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quotations regarding education

Men had better be without education than be educated by their rulers; for their education is but the mere breaking in of the steer to the yoke; the mere discipline of the hunting dog, which, by dint of severity, is made to forego the strongest impulse of his nature, and instead of devouring his prey, to hasten with it to the feet of his master. — Thomas Hodgskin


“I don’t want my children fed or clothed by the state, but if I had to choose, I would prefer that to their being educated by the state.” – Max Victor Belz


“[Schools:] vast factories for the manufacture of robots.” – Robert Lindner (1914-1956)


“[T]he result desired by the state is a wholly different one from that desired by parents, guardians, and pupils.” – Lester Frank Ward 1897


“A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.” – George Santayana


“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 dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.” – John Stuart Mill, “On Liberty”


“A poor teacher complains, an average teacher explains, a good teacher teaches, a great teacher inspires.” – H. Narasimhaiah


“Academies that are founded at public expense are instituted not so much to cultivate men’s natural abilities as to restrain them.” – Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)


“All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.” – Sir Walter Scott


“Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education.” – Victor Hugo


“Continued adherence to a policy of compulsory education is utterly incompatible with efforts to establish lasting peace.” – Ludwig Von Mises


“Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.” – Albert Einstein


“Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mundane educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom, go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts.” – Frank Zappa


“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” – Oscar Wilde


“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” – Albert Einstein


“Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines.” – Erich Fromm


“Education rears disciples, imitators, and routinists, not pioneers of new ideas and creative geniuses. The schools are not nurseries of progress and improvement, but conservatories of tradition and unvarying modes of thought.” – Ludwig von Mises


“Education would be much more effective if its purpose were to ensure that by the time they leave school every student should know how much they don’t know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.” – Sir William Haley


“Education…has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” – G. M. Trevelyan


“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” – Gertrude Stein


“Far from failing in its intended task, our educational system is in fact succeeding magnificently, because its aim is to keep the American people thoughtless enough to go on supporting the system.” – Richard Mitchell, “The Underground Grammarian”


“Government schools can’t teach reading, writing, and arithmetic – why should we trust them to teach morality, respect, and character? If public education does for ethics what it’s done for learning, we’ll end up with a generation of immoral, disrespectful, and characterless students.” – Steve Dasbach


“Government will not fail to employ education, to strengthen its hands and perpetuate its institutions.” – William Godwin


“Great cycles of history began with vigorous cultures awakening to the needs of children, but collapsing with frayed family ties. Have we failed to learn lessons which Ancient China, Greece and Rome learned too late – about day care and death houses for old folks? Do we without protest accept accelerating preschool and nursing home cultures which warn ominously that the earlier you institutionalize your child, the earlier he will institutionalize you!” – Raymond S. Moore, Ph.D.


“Growth and mastery come only to those who vigorously self-direct. Initiating, creating, doing, reflecting, freely associating, enjoying privacy—these are precisely what the structures of schooling are set up to prevent, on one pretext or another.” – John Taylor Gatto, “The Underground History of American Education”


“Historically, much of the motivation for public schooling has been to stifle variety and institute social control.” – Jack Hugh


“I believe that school makes complete fools of our young men, because they see and hear nothing of ordinary life there.” – Petronius


“I freed thousands of slaves. I could have freed thousands more if they had known they were slaves.” – Harriet Tubman


“I hated school so intensely. It interfered with my freedom” – Sigrid Undset (Nobel Prize winner)


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


“I have not the least doubt that school developed in me nothing but what was evil and left the good untouched.” – Edvard Grieg


“I know my enemies, they’re the teachers who taught me to fight me” – Rage Against The Machine


“I remember that I was never able to get along at school.” – Thomas Edison


“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.” – Agatha Christie (Author)


“I teach how to fit into a world I don’t want to live in. I just can’t do it anymore.” – John Taylor Gatto (ex-teacher)


“If the God that I believe in exists, then he or she may well have more respect for atheists who USE their God-given intelligence than for “believers” who don’t.”


“In keeping Americans ill-educated, ill-informed and constitutionally ignorant, the education establishment has been the politician’s major and most faithful partner. It is in this sense that American education can be deemed a success.” – Walter Williams, Professor of Economics, George Mason University (2005)


“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 Wiggin


“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)


“It seems to me that much of what we call education is really socialization. Consider what we do to our kids. Is it really a good idea to send your 6-year-old into a room full of 6-year-olds, and then, the next year, to put your 7-year-old in with 7-year-olds, and so on? A simple recursive argument suggests this exposes them to a real danger of all growing up with the minds of 6-year-olds. And, so far as I can see, that’s exactly what happens. Our present culture may be largely shaped by this strange idea of isolating children’s thought from adult thought. Perhaps the way our culture educates its children better explains why most of us come out as dumb as they do, than it explains how some of us come out as smart as they do.” – Marvin Minsky


“It’s time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody’s role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It’s no surprise that our school system doesn’t improve: It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy.” – Albert Shanker


“Let me control the textbooks, and I will control the state.” – Adolf Hitler


“Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property. Let him be taught to love his family, but let him be taught at the same time that he must forsake and even forget them when the welfare of his country requires it.” – Benjamin Rush, “Thoughts Upon the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic”


“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education” – Bertrand Russell


“Men had better be without education than be educated by their rulers.” – Thomas Hodgskin, 1823


“My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school.” – Margaret Mead


“My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself.” – George Bernard Shaw


“Nothing enrages me more than when people criticize my criticism of school by telling me that schools are not just places to learn maths and spelling, they are places where children learn a vaguely defined thing called socialization. I know. I think schools generally do an effective and terribly damaging job of teaching children to be infantile, dependent, intellectually dishonest, passive and disrespectful to their own developmental capacities.” – Seymour Papert


“Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening. The average American [should be] content with their humble role in life, because they’re not tempted to think about any other role.” – William T. Harris, U.S. Commissioner of Education, 1889


“Rulers have always taken care to control the education of the people. They know their power is based almost entirely on the school and they insist on retaining their monopoly. The school is an instrument of domination in the hands of the ruling class.” – Anarchy: A Graphic Guide, p. 100


“School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence.” – H.L. Mencken


“School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.” – Ivan Illich


“School is the first impression children get of organized society. Like most first impressions it is the lasting one. Life is dull and stupid, only Coke provides relief. And other products, too, of course.” – John Taylor Gatto, “The Underground History of American Education”


“School spoon-feeds people with information regurgitated by cattle, in the hopes that they may someday join the herd. Moo.” – SoulRiser


“Schools have not necessarily much to do with education… they are mainly institutions of control, where basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school.” – Winston Churchill


“Show me the man who has enjoyed his schooldays and I will show you a bully and a bore.” – Robert Morley


“Teachers, parents, and government officials often regard [young] people who refuse to submit to their authority as annoying and dysfunctional because we demand freedom every time they deny it.” – Diane Krauthamer


“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.” – Beatrix Potter (Author of the Peter Rabbit books)


“The children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone would be interdependent.” – John Dewey, American educator


“The classroom’s the last room to get the truth” – Rage Against The Machine


“The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother’s care, shall be in state institutions at state expense.” – Karl Marx, “The Communist Manifesto”


“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Rudyard Kipling


“The millions of dollars which we devote every year to high-school education are, for the most part, money spent for the retarding of intelligence, the discouragement of efficiency, the stunting of character.” – Bernard Iddings Bell (1949)


“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch


“The more subsidized it is, the less free it is. What is known as “free education” is the least free of all, for it is a state-owned institution; it is socialized education – just like socialized medicine or the socialized post office – and cannot possibly be separated from political control.” – Frank Chodorov, “Why Free Schools Are Not Free”


“The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school.” – George Bernard Shaw


“The philosophy in the classroom of this generation is the philosophy of government in the next.” – Abraham Lincoln


“The premise upon which mass compulsion schooling is based is dead wrong. It tries to shoehorn every style, culture, and personality into one ugly boot that fits nobody.” – John Taylor Gatto


“The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn’t real.” – John Taylor Gatto, “The Underground History of American Education”


“Together we have come to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school.” – Ivan Illich, “Deschooling Society”


“We are students of words; we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


“To confuse compulsory schooling with equal educational opportunity is like confusing organized religion with spirituality. One does not necessarily lead to the other. Schooling confuses teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. ” ~Wendy Priesnitz


“Parents give up their rights when they drop the children off at public school.” ~Melinda Harmon, Federal Judge, 1996


“Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.” ~Abbé Dimnet, Art of Thinking, 1928


” We’re not trying to do “School at Home.” We’re trying to do homeschool. These are two entirely different propositions. We’re not trying to replicate the time, style or content of the classroom. Rather we’re trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning in which learning takes place from morning until bedtime 7 days each week. The “formal” portion of each teaching day is just the tip of the iceberg. ” ~Steve and Jane Lambert


“There is nothing so stupid as the educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated in.” ~Will Rogers


“We must create out of the younger generation a generation of Communists. We must turn children, who can be shaped like wax, into real, good Communists…. We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them. From the first days of their lives they will be under the healthy influence of Communist children’s nurseries and schools. There they will grow up to be real Communists.” – Communist Party Education Workers Congress (1918)


“When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That’s if you want to teach them to think.” ~Bertrand Russell


“The idea is to educate, not follow anyone’s schedule about when something should be studied.” ~Ray Drouillard


“What borders on the criminal is the poor teaching and neglect of those subjects that deal with the history of ideas and ideals, a knowledge of which is essential to all youth who would assume their place in society as thinking, feeling human beings.” – Mortimer Smith (1949)


“What is the task of higher education? To make a man into a machine. What are the means employed? He is taught how to suffer being bored.” – F W Nietzsche (1889)


“What children need is not new and better curricula but access to more and more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them; and advice, road maps, guidebooks, to make it easier for them to get where they want to go (not where we think they ought to go), and to find out what they want to find out.” ~John Holt, Teach Your Own


“What’s the difference between a bright, inquisitive five-year-old, and a dull, stupid nineteen-year-old? Fourteen years of the British educational system.” – Bertrand Russell


” Homeschooling and public schooling are as opposite as two sides of a coin. In a homeschooling environment, the teacher need not be certified, but the child MUST learn. In a public school environment, the teacher MUST be certified, but the child need NOT learn.” ~Gene Royer


“The idea of learning acceptable social skills in a school is as absurd to me as learning nutrition from a grocery store.”~ Lisa Russell


“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” ~Roger Lewin


“Schooling confuses teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz


“When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.” – Albert Shanker, Former President of the American Federation of Teachers


“When test scores go up, we should worry, because of how poor a measure they are of what matters, and what you typically sacrifice in a desperate effort to raise scores.” – Alfie Kohn


“When the state or federal government controls the education of all of our children, they have the dangerous and illegitimate monopoly to control and influence the thought process of our citizens.” – Michael Badnarik, 2004 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate


“Whenever people talk glibly of a need to achieve educational “excellence,” I think of what an improvement it would be if our public schools could just achieve mediocrity.” – Thomas Sowell


“Where once a tyrant had to wish that his subjects had but one common neck that he might strangle them all at once, all he has to do now is to ‘educate the people’ so that they will have but one common mind to delude.” – Richard Mitchell, “The Underground Grammarian”


“Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.” – Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister (1874)


“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.” ~John Holt


“Who besides a degraded rabble would voluntarily present itself to be graded and classified like meat? No wonder school is compulsory.” – John Taylor Gatto, “The Underground History of American Education”


950,000 school children are treated with powerful mind control drugs for “hyperactivity” every year–with side effects like weight loss, growth retardation and acute psychosis.


A family member asked my wife, “Aren’t you concerned about his (our son’s) socialization with other kids?” My wife gave this response: “Go to your local middle school, junior high, or high school, walk down the hallways, and tell me which behavior you see that you think our son should emulate.” – Manfred B. Zysk


“You laugh because I’m different… I laugh because you’re all the same.”