Earlier this month, I was invited to be a keynote speaker on the theme of "Education for Economic Success" at the Education World Forum, which brought education ministers and leaders from over 75 countries together in London.
Education is fundamental to development and growth. The human mind makes possible all development achievements, from health advances and agricultural innovations to efficient public administration and private sector growth. For countries to reap these benefits fully, they need to unleash the potential of the human mind. And there is no better tool for doing so than education.
Twenty years ago, government officials and development partners met to affirm the importance of education in development—on economic development and broadly on improving people’s lives—and together declared Education for All as a goal. While enrolments have risen in promising fashion around the world, learning levels have remained disappointingly and many remain left behind. Because growth, development, and poverty reduction depend on the knowledge and skills that people acquire, not the number of years that they sit in a classroom, we must transform our call to action from Education for All toLearning for All.
The World Bank’s forthcoming Education Strategy will emphasize several core ideas: Invest early. Invest smartly. Invest in learning for all.
First, foundational skills acquired early in childhood make possible a lifetime of learning. The traditional view of education as starting in primary school takes up the challenge too late. The science of brain development shows that learning needs to be encouraged early and often, both inside and outside of the formal schooling system. Prenatal health and early childhood development programs that include education and health are consequently important to realize this potential. In the primary years, quality teaching is essential to give students the foundational literacy and numeracy on which lifelong learning depends. Adolescence is also a period of high potential for learning, but many teenagers leave school at this point, lured by the prospect of a job, the need to help their families, or turned away by the cost of schooling. For those who drop out too early, second-chance and nonformal learning opportunities are essential to ensure that all youth can acquire skills for the labor market.
Second, getting results requires smart investments—that is, investments that prioritize and monitor learning, beyond traditional metrics, such as the number of teachers trained or number of students enrolled. Quality needs to be the focus of education investments, with learning gains as the key metric of quality. Resources are too limited and the challenges too big to be designing policies and programs in the dark. We need evidence on what works in order to invest smartly.
Third, learning for all means ensuring that all students, and not just the most privileged or gifted, acquire the knowledge and skills that they need. Major challenges of access remain for disadvantaged populations at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We must lower the barriers that keep girls, children with disabilities, and ethnolinguistic minorities from attaining as much education as other population groups. “Learning for All” promotes the equity goals that underlie Education for All and the MDGs. Without confronting equity issues, it will be impossible to achieve the objective of learning for all.
Achieving learning for all will be challenging, but it is the right agenda for the next decade. It is the knowledge and skills that children and youth acquire today—not simply their school attendance—that will drive their employability, productivity, health, and well-being in the decades to come, and that will help ensure that their communities and nations thrive.
Read the full text of my speech to the Education World Forum here.
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.
- You can think of the curriculum as the shadows cast on a wall by the light of education itself as it shines over, under, around, and through the myriad phases of our experience. It is a mistake to be sure to take these shadows for the reality, but they are something that helps us find or grasp or intuit that reality. The false notions that there is a fixed curriculum, that there is a list of things that an educated person ought to know, and that the shadow-exercises on the wall themselves are the content of education—these false notions all come from taking too seriously what was originally a wise recognition—the recognition that the shadows do in fact provide a starting point in our attempt to fully envision reality.
- Andrew Abbott, “Welcome to the University of Chicago,” Aims of Education Address, September 26, 2002
- Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.
- 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 object of education is not merely to enable our children to gain their daily bread and to acquire pleasant means of recreation, but that they should know God and serve Him with earnestness and devotion.
- The reproduction of labour power thus reveals as its sine qua non not only the reproduction of its ‘skills’ but also the reproduction of its subjection to the ruling ideology. ... It is in the forms and under the forms of ideological subjection that provision is made for the reproduction of the skills of labour power.
- "Much knowledge of the right sort is a dangerous thing for the poor," might have been the motto put up over the door of the village school in my day. The less book-learning the labourer's lad got stuffed into him, the better for him and the safer for those above him, was what those in authority believed and acted up to. I daresay they made themselves think somehow or other—perhaps by not thinking—that they were doing their duty in that state of life to which it had pleased God to call them, when they tried to numb his brain, as a preliminary to stunting his body later on, as stunt it they did, by forcing him to work like a beast of burden for a pittance.
- Joseph Arch, The Story of his Life Told by Himself (1898), p. 25
- [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).
- For rigorous teachers seized my youth,
And purged its faith, and trimm’d its fire,
Show’d me the high white star of Truth,
There bade me gaze, and there aspire.
- 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?
- Stephen Arons. Compelling Belief: The Culture of American Schooling (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983), 88.
- The assumption is all but universal among those who control our educational policies from the elementary grades to the university that anything that sets bounds to the free unfolding of the temperamental proclivities of the young, to their right of self-expression, as one may say, is outworn prejudice. Discipline, so far as it exists, is not of the humanistic or the religious type, but of the kind that one gets in training for a vocation or a specialty. The standards of a genuinely liberal education, as they have been understood, more or less from the time of Aristotle, are being progressively undermined by the utilitarians and the sentimentalists. If the Baconian-Rousseauistic formula is as unsound in certain of its postulates as I myself believe, we are in danger of witnessing in this country one of the great cultural tragedies of the ages.
- Irving Babbitt, "What I Believe" (1930), Irving Babbitt: Representative Writings (1981), p. 16
- To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar.
- Francis Bacon, "Of Studies," in The Essayes or Counsels, Civil and Moral, of Francis Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban (1625) as quoted in Bacon's Essays (1892) p. 128
- There is a risk of elevating, by an indiscriminating education, the minds of those doomed to the drudgery of daily labour above their condition, and thereby rendering them discontented and unhappy in their lot.
- Reverend Andrew Bell, as cited in Education for the Future: The Case for Radical Change (1979), p. 29
- I have often observed, to my regret, that a widespread prejudice exists with regard to the educability of intelligence. The familiar proverb, "When one is stupid, it is for a long time," seems to be accepted indiscriminately by teachers with a stunted critical judgement. These teacher lose interest in students with low intelligence. Their lack of sympathy and respect is illustrated by their unrestrained comments in the presence of the children: "This child will never achieve anything... He is poorly endowed... He is not intelligent at all." I have heard such rash statements too often. They are repeated daily in primary schools, nor are secondary schools exempt from the charge.
- Alfred Binet (1909/1975). Modern ideas about children. Translated by Suzanne Heisler. Menlo Park, CA. Les idées modernes sur les enfants, Paris, E. Flammarion, 1909., as cited in: B.R. Hergenhahn. An Introduction to the History of Psychology 2009. p. 312-3
- Our schools may be wasting precious years by postponing the teaching of many important subjects on the ground that they are too difficult…the foundations of any subject may be taught to anybody at any age in some form.
- Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud-turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay-fields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education.
By being well acquainted with all these they come into most intimate harmony with nature, whose lessons are, of course, natural and wholesome.
- Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.
- There's a reason some may say education sucks, and it's the same reason it will never 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.
- That there should one Man die ignorant who had capacity for Knowledge, this I call a tragedy.
- When I speak of the purpose of self-culture, I mean that it should be sincere. In other words, we must make self-culture really and truly our end, or choose it for its own sake, and not merely as a means or instrument of something else. And here I touch a common and very pernicious error. Not a few persons desire to improve themselves only to get property and to rise in the world; but such do not properly choose improvement, but something outward and foreign to themselves; and so low an impulse can produce only a stinted, partial, uncertain growth. A man, as I have said, is to cultivate himself because he is a man. He is to start with the conviction that there is something greater within him than in the whole material creation, than in all the worlds which press on the eye and ear; and that inward improvements have a worth and dignity in themselves quite distinct from the power they give over outward things. Undoubtedly a man is to labor to better his condition, but first to better himself. If he knows no higher use of his mind than to invent and drudge for his body, his case is desperate as far as culture is concerned.
- 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
- Mass public education is one of the great achievements of the United States. ... The U.S. did pioneer it, but it had purposes. One purpose was to drive independent farmers into the industrial system, to induce them to give up their independence, the rights of free men and women, and to submit themselves to industrial discipline and everything that went along with it, to accept a life of wage slavery. ... Ralph Waldo Emerson discussed the fact that the political leaders of his day ... were calling for popular education. When he thought about why they were doing it, he said their reason is fear. "They say this country is filling up with thousands and millions of voters, and you must educate them to keep them from our throats." In other words, educate them, the right way, to passivity, obedience, acceptance of their fate as right and just, conforming to the new spirit of the age, keep their perspectives narrow, their understanding limited, discourage free, independent thought, frighten them into obedience, because the masters are afraid.
- If there is to be any permanent improvement in man and any better social order, it must come mainly from the education and humanizing of man. I am quite certain that the more the question of crime and its treatment is studied the less faith men have in punishment.
- Clarence DarrowCrime : Its Cause And Treatment (1922) Ch. 36 "Remedies"
- If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.
- 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.
- 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.
- I hope we still have some bright twelve-year-olds who are interested in science. We must be careful not to discourage our twelve-year-olds by making them waste the best years of their lives on preparing for examinations.
- Freeman Dyson, “Butterflies and Superstrings” in Timothy Ferris (ed.) The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics (p. 135)
- How does it happen that a properly endowed natural scientist comes to concern himself with epistemology? Is there no more valuable work in his specialty? I hear many of my colleagues saying, and I sense it from many more, that they feel this way. I cannot share this sentiment. When I think about the ablest students whom I have encountered in my teaching, that is, those who distinguish themselves by their independence of judgment and not merely their quick-wittedness, I can affirm that they had a vigorous interest in epistemology. They happily began discussions about the goals and methods of science, and they showed unequivocally, through their tenacity in defending their views, that the subject seemed important to them. Indeed, one should not be surprised at this.
- Albert Einstein, “Ernst Mach,” Physikalische Zeitschrift (1916) 17, pp. 101-102, a memorial notice for Ernst Mach, as quoted by Don Howard, "Albert Einstein on the Relationship between Philosophy and Physics."
- All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. It is no mere chance that our older universities developed from clerical schools. Both churches and universities — insofar as they live up to their true function — serve the ennoblement of the individual. They seek to fulfill this great task by spreading moral and cultural understanding, renouncing the use of brute force.
- Albert Einstein, "Moral Decay" (1937); published in Out of My Later Years (1950)
- 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.
- 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.
- Parents thought it was enough to bring their children into the world and to shower them with riches, but had no interest in their education. There are severe laws against people who expose their children and abandon them in some forest to be devoured by wild animals. But is there any form of exposure more cruel than to abandon to bestial impulses children whom nature intended to be raised according to upright principles to live a good life? If there existed a Thessalian witch who had the power and the desire to transform your son into a swine or a wolf, would you not think that no punishment could be too severe for her? But what you find revolting in her, you eagerly practise yourself. Lust is a hideous brute; extravagance is a devouring and insatiable monster; drunkenness is a savage beast; anger is a fearful creature; and ambition is a ghastly animal. Anyone who fails to instil into his child, from his earliest years onwards, a love of good and a hatred of evil is, in fact, exposing him to these cruel monsters.
- Erasmus, “On Education for Children,” The Erasmus Reader (University of Toronto Press: 1990), p. 74
- Remarquez un grand défaut des éducations ordinaires: on met tout le plaisir d'un côté , et tout l'ennui de l'autre; tout l'ennui dans l'étude, tout le plaisir dans les divertissements.
- The greatest defect of common education is, that we are in the habit of putting pleasure all on one side, and weariness on the other; all weariness in study, all pleasure in idleness.
- François FénelonDe l'éducation des filles, ch. 5, cited from De l’éducation des filles, dialogues des morts et opuscules divers (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1857) p. 21; translation from Selections from the Writings of Fénelon (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, Little and Wilkins, 1829) p. 72.
- The greatest defect of common education is, that we are in the habit of putting pleasure all on one side, and weariness on the other; all weariness in study, all pleasure in idleness.
- Teaching, as well as preaching, to which it is allied, is certainly a work belonging to the active life, but it derives in a way from the very fullness of contemplation
- Étienne Gilson, Thomism: The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, Introduction
- 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
- As the true object of education is not to render the pupil the mere copy of his preceptor, it is rather to be rejoiced in, than lamented, that various reading should lead him into new trains of thinking.
- Nicht vor Irrthum zu bewahren, ist die Pflicht des Menschenerziehers, sondern den Irrenten zu leiten, ja, ihn seinen Irrthum aus vollen Bechern ausschlürfen zu lassen, das ist Weisheit der Lehrer. Wer seinen Irrthum nur kostet, hält lange damit Haus, er freuet sich dessen als eines seltenen Glücks; aber wer ihn ganz erschöpft, der muß ihn kennen lernen, wenn er nicht wahnsinnig ist.
- Not to keep from error, is the duty of the educator of men, but to guide the erring one, even to let him swill his error out of full cups. That is the wisdom of teachers. He who merely tastes of his error will keep house with it for a long time. … But he who drains it to the dregs will have to get to know it.
- Even if the world progresses generally, youth will always begin at the beginning, and the epochs of the world's cultivation will be repeated in the individual.
- Elitism is repulsive when based upon external and artificial limitations like race, gender, or social class. Repulsive and utterly false—for that spark of genius is randomly distributed across all cruel barriers of our social prejudice. We therefore must grant access—and encouragement—to everyone; and must be increasingly vigilant, and tirelessly attentive, in providing such opportunities to all children. We will have no justice until this kind of equality can be attained. But if only a small minority respond, and these are our best and brightest of all races, classes, and genders, shall we deny them the pinnacle of their soul's striving because all their colleagues prefer passivity and flashing lights? Let them lift their eyes to hills of books, and at least a few museums that display the full magic of nature's variety. What is wrong with this truly democratic form of elistim?
- Stephen Jay Gould, "Cabinet Museums: Alive, Alive, O!", Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History (1995)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 educated don't get that way by memorizing facts; they get that way by respecting them.
- Tom Heehler, The Well-Spoken Thesaurus (Sourcebooks 2011).
- 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.
- 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
- Between the ages of five and nine I was almost perpetually at war with the educational system. ... As soon as I learned from my mother that there was there was a place called school that I must attend willy-nilly—a place where you were obliged to think about matters prescribed by a 'teacher,' not about matters decided by yourself—I was appalled.
- Fred Hoyle, The Small World of Fred Hoyle: an Autobiography (1986)
- One purpose of education is to draw out the elements of our common human nature. These elements are the same in any time or place. The notion of educating a man to live in any particular time or place, to adjust him to any particular environment, is therefore foreign to a true conception of education.
Education implies teaching. Teaching implies knowledge. Knowledge is truth. The truth is everywhere the same. Hence education should be everywhere the same.
- H. Gordon Hullfish, Philip G. Smith, Reflective Thinking: The Method of Education (1961) p. 129.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- Plato is the first writer who distinctly says that education is to comprehend the whole of life, and to be a preparation for another in which education begins again... He has long given up the notion that virtue cannot be taught; and he is disposed to modify the thesis of the Protagoras, that the virtues are one and not many. He is not unwilling to admit the sensible world into his scheme of truth. Nor does he assert in the Republic the involuntariness of vice, which is maintained by him in the Timaeus, Sophist, and Laws... Still, we observe in him the remains of the old Socratic doctrine, that true knowledge must be elicited from within, and is to be sought for in ideas, not in particulars of sense. Education, as he says, will implant a principle of intelligence which is better than ten thousand eyes. The paradox that the virtues are one, and the kindred notion that all virtue is knowledge, are not entirely renounced; the first is seen in the supremacy given to justice over the rest; the second in the tendency to absorb the moral virtues in the intellectual, and to centre all goodness in the contemplation of the idea of good. The world of sense is still depreciated and identified with opinion, though omitted to be a shadow of the true. In the Republic he is evidently impressed with the conviction that vice arises chiefly from ignorance and may be cured by education; the multitude are hardly to be deemed responsible for what they do ... he only proposes to elicit from the mind that which is there already. Education is represented by him, not as the filling of a vessel, but as the turning the eye of the soul towards the light.
- Benjamin Jowett, "Introduction and Analyisis," (1892) p. cc, The Dialogues of Plato: Republic. Timaeus. Critias.Vol. 3The Republic
- Man must develop his tendency towards the good.
- 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.
- Transforming hereditary privilege into ‘merit,’ the existing system of educational selection, with the Big Three [Harvard, Princeton, and Yale] as its capstone, provides the appearance if not the substance of equality of opportunity. In so doing, it legitimates the established order as one that rewards ability over the prerogatives of birth. The problem with a ‘meritocracy,’ then, is not only that its ideals are routinely violated (though that is true), but also that it veils the power relations beneath it. For the definition of ‘merit,’ including the one that now prevails in America’s leading universities, always bears the imprint of the distribution of power in the larger society. Those who are able to define ‘merit’ will almost invariably possess more of it, and those with greater resources—cultural, economic and social—will generally be able to ensure that the educational system will deem their children more meritorious.
- Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (Houghton Mifflin: 2005), pp. 549-550
- When brought to the proletariat from the capitalist class, science is invariably adapted to suit capitalist interests. What the proletariat needs is a scientific understanding of its own position in society. That kind of science a worker cannot obtain in the officially and socially approved manner. The proletarian himself must develop his own theory. For this reason he must be completely self-taught.
- 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 
- Give the children of the poor that portion of education which will enable them to know their own resources ; which will cultivate in them an onward-looking hope, and give them rational amusement in their leisure hours : this, and this only, will work out that moral revolution, which is the legislator's noblest purpose.
- As educators, rather than raising your voices over the rustling of our chains, take them off, uncuff us, unencumbered by the lumbering weight of poverty and privilege, policy and ignorance. ... If you take the time to connect the dots, you can plot the true shape of their genius, shining in their darkest hour. ... Beneath their masks and their mischiefs exists an authentic frustration at enslavement to your standardized assessments. At the core, none of us were meant to be common. We were meant to comets, leaving our mark as we crash into everything. ... I’ve been the black hole in the classroom for far too long, absorbing everything without allowing my light to escape, but those days are done. I belong among the stars and so do you.
- I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God's word becomes corrupt. Because of this we can see what kind of people they become in the universities and what they are like now. Nobody is to blame for this except the pope, the bishops, and the prelates, who are all charged with training young people. The universities only ought to turn out men who are experts in the Holy Scriptures, men who can become bishops and priests, and stand in the front line against heretics, the devil, and all the world. But where do you find that? I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates to hell.
- Martin LutherTo the Christian Nobility of the German States (1520), translated by Charles M. Jacobs, reported in rev. James Atkinson, The Christian in Society, I (Luther’s Works, ed. James Atkinson, vol. 44), p. 207 (1966).
- 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.
- An uneducated population may be degraded; a population educated, but not in righteousness, will be ungovernable. The one may be slaves, the other must be tyrants.
- Henry Melvill (1798–1871). Quote reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 364.
- 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
- 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.
- I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.
- The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.
- Continued adherence to a policy of compulsory education is utterly incompatible with efforts to establish lasting peace.
- 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, Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, Ludwig von Mises Institute (2007) p. 263. First published by Yale University Press, 1957
- Show me the man who has enjoyed his schooldays and I will show you a bully and a bore.
- The Prophet said, "He who has a slave-girl and teaches her good manners and improves her education and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward; and any slave who observes Allah's right and his master's right will get a double reward."
- Muhammad narrated Abu Musa Al-Ashari, in Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 46, Number 723'
- 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).
- 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, cited in In Conflict and Order: Understanding Society, p. 153
- A tax-supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state.
- Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine New Brunswick: NJ, Transaction Publishers (2009), first published 1943, p. 258
- 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.
- I believe that school makes complete fools of our young men, because they see and hear nothing of ordinary life there.
- 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.
- Men must be taught as if you taught them not
And things unknown proposed as things forgot.
- This education forms the common mind, Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.
- 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.
- Formal education teaches how to stand, but to see the rainbow you must come out and walk many steps on your own.
- Amit Ray, Nonviolence: The Transforming Power
- Education is beautification of the inner world and the outer world.
- Amit Ray, Nonviolence: The Transforming Power
- Education is unfolding the wings of head and heart together. The job of a teacher is to push the students out of the nest to strengthen their wings.
- Amit Ray, Walking the Path of Compassion (2015) p. 62
- 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.
- Early socialists and latter-day mercantilists and interventionist were united in the battle for state-controlled education as a means of social control. The uncontrolled mind was a dangerous mind.
- Rousas John Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education: Studies in the History of the Philosophy of Education, Phillpsburg, NJ, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company (1963) p. 35
- There is only one thing that can kill the movies, and that is education.
- We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.
- 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.
- If you teach a man anything he will never learn it.
- Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal. ... The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit. An educated, well-informed population, the kind that a functioning democracy requires, would be difficult to lie to, and could not be led by the nose by the various vested interests running amok in this country.
- Different views of the same truths are seldom disagreeable to men of taste, and are equally useful to beginners with the writings of different authors upon the same subject.
- Children arrived at the age of maturity belong, not to the parents, but to the State, to society, to the country.
- John Swett, History of the Public School System of California, San Francisco: CA, Bancroft (1876) p. 113
- The education of the child must accord both in mode and arrangement with the education of mankind, considered historically. In other words, the genesis of knowledge in the individual, must follow the same course as the genesis of knowledge in the race. In strictness, this principle may be considered as already expressed by implication; since both being processes of evolution, must conform to those same general laws of evolution... and must therefore agree with each other. Nevertheless this particular parallelism is of value for the specific guidance it affords. To M. Comte we believe society owes the enunciation of it; and we may accept this item of his philosophy without at all committing ourselves to the rest.
- If there be an order in which the human race has mastered its various kinds of knowledge, there will arise in every child an aptitude to acquire these kinds of knowledge in the same order. So that even were the order intrinsically indifferent, it would facilitate education to lead the individual mind through the steps traversed by the general mind. But the order is not intrinsically indifferent; and hence the fundamental reason why education should be a repetition of civilization in little.
- It is provable both that the historical sequence was, in its main outlines, a necessary one; and that the causes which determined it apply to the child as to the race. ...as the mind of humanity placed in the midst of phenomena and striving to comprehend them has, after endless comparisons, speculations, experiments, and theories, reached its present knowledge of each subject by a specific route; it may rationally be inferred that the relationship between mind and phenomena is such as to prevent this knowledge from being reached by any other route; and that as each child's mind stands in this same relationship to phenomena, they can be accessible to it only through the same route. Hence in deciding upon the right method of education, an inquiry into the method of civilization will help to guide us.
- 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
- Teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.
- The public, therefore, among a democratic people, has a singular power, which aristocratic nations cannot conceive; for it does not persuade others to its beliefs, but it imposes them and makes them permeate the thinking of everyone by a sort of enormous pressure of the mind of all upon the individual intelligence. In the United States the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own. Everybody there adopts great numbers of theories, on philosophy, morals, and politics, without inquiry, upon public trust; and if we examine it very closely, it will be perceived that religion itself holds sway there much less as a doctrine of revelation than as a commonly received opinion.
- I had been to school most all the time and could spell and read and write just a little, and could say the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty-five, and I don't reckon I could ever get any further than that if I was to live forever. I don't take no stock in mathematics anyway.
At first I hated school, but by and by I got so I could stand it. Whenever I got uncommon tired I played hookey, and the hiding I got the next day done me good and cheered me up. So the longer I went to school the easier it got to be.
- Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.
- 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.
- Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it for many thousands of years.
- John B. Watson. Behaviorism (Revised edition). (1930). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p.82.
- 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.
- The prevailing conception is that education must be such as will enable one to acquire enough wealth to live on the plane of the bourgeoisie. That kind of education does not develop the aristocratic virtues. It neither encourages reflection nor inspires reverence for the good.