The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Education

Every boy and girl in America ought to go to school. The public school is one of the best institutions connected with the life of our nation. ~Silas X. Floyd (1869–1923), "Keeping School," Floyd's Flowers: or, Duty and Beauty for Colored Children, 1905

Despise school and remain a fool. ~German proverb

We must be men of our age. Useful knowledge, living languages, and the forming of the mind through observation and experiment, these are the fundamental articles of my educational creed. ~"Archimedes Silverpump, Ph.D." (Matthew Arnold)

      Education is a heroic task and the answer to just about anything... Education is an expensive proposition but there's no choice:  nobody is born smart and we need good schools. Every child needs a beloved teacher in the early grades to instill a love of school, that enchanted world of books and paper and pencils and multiplication tables and maps and pictures, a love that will see the child through stretches of tedium and moments of panic...
      When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal. ~Garrison Keillor, Homegrown Democrat:  A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America, 2004,

Where are gone those older spirits in education who knew and taught boldly that school is an apprenticeship, and a hard one, for a life harder yet? and that prayer is necessary not to escape burdens but for strength the better to carry them? ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

The education of the twentieth century will develop the heart as well as the intellect. ~G. Stanley Hall (1846–1924)

The things taught in schools & colleges are not an education but the means of education. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1831

Real education must ultimately be limited to men who INSIST on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding. ~Ezra Pound, "The Instructor: II," Chapter Eight, ABC of Reading, 1934

Education should be exercise; it has become massage. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It's like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won't fatten the dog. ~Mark Twain, 1900

Jails and state prisons are the complement of schools: so many less as you have of the latter, so many more must you have of the former. ~Horace Mann (1796–1859)

Observation more than books, experience rather than persons, are the prime educators. ~A. Bronson Alcott (1799–1888)

Education aims to give you a boost up the ladder of knowledge. Too often, it just gives you a cramp on one of its rungs. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook. ~Henry David Thoreau

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, "The True Function and Value of Criticism; With Some Remarks on the Importance of Doing Nothing: A Dialogue," The Nineteenth Century, July 1890 (Gilbert speaking)

What if man were required to educate his children without the help of talking animals. ~Robert Brault,

What is education? Properly speaking, there is no such thing as education. Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another. ~G. K. Chesterton, "Small Property and Popular Government," 1924

The joy of mental adventure is far commoner in the young than in grown men and women. Among children it is very common, and grows naturally out of the period of make-believe and fancy. It is rare in later life because everything is done to kill it during education. Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth... Hope, not fear, is the creative principle in human affairs. All that has made man great has sprung from the attempt to secure what is good, not from the struggle to avert what was thought evil. It is because modern education is so seldom inspired by a great hope that it so seldom achieves a great result. The wish to preserve the past rather than the hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young. Education should not aim at a passive awareness of dead facts, but at an activity directed towards the world that our efforts are to create. It should be inspired, not by a regretful hankering after the extinct beauties of Greece and the Renaissance, but by a shining vision of the society that is to be, of the triumphs that thought will achieve in the time to come, and of the ever-widening horizon of man's survey over the universe. Those who are taught in this spirit will be filled with life and hope and joy, able to bear their part in bringing to mankind a future less somber than the past, with faith in the glory that human effort can create. ~Bertrand Russell, "Education," Why Men Fight: A Method of Abolishing the International Duel, 1917

What a misfortune it is that we should thus be compelled to let our boys' schooling interfere with their education! ~Grant Allen, 1894, commonly attributed with various wordings to Mark Twain  []

If you teach your children nothing else, teach them the Golden Rule and "righty-tighty, lefty-loosey." ~Robert Brault,

      We believed then, and believe now, that we had a good government, worth fighting for, and, if need be, dying for. How many of our comrades of ten and fourteen years ago paid the latter price for our preserved Union! Let their heroism and sacrifices be ever green in our memory. Let not the results of their sacrifices be destroyed.
      Let us guard against every enemy threatening the perpetuity of free republican institutions. If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition, and ignorance on the other.
      The free public school is the promoter of that intelligence which is to preserve us as a free nation. Let us all labor to add all needful guarantees for the more perfect security of free thought, free speech, and free press; pure morals, unfettered religious sentiments, and of equal rights and privileges to all men, irrespective of nationality, color, or religion.
      Encourage free schools and resolve that not one dollar of money appropriated to their support shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian school. Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate. ~Ulysses S. Grant, speech, 1875  [abridged —tg]  #CivilWar #PublicEducation

This is a free country because compulsory education. ~E.E. Cummings, 1940

Actually... all education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you an education... What you receive is like the outlines in a child's coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself. ~Louis L'Amour, The Lonesome Gods, 1983

Nothing is as stupid as an educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated on. ~Will Rogers

A good teacher must know the rules; a good pupil, the exceptions. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

      Eeyore had three sticks on the ground... Two of the sticks were touching at one end, but not at the other, and the third stick was laid across them...
      "It's an A."
      "Oh," said Piglet.
      "Not O, A," said Eeyore... "Do you know what A means...? It means Learning, it means Education... People come and go in this Forest... It's just three sticks to them. But to the Educated... it's a great and glorious A..."
      ~A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner, "Chapter Five: In Which Rabbit Has a Busy Day, and We Learn What Christopher Robin Does in the Mornings," 1928

A man must serve his time to every trade,
Save censure—critics all are ready made.
Take hackney'd jokes from Miller, got by rote
With just enough learning to misquote...
~Lord Byron, "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers; A Satire," 1809

The job of education is not just to eradicate ignorance but to eradicate certainty in all its forms. ~Robert Brault,

There is no such thing as complete education, and I hope we have heard the last of the girl who is going to Boston to complete her education. ~Elbert Hubbard

He is an educated man in the best sense of the word — mindful always that there is no such thing as complete education. We are always going to school, and success consists in striving eternally, but never arriving. ~Elbert Hubbard

The tragedy of education is played in two scenes — incompetent pupils facing competent teachers and incompetent teachers facing competent pupils. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

But oh! the Latin!—Madame, you can really have no idea of what a mess it is. The Romans would never have found time to conquer the world if they had been obliged first to learn Latin. Lucky dogs! they already knew in their cradles the nouns ending in im. I on the contrary had to learn it by heart, in the sweat of my brow... ~Heinrich Heine, "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855

But books are good only as far as a boy is ready for them. He sometimes gets ready very slowly. You send your child to the schoolmaster, but 'tis the schoolboys who educate him. You send him to the Latin class, but much of his tuition comes, on his way to school, from the shop-windows... Well, the boy is right; and you are not fit to direct his bringing up if your theory leaves out his gymnastic training... archery, cricket... dancing, dress, and the street-talk...These minor skills and accomplishments... are the tickets of admission to the dress-circle of mankind, and the being master of them enables the youth to judge intelligently of much on which, otherwise, he would give a pedantic squint. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Conduct of Life: Culture," 1860

Education! Why say it is a stimulant when it is really an anaesthetic? ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

      Most of the ancients lived under governments that had virtue for their principle; and when this was in full vigour, they performed things unbeheld in our times, and such as are capable of astonishing our little souls.
      Another advantage their education had over ours; it never was effaced by contrary impressions... In our days we receive three different or contrary educations, namely, of our parents, of our school-masters, and of the world. What we learn in the latter, effaces all the ideas of the former. This, in some measure, arises from the contrast we experience between our religious and worldly engagements; a thing unknown to the ancients. ~Montesquieu (1689–1755), translated from French

I shall take the liberty of transporting you one hundred years into the future, to the year 1982. If you look back to 1882 you will be surprised at the rapidity of human progress... We are now very particular to make the schools adapted to the development of bodies as well as minds. We recognize above all things that bodies and minds are one, and must be taken together. For the first twenty years no child is allowed to study with the brain more than one consecutive hour. Play is called body study, and is as carefully taught as any other science. So body study alternates hourly with brain study. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "New Year in 1982," Liberty and Life: Discourses by E. P. Powell, 1889  [a little altered —tg]

Education is the process of driving a set of prejudices down your throats. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962), quoted from a physiology lecture by his University of Cincinnati student Howard D. Fabing in Fischerisms, 1930  ["We are made little wiser, tho much more vain and conceited in the Universitys.... The University is the most fertile Nursery of Prejudices, whereof the greatest is, that we think there to learn every thing, when in reality we are taught nothing; only talk by Rote with mighty assurance the precarious Notions of our Systems, which if deny'd by another, we have not a word further to say out of our common Road, nor any Arguments left, to satisfy the Opposer or our selves." ~John Toland (1670-1722) —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

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published 1998 Mar 18
revised 2021 Jul 13
last saved 2023 Oct 28