall. Congressional Record, vol. 11, p. 1611.
  • "Via ovicipitum dura est," or, for the benefit of the engineers among you: "The way of the egghead is hard."
    • Adlai Stevenson, lecture at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 17, 1954. Stevenson, Call to Greatness, p. xi (1954).
  • In point of substantial merit the law school belongs in the modern university no more than a school of fencing or dancing.
  • In the conditions of modern life the rule is absolute, the race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed. Not all your heroism, not all your social charm, not all your wit, not all your victories on land or at sea, can move back the finger of fate. To-day we maintain ourselves. To-morrow science will have moved forward yet one more step, and there will be no appeal from the judgment which will then be pronounced on the uneducated.
    • Alfred North Whitehead, "The Aims of Education—a Plea for Reform," The Organisation of Thought, chapter 1, p. 28 (1917, reprinted 1974).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216-18.
  • Brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel.
    • Acts, XXII. 3.
  • Culture is "To know the best that has been said and thought in the world."
  • Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; morals, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.
  • Education commences at the mother's knee, and every word spoken within the hearsay of little children tends towards the formation of character.
  • But to go to school in a summer morn,
    Oh, it drives all joy away!
    Under a cruel eye outworn,
    The little ones spend the day—
    In sighing and dismay.
  • Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.
    • Attributed to Lord Brougham.
  • Let the soldier be abroad if he will, he can do nothing in this age. There is another personage,—a personage less imposing in the eyes of some, perhaps insignificant. The schoolmaster is abroad, and I trust to him, armed with his primer, against the soldier, in full military array.
    • Lord Brougham, Speech. Jan. 29, 1828. Phrase "Look out, gentlemen, the schoolmaster is abroad" first used by Brougham, in 1825, at London Mechanics' Institution, referring to the secretary, John Reynolds, a schoolmaster.
  • Every schoolboy hath that famous testament of Grunnius Corocotta Porcellus at his fingers' ends.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section I. Mem. I. 1.
  • "Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with," the Mock Turtle replied, "and the different branches of Arithmetic—Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision."
  • To be in the weakest camp is to be in the strongest school.
  • Quod enim munus reipublicæ afferre majus, meliusve possumus, quam si docemus atque erudimus juventutem?
    • What greater or better gift can we offer the republic than to teach and instruct our youth?
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, II. 2.
  • How much a dunce that has been sent to roam
    Excels a dunce that has been kept at home.
  • The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.
  • The Self-Educated are marked by stubborn peculiarities.
  • By education most have been misled.
    • John Dryden, The Hind and Panther, Part III, line 389.
  • My definition of a University is Mark Hopkins at one end of a log and a student on the other.
    • Tradition well established that James A. Garfield used the phrase at a New York Alumni Dinner in 1872. No such words are found, however. A letter of his, Jan., 1872, contains the same line of thought.
  • Impartially their talents scan,
    Just education forms the man.
    • John Gay, The Owl, Swan, Cock, Spider, Ass, and the Farmer. To a Mother, line 9.
  • Of course everybody likes and respects self-made men. It is a great deal better to be made in that way than not to be made at all.
  • The true purpose of education is to cherish and unfold the seed of immortality already sown within us; to develop, to their fullest extent, the capacities of every kind with which the God who made us has endowed us.
    • Mrs. Jameson, Education, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles.
  • But it was in making education not only common to all, but in some sense compulsory on all, that the destiny of the free republics of America was practically settled.
  • Finally, education alone can conduct us to that enjoyment which is, at once, best in quality and infinite in quantity.
    • Horace Mann, Lectures and Reports on Education, Lecture 1.
  • Enflamed with the study of learning, and the admiration of virtue; stirred up with high hopes of living to be brave men, and worthy patriots, dear to God, and famous to all ages.
  • Der preussiche Schulmeister hat die Schlacht bei Sadowa gewonnen.
    • The Prussian schoolmaster won the battle of Sadowa.
    • Von Moltke, in the Reichstag (Feb. 16, 1874).
  • Tempore ruricolæ patiens fit taurus aratri.
    • In time the bull is brought to wear the yoke.
    • Ovid, Tristia, 4. 6. 1. Translation by Thomas Watson. Hecatompathia. No. 47.
  • The victory of the Prussians over the Austrians was a victory of the Prussian over the Austrian schoolmaster.
    • Privy Councillor Peschel, in Ausland, No. 19. July 17, 1866.
  • Education is the only interest worthy the deep, controlling anxiety of the thoughtful man.
  • Lambendo paulatim figurant.
    • Licking a cub into shape (free rendering).
    • Pliny the Elder, Natural History, VIII. 36.
  • So watchful Bruin forms with plastic care,
    Each growing lump and brings it to a bear.
  • Then take him to develop, if you can
    And hew the block off, and get out the man.
    • Alexander Pope, Dunciad, IV. 269. A notion of Aristotle's that there was originally in every block of marble, a statue, which would appear on the removal of the superfluous parts.
  • 'Tis education forms the common mind;
    Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.
  • Twelve years ago I made a mock
    Of filthy trades and traffics;
    I considered what they meant by stock;
    I wrote delightful sapphics;
    I knew the streets of Rome and Troy,
    I supped with Fates and Fairies—
    Twelve years ago I was a boy,
    A happy boy at Drury's.
  • He can write and read and cast accompt.
    O monstrous!
    We took him setting of boys' copies.
    Here's a villain!
  • God hath blessed you with a good name: to be a well-favored man is the gift of fortune, but to write and read comes by nature.
  • Only the refined and delicate pleasures that spring from research and education can build up barriers between different ranks.
  • Oh how our neighbour lifts his nose,
    To tell what every schoolboy knows.
  • Every school-boy knows it.
    • Jeremy Taylor, On the Real Presence, Section V, 1. Phrase attributed to Macaulay from his frequent use of it.
  • Of an old tale which every schoolboy knows.
  • Still sits the school-house by the road,
    A ragged beggar sunning;
    Around it still the sumachs grow
    And blackberry vines are running.
  • Slavery is but half abolished, emancipation is but half completed, while millions of freemen with votes in their hands are left without education.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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