Illinois Loop
Your guide to education in Illinois
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Quotes on Education

    Welcome to the Illinois Loop collection of quotations on education! For teachers and parents who value such antiquated concepts as "knowledge" and "teaching", this huge collection of quotes will also provide ammunition as well as encouragement!

    If you gag on the never-ending parade of out-of-context quotations posted up in classrooms as supposed arguments against substantive learning (e.g., "Imagination is more important than knowledge" -- Einstein) then you've come to the right place!

The Best

    "Mankind would lose half its wisdom built up over centuries if it lost its great sayings. They contain the best parts of the best books."
    -- Thomas Jefferson
    "Knowledge is power. Rather, knowledge is happiness. To have knowledge, deep broad knowledge, is to know truth from false and lofty things from low.
    -- Helen Keller
    "Excellence is achieved by the mastery of fundamentals."
    -- Vince Lombardi
    "Knowing is the measure of the man. By how much we know, so we are."
    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
    "Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for."
    -- Socrates
    "I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity."
    -- Marcus Tullius Cicero
    "Having opinions without knowledge is not of much value; not knowing the difference between them is a positive indicator of ignorance."
    -- Diane Ravitch
    "To know nothing of what happened before you were born is to remain ever a child"
    -- Cicero
    "No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which he took no interest"
    -- T.S. Eliot
    "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children"
    -- United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26(3)
    "What ruins mankind is the ignorance of experts."
    -- G. K. Chesterton
    "The problem with many youngsters today is not that they don't have opinions but that they don't have the facts on which to base their opinions."
    -- Albert Shanker
    "Without supporting the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake, our options become dangerously limited."
    -- Carl Sagan
    "The only reason that public schools enjoy as much support as they still do is that most parents are harboring the illusion that the schools are somehow similar to the schools of their own youth." -- Dave Ziffer


Tips on finding citations and additional information

    We have tried to provide citations for our quotations collection. More extensive citations, fuller context and additional information for many popular quotations can often be found by using quotation marks in a web search. For example, go to Google, and enter a phrase from the quotation making sure to surround it with quotation marks. The quotation marks tell the search engine that you only want links to pages that contain that exact phrase, not just those individual words scattered anywhere. Try to choose a phrase that is unlikely to be used frequently in other writings, and yet contains no words that might be spelled differently.

    Who said it? Here is a great source for checking accuracy and finding original speakers of quotations: Quote Investigator

Categories

Knowledge

    "Knowledge is power. Rather, knowledge is happiness. To have knowledge, deep broad knowledge, is to know truth from false and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked men's progress, is to feel the heartthrob of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life."
    -- Helen Keller

    "Knowledge is love and light and vision."
    -- Helen Keller

    "There is nothing quite so tragic as a young cynic, because it means the person has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing."
    -- Maya Angelou

    "Knowledge rests on knowledge; what is new is meaningful because it departs slightly from what was known before."
    -- Robert Oppenheimer

    "With more knowledge comes a deeper, more wonderful mystery, luring one on to penetrate deeper still. Never concerned that the answer may prove disappointing, with pleasure and confidence we turn over each new stone to find unimagined strangeness leading on to more wonderful questions and mysteries-certainly a grand adventure."
    -- Richard Feynman

    "Ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven."
    -- William Shakespeare, Henry VI Act 4, Scene 7

    "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's that so much they know isn't so."
    -- Ronald Reagan

    "What is ultimately practical for our species is to form the habit of valuing knowledge for its own sake."
    -- Robert Bates Graber

    "Never regard study as a duty but as an enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later works belong."
    -- Albert Einstein

    "Knowledge always desires increase; it is like fire, which must first be kindled by some external agent, but which will afterwards propagate itself.
    -- Samuel Johnson

    "Knowledge is one of the few things that can be given to others without reducing the amount you have left."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "The degree of one's emotion varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts. The less you know, the hotter you get."
    -- Bertrand Russell

    "Why does content matter? Content matters because skills are not enough. Skills are necessary but they are only the beginning of learning. Without skills, one cannot acquire knowledge. Knowledge builds on knowledge."
    -- Dr. Diane Ravitch

    "Content matters because it is the stuff that makes comprehension possible. Content matters because content is knowledge. Students with more knowledge have more vocabulary. Students with more vocabulary and knowledge have greater comprehension."
    -- Dr. Diane Ravitch

    "Instead of educating future journalists on the nuts and bolts of journalism -- because let's be honest, it isn't rocket science or even carpentry -- it would make more sense simply to teach them things. Facts, it turns out, are useful. Most people can write a nut graf after 30 minutes of practice, but comparatively few people can explain, say, econometrics, or fluid dynamics, or the history of the French Revolution. Aspiring journalists don't need tradecraft -- they need a liberal arts education that gives them a base of mastery in actual academic subjects."
    -- Jonathan V. Last, Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2006

    "One of the major contributions of psychology is the recognition [that] ... much of the information needed to understand a text is not provided by the information expressed in the text itself, but must be drawn from the language user's knowledge of the person, objects, states of affairs, actions, or events the discourse is about."
    -- Teun A. Van Dijk and Walter Kintsch, Strategies of Discourse Comprehension

    "What greater gift can we offer the republic than to teach and instruct our youth?"
    -- Cicero

    "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
    -- James Madison, letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822

    "Education is the transmission of civilization. Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned again by each new generation."
    -- David Kearns, former chair Xerox Corporation

    "By viewing the old we learn the new"
    -- Chinese proverb

    "No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which he took no interest"
    -- T.S. Eliot

    Sculley: "Why is it so dark in here?"
    Mulder: "Because the lights are out."

    "All your people must learn before you can reach for the stars."
    -- Star Trek's Capt. James T. Kirk, "Gamesters of Triskelion"

    "We grow accustomed to the dark, when light is put away."
    -- Emily Dickenson

    "Excellence is achieved by the mastery of fundamentals."
    -- Vince Lombardi

    "Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement."
    -- Peter F. Drucker

    "Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est." ("Knowledge is power.")
    -- Francis Bacon, Meditationes Sacrae. De Haeresibus.

    "Knowledge and human power are synonymous."
    -- Francis Bacon

    "Genius without education is like silver in the mine."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

    "If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

    "Non schola sed vita decimos" (Only the educated are free)
    -- Epictetus (AD 50-125)

    "It's harder to conceal ignorance than to acquire knowledge."
    -- Arnold Glasgow

    "The mind is the man, and knowledge mind; a man is but what he knoweth."
    -- Francis Bacon

    "It wasn't until late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say 'I don't know.'"
    -- W. Somerset Maugham

    "Charles V said that a man who knew four languages was worth four men; and Alexander the Great so valued learning, that he used to say he was more indebted to Aristotle for giving him knowledge than his father Philip for giving him life."
    -- Thomas B. Macaulay

    "The search for truth is in one way hard and in another way easy, for it is evident that no one can master it fully or miss it wholly. But each adds a little to our knowledge of nature, and from all the facts assembled there arises a certain grandeur.
    -- Aristotle

    All men by nature desire knowledge.
    -- Aristotle, Metaphysics, bk. 1, ch. 1

    "Knowledge is the food of the soul."
    -- Plato

    Incogito nullo cupido.
    (We cannot desire what we do not know.)
    -- Latin proverb

    "The best thing for being sad ... is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake in the middle of the night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting."
    -- T. H. White, Merlyn to the young King Arthur, The Once and Future King

    "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning."
    -- Proverbs 9:9 (RSV)

    "Apply your mind to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge."
    -- Proverbs 23:12 (RSV)

    "By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge than he who has strength"
    -- Proverbs 24:3-5 (RSV)

    "The advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it."
    -- Ecclesiastes 7:12

    "I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things"
    -- Ecclesiastes 7:25

    "The first law of history is not to dare to utter falsehood; the second, not to fear to speak the truth."
    -- Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903)

    "Knowledge is the only fountain both of love and the principles of human liberty."
    -- Daniel Webster

    "As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information."
    -- Benjamin Disraeli

    "Memory is the cabinet of imagination, the treasury of reason, the registry of conscience, and the council chamber of thought."
    -- St. Basil

    "True expertise is the most potent form of authority."
    -- Victoria Bond, conductor

    "A desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being whose mind is not debauched will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge."
    -- Samuel Johnson

    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
    -- President John Adams

    "To educate a man is to unfit him to be a slave."
    -- Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), escaped slave, abolitionist, author

    "The more the ignorance, the better the slave"
    -- Edmund Fairfield, President, Hillsdale College, July 4, 1853

    "Et nunc, reges, intelligite, erudimini, qui judicati terram:
    And now, kings, understand; you who decide the fate of the Earth, educate yourselves"
    -- Unknown

    "Everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough."
    -- Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate

    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge."
    -- Bertrand Russell

    "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it."
    -- Margaret Fuller

    "The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you."
    -- B.B. King

    "The further I go, the sorrier I am about how little I know: it is this that bothers me the most."
    -- Claude Monet

    "Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness."
    -- George Santayana

    "Each excellent thing, once learned, serves for a measure of all other knowledge."
    -- Sir Philip Sidney

    "Knowledge is power and enthusiasm pulls the switch."
    -- Steve Droke

    "The three-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots."
    -- Robert Heinlein

    "Let knowledge grow from more to more."
    -- Alfred Tennyson Tennyson, "In Memoriam", Prologue, line 25

    "Knowledge, in truth, is the great sun in the firmament. Life and power are scattered with all its beams."
    -- Daniel Webster, address on laying the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument

    "Knowledge is the only fountain both of the love and the principles of human liberty."
    -- Daniel Webster, completion of Bunker Hill Monument

    "Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement."
    -- Peter F. Drucker

    "All men by nature desire to know."
    -- Aristotle

    "One of the most common reasons so few people are consistently able to achieve meaningful results is that they are unwilling to experience the discomfort associated with relentlessly pursuing a correct perception of reality."
    -- Stuart Brodie

    "Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul."
    -- Will Durant

    "Knowledge is an antidote to fear."
    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Knowledge begets knowledge. The more I see, the more impressed I am -- not with what we know -- but with how tremendous the areas are as yet unexplored."
    -- John H. Glenn, Jr.

    "Knowledge is more than equivalent to force."
    -- Samuel Johnson

    "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty."
    -- James Madison

    "As knowledge increases, wonder deepens."
    -- Charles Morgan

    "Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for."
    -- Socrates

    "The desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it."
    -- Laurence Sterne

    "Happy the man who knows the causes of things."
    -- Lucretius, Roman philosopher

    "Knowledge is the frontier of tomorrow."
    -- Denis Waitley

    "A man can only attain knowledge with the help of those who possess it. This must be understood from the very beginning. One must learn from him who knows."
    -- George Gurdjieff, 19th-20th-century Greek-Armenian religious teacher, quoted in: P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, ch. 2 (1949)

    "All knowledge is of itself of some value. There is nothing so minute or inconsiderable that I would not rather know it than not."
    -- Samuel Johnson, 18th-century English writer and lexicographer, quoted in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson

    "Any piece of knowledge I acquire today has a value at this moment exactly proportioned to my skill to deal with it. Tomorrow, when I know more, I recall that piece of knowledge and use it better."
    -- Mark van Doren, 20th-century American poet, Liberal Education (1943)

    "As the Spanish proverb says, 'He, who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.' So it is in travelling; a man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge."
    -- Samuel Johnson, 18th-century English writer and lexicographer, remark, 17 Apr. 1778, quoted in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, vol. 3 (1791)

    "Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge."
    -- Kahlil Gibran

    "The greater becomes the volume of our sphere of knowledge, the greater also becomes its surface of contact with the unknown."
    -- Jules Sageret, French scientist

    "For remember, my friend, the son of a shepherd who possesses knowledge is of greater worth to a nation than the heir to the throne, if he be ignorant. Knowledge is your true patent of nobility, no matter who your father or what your race may be."
    -- Kahlil Gibran, 20th-century Syrian-American mystic poet and painter "The Words of the Master," viii, in The Treasured Writings (1980)

    "Knowledge is the only fountain both of the love and the principles of human liberty."
    -- Daniel Webster, 19th-century American statesman and orator, in an address at the laying of the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument, 17 June 1825

    "Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people."
    -- John Adams, second President of the U.S., dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law (1765)

    "Man is distinguished, not only by his reason; but also by this singular passion from other animals ... which is a lust of the mind, that by a perseverance of delight in the continual and indefatigable generation of knowledge, exceeds the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure."
    -- Thomas Hobbes, 17th-century English philosopher, Leviathan, pt. 1, ch. 6 (1651)

    "Man is not weak; knowledge is more than equivalent to force."
    -- Samuel Johnson, 18th-century English writer and lexicographer, Imlac, in The History of Rasselas, ch. 13 (1759)

    "To know the road ahead, ask those coming back."
    -- Chinese proverb

    "Talk about those subjects you have had long in your mind, and listen to what others say about subjects you have studied but recently."
    -- Oliver Wendell Holmes, 19th-century American writer and physician, The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 6 (1858)

    "The desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it."
    -- Laurence Sterne, 18th-century English writer, Tristram Shandy, II.iii (1760)

    "The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country."
    -- John Adams, second President of the U.S., Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law (1765)

    "Information is the currency of democracy."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    "Knowledge -- that is, education in its truest sense -- is our best protection against unreasoning prejudice, and panic-making fear, whether engendered by special interest, illiberal minorities or panic-stricken leaders."
    -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    "A liberal education ... frees a person from the prison-house of his class, race, time, place, background, family, and even his nation."
    -- Robert Maynard Hutchins, The Political Animal

    "Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army."
    -- Edward Everett

    "Those who know the least obey the best."
    -- George Farquhar

    "Knowledge ... is also power; prior to its being a power, it is a good; that it is not only an instrument, but an end."
    -- John Henry Cardinal Newman

    "Pursue knowledge for its own sake -- for the glory of God, the perfection of your mind, the good of the universe"
    -- John Henry Cardinal Newman

    "As a rule, when I have heard some slight indication of the course of events, I am able to guide myself by the thousands of other similar cases which occur to my memory."
    -- Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Red-Headed League"

    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
    -- President John Adams

    "We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free."
    -- Epictetus (Roman philosopher and former slave), Discourses

    "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."
    -- H.G. Wells

    "Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
    -- George Washington, address to Congress, January 8, 1790

    "Knowledge is good."
    -- Emil Faber (Animal House)

    Confidence in Ignorance

    "The more you know, the more you know you don't know."
    -- Aristotle

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."
    -- Stephen Hawking

    "The two most dangerous things in the world are sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
    -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

    "It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "There seems to be something 'liberating' about ignorance -- especially when you don't even know enough to realize how little you know.
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "There have always been ignorant people, but they haven't always had college degrees to make them unaware of their ignorance. Some people imagine that they are well informed because they have memorized a whole galaxy of trendy dogmas and fashionable attitudes."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "It is bad enough that so many people believe things without any evidence. What is worse is that some people have no conception of evidence and regard facts as just someone else's opinion." -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., Column: Random Thoughts

    "One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people's motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans -- anything except reason."

    -- Thomas Sowell, Dismantling America

    "Of all ignorance, the ignorance of the educated is the most dangerous. Not only are educated people likely to have more influence, they are the last people to suspect that they don't know what they are talking about when they go outside their narrow fields."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., Ever Wonder Why? And Other Controversial Essays

    "Where attainable knowledge could have changed the issue, ignorance has the guilt of vice."
    -- Alfred North Whitehead

    "It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that ain't so."
    -- Josh Billings

    "It is no small gain to know your own ignorance" -- St. Jerome - 4th Century

    "The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance."
    -- Confucius

    "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."
    -- Confucius

    "The more you know, the more you know you don't know."
    -- Aristotle

    "As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more mysterious."
    -- Albert Schweitzer

    "He who knows best knows how little he knows."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    Good writing requires reading

    "When a man writes from his own mind, he writes very rapidly. The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book." -- Samuel Johnson

    "The first qualification of a writer, is a perfect knowledge of the subject which he undertakes to treat; since we cannot teach what we do not know, nor can properly undertake to instruct others, while we are ourselves in want of instruction." -- Samuel Johnson

    "No writer who rarely reads can write well; the writing mind must be stimulated with words from outside the self." -- Gloria T. Delamar

    "Perhaps the reason why the U.S.A. lags behind other nations in book-reading is that there are so many people trying to write and have no time left over for reading." -- Editors of J. B. Lippencott Co.

    "In writing one first must have something to say (knowledge) and then one must work to express that knowledge so it may be understood."
    -- Will Fitzhugh, Literacy Kudzu

"Critical Thinking"

    "The problem with many youngsters today is not that they don't have opinions but that they don't have the facts on which to base their opinions."
    -- Albert Shanker, late former president of the American Federation of Teachers, ("Debating the Standards", New York Times, Jan. 29, 1995)

    "The early decades of this century forged the central educational fallacy of our time: that one can think without having anything to think about."
    -- Heather Mac Donald

    "The evidence regarding critical thinking is not reassuring. ... Usually, it isn't the logical structure of people's inferences that chiefly causes uncritical thinking but rather the uninformed or misinformed faultiness of their premises."
    -- E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

    "We must abandon the prevalent belief in the superior wisdom of the ignorant."
    -- Daniel Boorstin

    "There are really no such things as 'critical thinking' or 'problem solving' skills that operate independently of factual knowledge. A broad, integrated 'data base' of knowledge is the intellectual scaffolding -- the "mental Velcro"-- that enables us to make sense of new information, by relating it to what we already know."
    -- Katherine Kersten, "Students Who Know So Little," Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 7, 1997

    "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts."
    -- Daniel Moynihan

    "Contrary to popular belief, everyone is not entitled to their own opinion ... If you don't know the facts, your opinion doesn't count."
    -- attributed to Andy Rooney

    "Critical thinking is a lot harder than people think, because it requires knowledge."
    -- Joanne Jacobs

    "I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I didn't know."
    -- Mark Twain

    "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."
    -- Mark Twain

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
    -- John F. Kennedy

    "Good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation."
    -- Thomas Edison

    "In America, the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefit of their inexperience."
    -- Oscar Wilde

    "The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are. ... these young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into depths of confusion you didn't know existed."
    -- a character in Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

    "The less you know, the more you think you know, because you don't know you don't know."
    -- Ray Stevens

    "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."
    -- Anatole France

    "You can't think or communicate outside of the box if you don't know what's in the box."
    -- Niki Hayes

    "Whenever I hear people say that they 'think outside the box' I cringe, because ... I hear these people saying ... that one need not know what is well-accepted. As a teacher, I want my students to know what is inside the box. ... It is because knowing what is inside the box is the only way to get outside the box in a useful way once the basics are mastered. Psychologists who study prodigious accomplishments, in science, music, or art, speak about the 10,000-hour rule, meaning that in order to do something notable in some field, one must devote 10,000+ hours to mastering the discipline in question. Practice, practice, and practice, ... and appreciate that much of this practice needs to be done inside the box. If you never venture outside the box, you will probably not be creative. But if you never get inside the box, you will certainly be stupid."
    -- Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., Psychology Today

    "... when a child has a problem, to urge him to think when he has no prior experiences involving some of the same conditions, is wholly futile."
    -- John Dewey, How We Think

    "It is a profoundly erroneous truism repeated by all copybooks, and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in battle -- they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments."
    -- Alfred North Whitehead, Introduction to Mathematics

    "If you lack background knowledge about the topic, ample evidence from the last 40 years indicates you will not comprehend the author’s claims in the first place."
    -- Daniel Willingham

    "We hear and apprehend only what we already half know."
    -- Thoreau

    "Only when we know a little do we know anything; doubt grows with knowledge."
    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    "'...we of this age have discovered a shorter and more prudent method to become scholars and wits, without the fatigue of reading or of thinking.'"
    -- Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub, 1704

    "There are in fact four very significant stumblingblocks in the way of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge."
    -- Roger Bacon

    "...we should not necessarily conclude that higher-level strategic skills are somehow the critical issue. It is exactly these processes that are most vulnerable to specific knowledge failures. We think these processes are important, but we suspect that they develop ordinarily in tandem with the gradual accumulation of knowledge..."
    -- Charles Perfetti

    "When children enter our public schools, they are encouraged not to learn what other people thought about things, but rather to 'think for themselves' -- which is crucial, but also fruitless without insights from beyond one's own mind or beyond the minds of one's similarly underdeveloped peers."
    -- Dr. Jeffrey H. Anderson, professor of political science

    "In 1998 a study ... reported the most common discussion model among students was stating what they were certain they already believed, not learning what they did not or exploring the views of those with whom they disagreed."
    -- Anna Quindlen, "Life of the Closed Mind," Newsweek, May 30, 2005

    "We hear a great deal these days about the pedagogical benefits of discussion. But the assumptions we uncovered -- such as the belief that advocacy is the purpose of discussion -- illustrate why this method is often not as effective as we'd hope."
    -- Carol Trosset, Ph.D., Change, Sept-Oct, 1998

    "The displacement of the idea that facts and evidence matter by the idea that everything boils down to subjective interests and perspectives is -- second only to American political campaigns -- the most prominent and pernicious manifestation of anti-intellectualism in our time."
    -- Larry Laudan, Science and Relativism, 1990

    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."
    -- Winston Churchill

    "To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive."
    -- Robert Louis Stevenson

    "I refuse to engage myself in a battle of wits with a man who is unarmed."
    -- Mark Twain

    "It is easy to spot an informed man -- his opinions are just like your own."
    -- Miguel de Unamuno

    "Learning without thought is labor lost. Thought without learning is perilous."
    or, alternatively,
    "Study without reflection is a waste of time; reflection without study is dangerous."
    -- Confucius
    (In either version, the first sentence is often quoted without the equally important second sentence -- editor)

    "He who has imagination without learning has wings and no feet."
    -- Joubert

    "Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship."
    -- Zeuxis, Greek painter, ca. 400 BC

    "To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious. But the stupid have an answer for every question."
    -- Edward Abbey

    "I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity."
    -- Marcus Tullius Cicero

    "The empty vessel makes the greatest sound"
    -- William Shakespeare

    "Do not speak unless your words improve upon the silence."
    -- Quaker proverb

    "You're talking a lot, but you're not saying anything.
    When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed."
    -- David Byrne, Talking Heads, Psycho Killer

    "The knowledge of the ignorant is unexamined talk."
    -- Sirach 21, 18:21 (RSV)

    "He who trusts in his own mind is a fool; but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered."
    -- Proverbs 28:26 (RSV)

    "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion."
    Proverbs 18:2 (RSV)

    "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?"
    -- Job 38:2 (RSV)

    "An erudite fool is a greater fool than an ignorant fool."
    -- Jean Paul Baptiste Moliere

    "Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving in words evidence of the fact."
    -- George Eliot

    "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
    -- Aldous Huxley

    "A credulous mind ... finds most delight in believing strange things, and the stranger they are the easier they pass with him; but never regards those that are plain and feasible, for every man can believe such."
    -- Samuel Butler, Characters

    "[I]gnorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
    -- Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (Introduction), 1871

    "To know and yet think we do not know is the highest attainment. Not to know and yet think we do is a disease."
    -- Lao-Tzu

    "Insight, untested and unsupported, is an insufficient guarantee of truth."
    -- Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic (1929)

    "Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse."
    -- Nigerian proverb

    "To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect."
    -- Lao Tse

    "Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it's enough."
    -- Kermit the Frog

    "Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801.

    "Students come to us having sat around for twelve years expressing attitudes toward things rather than analyzing. ... They are always ready to tell you how they feel about an issue, but they have never learned how to construct a rational argument to defend their opinions."
    -- R. Jackson Wilson, professor, Smith College

    "Professors complain about students who arrive at college with strong convictions but not enough knowledge to argue persuasively for their beliefs. ... Having opinions without knowledge is not of much value; not knowing the difference between them is a positive indicator of ignorance."
    -- Diane Ravitch, The Schools We Deserve, p. 8

    Excerpt from Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat:

    When I asked Bill Gates about the supposed American education advantage -- an education that stresses creativity, not rote learning -- he was utterly dismissive. In his view, those who think that the more rote learning systems of China and Japan can't turn out innovators who can compete with Americans are sadly mistaken. Said Gates, "I have never met the guy who doesn't know how to multiply who created software ... Who has the most creative video games in the world? Japan! I never met these 'rote people' ... Some of my best software developers are Japanese. You need to understand things in order to invent beyond them."

    "Frequently our students come into the university domain thinking that all opinions are equally valid. This view has threatened the intellectual development of students since the time of Socrates because it allows students to think that incomplete, illogical, and nonsystematic thought is 'good enough.' Unfortunately, it never is."
    -- Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Educating in the Jesuit Tradition

    "Eventu rerum stolidi didicere magistro."
    (The stupid have no teacher except their own experience.)
    -- old maxim

    "Insufficient facts always invite danger."
    -- Star Trek's Mr. Spock, "Space Seed"

    "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
    -- Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Scandal in Bohemia"

    "The difficulty is to detach the framework of fact -- of absolute undeniable fact -- from the embellishments of theorists and reports. Then, having established ourselves upon this sound basis, it is our duty to see what inferences may be drawn and what are the special points upon which the whole mystery turns."
    -- Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Silver Blaze"

    "Then, with your permission, we will leave it at that, Mr. Mac. The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession."
    -- Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Valley of Fear"

    "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment."
    -- Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Study in Scarlet"

    "It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts."
    -- Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Second Stain"

    "'Data! Data! Data!' he cried impatiently. 'I can't make bricks without clay.'"
    -- Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches"

    "People used to say, "'Ignorance is no excuse.' Today, ignorance is no problem. Our schools promote so much self-esteem that people confidently spout off about all sorts of things that they know nothing about."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., "Random Thoughts," August 12, 2004

    "Someone once said that the most important knowledge is knowledge of our own ignorance. Our schools are depriving millions of students of that kind of knowledge by promoting 'self-esteem' and encouraging them to have opinions on things of which they are grossly ignorant, if not misinformed."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are. ... These young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into depths of confusion you didn't know existed."
    -- A character in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited

    "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."
    -- Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    "Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts."
    -- Bernard M. Baruch

    "To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, but to imagine your facts is another."
    -- John Burroughs

    "Nothing is more tragic than ignorance in action."
    Johann Wolfgang Goethe

    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
    -- Aristotle

    "You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters."
    -- Plato, Laws

    "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd."
    -- Bertrand Russell

    "Stay at home in your mind. Don't recite other people's opinions. I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "I respect your right to have an opinion. But it's awfully hard to respect your opinion when it is so woefully misinformed, so laden with nonsensical conspiracies, so sadly influenced by newage (that's New Age, but it rhymes with sewage), and so utterly devoid of reason."
    -- Charles Austin

    "The young specialist in English Lit ... lectured me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern 'knowledge' is that it is wrong. ... My answer to him was, '... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.'"
    -- Isaac Asimov

    "Unlike in the past, ignorance is no longer tempered with humility. Rather, after years of psychotherapy disguised as pedagogy, ignorance is now buoyed by self-esteem -- which, in turn, makes students more resistant to remediation since they don't believe there's a problem. ... For the last two decades, I've taught freshman courses at CUNY and SUNY colleges in the city; the majority of my students have been products of the city's public schools. I am saddened, therefore, to report that more and more of them are arriving in my classes with the impression that their opinions, regardless of their acquaintance with a particular subject, are instantly valid -- indeed, as valid as anyone's. Pertinent knowledge, to them, is not required to render judgment."
    -- Mark Goldstein, State University of New York, "Other Opiates: What Kids Know"

    "Research in thinking skills has found one thing that separates experts in a field from very good but less-than-expert practitioners: experts are so skilled at the basics they can quickly move to more advanced and creative problem solving. ... For all the well-intentioned talk of 'higher-order thinking skills,' too many students don't have enough of a grasp on basic skills and knowledge to adequately function at 'higher' levels."
    -- Eric Buehrer

    "I hear more and more from our faculty members that students simply do not turn in assignments, do not attend class with any regularity, do not respect others in their demeanor or behaviors, and do not see any value in learning as a process. These students, they tell me, are convinced that the final product is the goal, whether that is a grade, a certificate, or a degree. All of this, they say, is in much greater frequency now than in the past. I hear it so often now, from so many disciplines and demographics, that I believe it is the most important barrier to good learning in our classrooms, both for these students and for those who are more responsible."
    -- Larry Oveson, faculty co-president, Minnesota State College, The Green Sheet, December 2002


    To conclude this section, here is a particularly biting observation:

    "What seems to have disappeared in just a generation or so is the willingness we used to have to defer judgment until we had enough experience and breadth of knowledge to make a judgment. The students, more socially ambitious than intellectually curious, feel put upon and won't abide what they believe to be the absurd and arbitrary demands of their instructors. The instructors have devised a way to pander to this classroom anarchy by incorporating it into their peculiar hermeneutic theories of literature -- or else they have abandoned faith in the very idea of objective worth. They don't have the nerve to stand there at the front of the classroom and announce what is painfully obvious: 'You're young, you're dumb, and you're wrong.'"
    -- David R. Slavitt, Univ. of Pennsylvania, "Circling the Squires", in "Dumbing Down: Essays on the Strip Mining of American Culture".

"Curiosity"

    "Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge."
    -- Kahlil Gibran

    "Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people."
    -- Leo Burnett

    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
    -- Walt Disney

    "I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity."
    -- Eleanor Roosevelt

    "Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind."
    -- Samuel Johnson

    "Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality."
    -- Albert Einstein

    "I have no special gift; I am only passionately curious."
    -- Albert Einstein

    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity." -- Albert Einstein

    "Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly."
    -- Arnold Edinborough

    "Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient."
    -- Eugene S. Wilson

    "Some people like to say that children are innately curious and that they'll construct knowledge for themselves. To an extent, that's true; children are innately interested in socialization and sex, for instance. But that doesn't mean they are innately interested in history and math. These things have to be taught..."
    -- Cognitive psychologist David Geary, University of Missouri

    "Curiosity is the lust of the mind."
    -- Thomas Hobbes

    "Desire to know why, and how - curiosity, which is a lust of the mind, that a perseverance of delight in the continued and indefatigable generation of knowledge - exceedeth the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure."
    -- Thomas Hobbes

    "Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of the vigorous mind."
    -- Rudyard Kipling

    "Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient."
    -- Eugene S. Wilson

    "Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence."
    -- Alistair Cooke

    "Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not, why not."
    -- Isaiah Berlin

    "Is not yours the best way? To learn because one loves learning."
    -- Louis L 'Amour

    "A sense of curiosity is nature's original school of education."
    -- Dr. Smiley Blanton

    "There are different kinds of curiosity; one of interest, which causes us to learn that which would be useful to us; and the other of pride, which springs from a desire to know that of which others are ignorant."
    -- La Rochefoucauld

Dumbing-Down

    "The only reason that public schools enjoy as much support as they still do is that most parents are still harboring the illusion that the schools are still somehow similar to the schools of their own youth."
    -- Dave Ziffer

    "What do they do in the grammar schools? These kids can't put a sentence together."
    -- an English teacher at Chicago's Roosevelt High School

    "Unfortunately, the dumbed-down education of previous generations means that many parents today see nothing wrong with their children being manipulated in school, instead of being educated."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., October 6, 2009

    "The goal of public education has morphed from educating youngsters to simply moving students -- good, bad and indifferent -- through government schools like so much sausage by inflating grades, turning teachers into 'facilitators,' expecting students to educate each other, and discouraging students who really want to learn by failing to exercise a measure of discipline in the classroom."
    -- Alan Caruba

    "The intellectual foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people ... If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war."
    -- A Nation at Risk, U.S. Department of Education, 1984

    "For the first time in the history of our country, the educational skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach, those of their parents."
    -- John Copperman

    "When a parent asks a child, 'What did you learn in school today?' and the child says, 'Nothing much', consider that the child may be giving a honest and accurate answer."
    -- editor

    "...I think we are sometimes guilty of not teaching to the rigor of those courses. ... We sometimes lower the bar because we want to make sure everyone gets over it."
    -- Donald Pittman, Chicago Public Schools chief officer for high schools, quoted in Chicago Tribune, August 17, 2005

    "Wise people created civilization over the centuries and clever people are dismantling it today. You can see it happening just by channel surfing on TV or hear it in rap music or read it in the pompous nonsense of academics and judges."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., September 4, 2007

    "True literacy is becoming an arcane art and the United States is steadily dumbing down."
    -- Isaac Asimov

    "Who can blame people for not learning what they haven't been taught?"
    -- William Raspberry

    "In a democracy, we have always had to worry about the ignorance of the uneducated. Today we have to worry about the ignorance of people with college degrees."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "For over 80 years, teacher education in America has been in the grip of an immutable dogma, responsible for endless educational nonsense. That dogma may be summed up in the phrase: Anything But Knowledge."
    -- Heather Mac Donald

    "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them."
    -- Isaac Asimov

    "No man has the right to be ignorant."
    -- Louis L'Amour, Sackett

    "In knowledge lay not only power but freedom from fear, for generally speaking one fears only what one does not understand."
    -- Louis L'Amour, The Walking Drum

    "The more one learns the more he understands his ignorance."
    -- Louis L'Amour, To the Far Blue Mountains

    "Education is one of the few things a person is willing to pay for and not get."
    -- W. L. Bryan

    "Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead to the future."
    -- Euripides

    "Ask our kids what they learned today and you'll get, unlike the typical elementary school, all kinds of interesting responses. Why? Because it's all presented to them."
    -- 5th grade teacher at a Core Knowledge school

    "If there is a real disease in today's society, it is the incessant introspection required in school, where what we need is the transfer of information."
    -- Ralph A. Raimi, University of Rochester

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    "The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism."
    -- Sir William Osler

    "No error is more certain than the one proceeding from a hasty and superficial view of the subject..."
    -- James Madison, letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822

    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
    -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "And how is education supposed to make me feel smarter?"
    -- Homer Simpson

    "The media no longer ask those who know something ... to share that knowledge with the public. Instead they ask those who know nothing to represent the ignorance of the public and, in so doing, to legitimate it."
    -- Serge Daney

    "Fools despise wisdom and instruction."
    -- Proverbs 1:7 (RSV)

    "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
    -- Hosea 4:6

    "It is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity whem the excellent lies before us."
    -- Isaac D'Israeli, 1834

    "The voluminous book ... perfectly fits the max-min principle of the market: maximal pretensions with minimal content. ... The moral status of those who designed the business calculus course is like that of colonial-time hucksters who sold cheap beads, mirrors and 'fire-water' to ignorants, whose role is now played by students. I do not blame rank-and-file teachers, because they have no choice."
    -- Andrei Toom, reporting on his experience in teaching a Calculus II course for business majors, "A Russian Teacher in America," Journal of Mathematical Behavior, Vol. 12, 1993

    "A student can take four years of math courses in high school, but if the content of those course doesn't cover essential knowledge and skills needed in college and work, then that student is less likely to be well prepared to succeed."
    -- Richard Ferguson, chairman, ACT

    "Thanks to this witch's brew of low expectations, dumbed-down standards, and perversely misapplied therapeutic and humanitarian practices and policies, students learn -- on their way to college -- that hard subjects will be made as easy as possible; that schmoozing about life roles or movies is more fun than analyzing Macbeth or learning calculus; that teachers will pass them on to the next grade despite substandard work; that homework will be sparingly assigned and seldom monitored; that if students have trouble with math, the mastery of computational skills will be declared counterproductive, that if they cannot read, the definition of literacy will be expanded, and, that if they fail tests, their scores will be readjusted ... No wonder so many students ... regard education with contempt."
    -- Paul A. Trout, associate professor, Montana State University (Academic Questions, Spring 1997)

    "One reason why they can sustain this level of denial is that the schools look normal. A new school was recently built in our neighborhood. Its architecture is not my cup of tea, but its reflective windows and clean, low rectangular shapes appeal to the modern sensibilities of my neighbors. Inside, shiny linoleum floors and computer stations radiate an atmosphere of high tech academics. As a species, we believe that anything that looks good is good. We buy cars this way, we buy houses this way, some of us pick spouses this way, and we enroll our kids in schools this way."
    -- Jack Taylor, New Oxford Review, December 2001

    "One of the principles that are doing as much as anything else to undermine American schools is the fixed notion that education has to be fun. We won't have our children subjected to anything hard or bothersome. We have practically adopted as a national education motto: 'If it isn't easy, it isn't educational.' ... The consequences ... are many and obvious. ... Homework is considered an old-fashioned institution, a carry-over from the days when schooling was unpleasant, an interference with the child's and the family's recreation. ... Drill, repetition, recitation, and memory-work are dismissed as drudgery."
    -- Charles F. Donovan, S.J., "Dilution in American Education," America Magazine, November 3, 1951

    "Progressive education is based on some false assumptions. It assumes that all boys and girls can be entertained to a point where they will be interested in all subjects. This is untrue. ... The old-fashioned theory that a student should study what he needs to know rather than what interests him is sounder than the new theory."
    -- Virginia R. Rowland, "My Adventures as a Teacher," The Sign, October, 1951

    "Some people like to say that children are innately curious and that they'll construct knowledge for themselves. To an extent, that's true; children are innately interested in socialization and sex, for instance. But that doesn't mean they are innately interested in history and math. These things have to be taught..."
    -- Cognitive psychologist David Geary, University of Missouri

    "[Constructivism is] like telling a child to educate himself and find what he can find. That doesn't make any sense. How is a child going to know what he or she is interested in if not provided with things to choose from? There's something I've always found funny. In a lot of schools, teachers say, 'We're getting ready to cover mammals,' but cover means to hide. Well, we don't want to cover, to hide; we want to put it out there for the children so they can see it and work with it. We're not going to sit back and watch while the child tries to put all these things together for himself. No."
    -- 5th grade teacher at a Core Knowledge school

    "You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives."
    -- Clay P. Bedford, past president, Kaiser Industries

    "There is only one good, knowledge, and only one evil, ignorance."
    -- Socrates. Quoted in Diogenes Laertius (early 3d century), "Vitae Philosophorum", 2.31

    "Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily."
    -- Schiller

    "Without supporting the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake, our options become dangerously limited."
    -- Carl Sagan

    "Some of the habits of our age will doubtless be considered barbaric by later generations -- perhaps for ... allowing our children to grow up ignorant."
    -- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, page 257

    "I think we have a chance to do something about education, very important. We should have done it years ago. It doesn't matter who does it -- Democrats or Republicans -- but it's long overdue. Our education system is a monstrosity. We need to go back and rebuild kindergarten and first grade and teach reading and writing to everybody, all colors, and then the whole structure of our education will change because people will know how to read and write."
    -- Ray Bradbury, interviewed in Salon, August 29, 2001

    "Success will not lower its standard to us. We must raise our standard to success."
    -- Rev. Randall R. McBride, Jr.

    "If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it."
    -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    "The great danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss, but that we aim too low and we hit it."
    -- attributed to Michelangelo

    "A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
    Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    And drinking largely sobers us again."
    -- Alexander Pope, "An Essay on Criticism"

      Editor's note: It's interesting how the first line of this poem is often used pulled out of context with an entirely opposite intent! Pope is advising against learning that is shallow and not deep enough. By the way, the phrase "Pierian spring" refers to Pieria, the district that is the homes of the muses in Greek legend.

    "Against stupidity the gods themselves fight unvictorious"
    -- Schiller

    "It sometimes seems as though we were trying to combine the ideal of no schools at all with the democratic ideal of schools for everybody by having schools without education."
    -- Robert Maynard Hutchins

    Anybody who accepts mediocrity - in school, on the job, in life - is a person who compromises, and when the leader compromises, the whole organization compromises.
    -- Charles Knight

    "Ignorance is Strength"
    -- one of three Party mottos in "1984" by George Orwell

    "I find it appalling every time a professor of television at Syracuse University says this is a sign of the dumbing down of America. I think it's a sign of the dumbing down of America that there are professors of television at major universities."
    -- Michael Davies, producer of "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire"
    (Perhaps both points of view are correct! -- editor)

    "If you back me against a wall, I would say ostensibly, as a piece of art, Hamlet is in some ways superior to Lou Grant."
    -- Robert J. Thompson, Assoc. Prof. of Television, Syracuse University
    (quoted in New York Times, Nov. 13, 1994)

    "For parents whose offspring have just left home to embark on a media studies degree, there's no easy way for me to tell you this. I've spent almost my entire career in journalism -- the BBC, Sunday Business, The Sunday Times, and The Sunday Telegraph, and I have yet to meet anyone with an editorial job whose first degree was in media studies. I really do mean nobody".
    --Jeff Randall, Sunday Telegraph, January 13, 2002

    "They're called lessons because they lessen from day to day."
    -- from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Chapter 9

    "This ain't no party! This ain't no disco! This ain't no fooling around!"
    -- David Byrne, Talking Heads, Live During Wartime

    "God is in the details"
    -- Mies van der Rohe

    "I wonder what they do teach them at these schools."
    -- the character Professor Digory Kirke in the C. S. Lewis classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

    From the motion picture, "Sleepless in Seattle":

      Boy (reading letters): "Dear Sleepless in Seattle, I live in Tulsa." Where's that?
      Dad: It's in Oklahoma. Do you know where Oklahoma is?
      Boy: Somewhere in the middle?
      Dad: I'm not even going to think about what they're not teaching you in school, I'm not going to think about it. Yeah, somewhere in the middle.

    "In the musical 'The Music Man,' Professor Hill convinced many parents that their children were musically gifted and could play an instrument without learning about notes and practicing scales. The professor's special talent was demonstrated when the parents, mesmerized by Professor Hill's words, believed that their children were actually playing well, in the face of a discordant cacophony to the contrary. This clearly argues for the existence of a flimflam factor as a form of [multiple] intelligence to add to our list."
    -- William McNerney

    From the motion picture, "The Music Man":

      Hill's friend: You can't pass yourself off as a music professor for four weeks. You can't read a note of music!
      Prof. Hill: Oh, I now have a revolutionary new method called the "Think" system. We don't bother with notes. My boy, someday reading music is going to be absolutely obsolete.
      ...
      Prof. Hill: Never allow the demands of tomorrow to interfere with the pleasures and excitements of today!

    "Although doing right is better than knowledge, knowledge comes before doing. Thus, every person must learn in order to do."
    -- Charlemagne, AD 787

    "To withhold demanding content from young children between preschool and third grade has an effect which is quite different from the one intended. It leaves advantaged children with boring pabulum, and it condemns disadvantaged children to a permanent educational handicap that grows worse over time."
    -- Prof. E. D. Hirsch, testifying before Congress

    "There is a consensus in cognitive psychology that it takes knowledge to gain knowledge. Those who repudiate a fact-filled curriculum on the grounds that kids can always look things up miss the paradox that de-emphasizing factual knowledge actually disables children from looking things up effectively ... In order to be able to use information that we look up -- to absorb it, to add to our knowledge -- we must already possess a storehouse of knowledge. That is the paradox disclosed by cognitive research."
    -- Prof. E. D. Hirsch (American Educator, Spring 2000)

    "The phrase 'Developmentally Appropriate Practice' has been very effective politically. It has played on our love and solicitude for young children. It is used as a kind of conversation stopper. If one is told that an educational recommendation is 'developmentally inappropriate,' one is supposed to retreat and remove the offending item from the early curriculum. But this retreat has to stop. We must stand up to unsupported rhetorical bullying, and rely on the people who know the research. To cave in to intimidating rhetoric is to harm our children, not help them. [It] is wasting minds and perpetuating social inequities. ... One of the greatest services we can provide to our children would be to start inducing self doubt in those early-childhood experts who have been wielding the word 'inappropriate' like a battle-ax."
    -- Prof. E. D. Hirsch, address to California State Board of Education, April 10, 1997

    "My name is Jose Castro-Rodriguez. I'm in the first grade, and right now we're learning about Ancient Egypt -- about the sacophagus -- that's what they put the mummies in -- and how they got the bodies ready to be mummies and which body parts they put into the canopic jars -- they threw away the brain because they thought the heart did the thinking: and how they had to make sure no one finds out where the mummies were, because you're not supposed to mess with dead people: and how they used an ostrich feather to measure the heart, and if it was little that meant you had been good and could go to the next life: and about the different Egyptian gods. And we've been learning about King Tut ... I also know a lot about the Aztecs. Do you want me to tell you about that, too?"
    -- A first-grader in a Core Knowledge school, featured in a cover photo and story in American Educator magazine, American Federation of Teachers

    We do not expect a second-grader to remember years later everything we taught about Egypt, but when he studies the material again later, he will find himself in familiar territory. ... One of the things that makes history classes [in later grades] so boring is that very few students come to them with such a background. Because everything is new, everything must be memorized.
    -- Rob & Cindy Shearer

    "Why do so many public school classrooms resemble therapeutic day care programs with kids roaming around and doing little that amounts to learning?"
    -- Martin A. Kozloff, Ph.D.

    "How young is too young to discover the power and beauty of words? Perhaps he will not understand, but there is a clash of shields and a call of trumpets in those lines. One cannot begin too young nor linger too long with learning."
    -- Louis L'Amour, The Lonesome Gods

    "If you want to destroy a country, destroy its memory."
    - Milan Kundera

    "Standard English is just a 'prestige' dialect among many others; and ... insistence on its predominance constitutes an act of repression by the white middle class"
    -- National Council of Teachers of English, "Students' Rights To Their Own Language"

    "America is reaping the consequences of the destruction of traditional education by the Dewey-Kilpatrick experimentalist philosophy. ... Dewey's ideas have led to the elimination of many academic subjects on the ground that they would not be useful in life. ... The student thus receives neither intellectual training nor the factual knowledge which will help him understand the world he lives in, or to make well reasoned decisions in his private life or as a responsible citizen."
    -- Admiral Hyman Rickover

    "Dewey, more than any other single person, must be held responsible for the intellectual, cultural and moral poverty of much modern teaching."
    -- Hilda Neatby

    Average classroom hours spent on basic subjects, typical student, grades 9-12:
       Japan: 3,170
       France: 3,280
       Germany: 3,528
       United States: 1,460
    -- National Education Commission on Time and Learning

    In June 2001, percentage of Harvard University seniors graduating with honors: 91 percent

    "It is clear how our illicit, indiscreet -- and highly inadvisable -- affair with the idea of self-esteem has affected our schools. It has transformed school practices to reflect its themes and interests and in the process has threatened the integrity of the curriculum, lowered standards, and undermined the authority of the teacher. School is no longer a place to learn about the world. It has become a place to learn about ourselves. History and social sciences are not taught for the sake of the knowledge alone but are now used primarily to teach kids about their own culture and history. Language and literature is a battleground characterized by the wars over bilingual education as well as the phonics-whole language debate. And every effort is made to inject cultural content into math and science classes in order to appease the demand for "relevant" content -- no matter how irrelevant such material may be."
    -- Maureen Stout, Ph.D., "The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing Down of America's Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem"

    "The problem is that the school is so focused on protecting the egos of students that it breeds mediocrity. If you never let anyone fail, how can they not be afraid of failure?"
    -- high school student Reilly Liebhard, quoted in Another Planet, p. 96

    "We work the hardest for those that ask the most of us, and, to those who ask for little, we respond with less."
    -- Katharine Boswell, American Spectator

    "Low standards, particularly for students who have known little else, can actually make a teacher look good. Feel-good activities and mind-numbing busywork can be very effective classroom management techniques. While challenging assignments may motivate students who have come to expect them, students who have never been pushed are likely to react to such assignments by misbehaving. ... Many competent readers had to be dragged, screaming and kicking, through their first novels, and many top math students had to have the multiplication tables drilled into them. Helen Keller first reacted to Anne Sullivan's finger-spelling lessons by screaming, kicking, and biting. Unpleasant confrontations, however, may result in poor evaluations from administrators or complaints from parents. Smiling faces and busy fingers make for the best public relations."
    -- Jerry Jesness, Texas special ed teacher (Education Week, November 8, 2000)

    "Most of the rap is just crap. I can't listen to a lot of it. The only thing I listen to today is country music, because of the stories they tell. And they can play their instruments. ... [Techno performers] have destroyed rock'n'roll. Those cats doing that can't play. It's just electronic push-of-the-button music. Kids aren't learning to play horns or guitars or drums. They're learning to push a button and have a song come out."
    -- Bo Diddley, quoted in Chicago Sun-Times, January 17, 2001

    "Every mind was made for growth, for knowledge, and its nature is sinned against when it is doomed to ignorance."
    -- William Ellery Channing

    "Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."
    -- Samuel Johnson

    "Do not refrain from speaking at the crucial time, and do not hide your wisdom. For wisdom is known through speech, and education through the words of the tongue. Never speak against the truth, but be mindful of your ignorance." -- Sirach 4, 23:25 (RSV)

    "History can be well written only in a free country."
    -- Voltaire

    "The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with facts for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life."
    -- Ernest Renan
    (Or at least he used to be! -- editor)

    "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them."
    -- Isaac Asimov

    "Nothing is as terrible to see as ignorance in action."
    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    "Zeal without knowledge is fire without light."
    -- Thomas Fuller

    "The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about."
    -- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

    "That there should one man die ignorant who had capacity for knowledge, this I call a tragedy."
    -- Thomas Carlyle

    "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
    -- Charles Darwin

    "Our credulity is greatest concerning the things we know least about."
    -- Eric Hoffer

    "Best efforts will not substitute for knowledge."
    -- Dr. W. Edward Deming

    "It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill."
    -- Wilbur Wright

    "To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge."
    -- Benjamin Disraeli, 19th-century writer and prime minister of Britain, Sybil (1845)

    "We know accurately only when we know little; with knowledge doubt enters."
    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 18th-19th-century German poet and writer, Proverbs in Prose (1819)

    "Walk a few steps away from the faculties of science, engineering, and medicine. Walk towards the faculty of arts. Here, you will meet another world, one where falsities and lies are manufactured in industrial quantities. Here, some professors are hired, promoted, or given power for teaching that reason is worthless, empirical evidence unnecessary, objective truth nonexistent, basic science a tool of either capitalists or male domination, and the like. Here, we find people who reject all the knowledge painstakingly acquired over the past 5 million years. ... This fraud has got to be stopped, in the name of intellectual honesty. Let them do whatever they please, but not in schools, because schools are supposed to be places of learning. We should expel these charlatans from the university."
    -- Mario Bunge, professor of philosophy and head of the Foundations and Philosophy of Science Unit at McGill University in Montreal, lecture at the conference "The Flight from Science and Reason", New York Academy of Sciences, May 31 to June 2, 1995

    "For over fifty years, American schools have operated on the assumption that challenging children is bad for them, teachers do not need to know the subjects they teach, that the learning "process" should be emphasised over the facts taught within it. ... Renowned educator and author E. D. Hirsch shows ... this establishment ideology is a tragedy of good intentions gone awry. Hirsch argues that in eschewing content-based curricula for abstract -- and disproved -- theories of cognitive development, the educational establishment has done irreparable harm to America's students, and instead of preparing them for the country's highly competitive, information-based economy, the process-oriented curricula the establishment practices has severely curtailed their ability, and desire, to learn."
    -- publisher's description of Hirsch's "The Schools We Need"

    Dumbing-Down, in Colleges and Business

    "In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college."
    -- Joseph Sobran

    "The college model is broken. It costs too much. It promises too much. It is content to let people graduate with a degree in grievance studies and a minor in ferret husbandry."
    -- James Lileks

    "We are lending money we don't have to kids who can't pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That's nuts." "Those who talk as if more people going to college is automatically a Good Thing seldom show much interest in what actually goes on at college -- including far less time spent by students studying than in the past, and a proliferation of courses promoting a sense of grievance, entitlement, or advanced navel-gazing and breast-beating.
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "Almost all the really terrible ideas that blight contemporary America started on campus."
    -- Peter W. Wood, president, National Association of Scholars

    "The problem at the moment is that college students know very little and don't know what they don't know. To ask an uneducated student to select a course of study is to suggest the blind should lead the blind."
    -- Herbert I. London, Ph.D., president, Hudson Institute

    "The sad fact is that because students are not college-ready, colleges are dumbing down their curriculums to be student-ready."
    -- Charles Ormsby, professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Massachusetts Lowell.

    "Seriousness is stupidity sent to college."
    -- P. J. O'Rourke

    "No account of the present condition of college students would be complete without mention of the extraordinary dearth of factual knowledge they bring to college. Horror stories on this topic abound--and they are probably all true. ... Indeed, one can't assume that college students know anything anymore. ..."
    -- Daniel J. Singal, "The Other Crisis in American Education," Atlantic Monthly, November 1991

    "Alan Heimert, a veteran member of the Harvard English department, encounters the same mushy grasp of historical knowledge and blames it on the 'trendy social-studies curriculum' now taught in most high schools which covers broad thematic topics rather than history. 'They are aware that someone oppressed someone else,' he says with only slight exaggeration, 'but they aren't sure exactly what took place and they have no idea of the order in which it happened.'"
    -- Daniel J. Singal, "The Other Crisis in American Education," Atlantic Monthly, November 1991

    "Students headed for college used to get a solid grasp of both American and European history at the high school level. Now, as most people are aware, they pass through an array of social-studies courses designed to impress upon them the central values of the sixties, including concern for the natural environment, respect for people of different racial and ethnic groups, and women's rights. These values are important and should certainly be included in the curriculum. But teaching them in such a superficial manner, devoid of any historical context, simply doesn't work."
    -- Daniel J. Singal, "The Other Crisis in American Education," Atlantic Monthly, November 1991

    "During the past thirty years the ideal of the unity of learning, bequeathed to us by the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, has been largely abandoned. With rare exceptions American colleges and universities have dissolved their curricula into a slurry of minor disciplines and specialized courses. While the average number of undergraduate courses per institution has doubled, the percentage of mandatory courses in general education has dropped by more than half. Science was sequestered at the same time; as I write, only a third of colleges and universities require students to take at least one course in the natural sciences."
    -- Edward O. Wilson, Research Professor and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard University, "Back From Chaos," The Atlantic Monthly, March 1998

    "Many [college professors] will candidly say that a high percentage of today's high school graduates are 'disengaged.' They read and write poorly and have no interest in challenging academic work. They are used to education that is easy and entertaining, and rebel against rigorous standards and criticism. The 'award winning' public schools that parents keep hearing about are in fact producing hordes of young people who may be very pleased with themselves, but are almost unteachable. Perhaps most Americans are satisfied with the public schools, but they shouldn't be."
    -- George C. Leef, director of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in Raleigh, NC

    "The language skills of people from elite institutions frequently are not what they should be for the types of degrees they've accumulated, ... The old emphasis on the basics has gotten lost in the shuffle."
    -- Thomas Duesterberg, chief executive of the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, a business policy group in Arlington, Virginia

    "Far too many of today's college students have difficulty writing a simple declarative sentence let alone a coherent paragraph. ... In [the classes I teach] perhaps a third of the students can write decent prose. Another third can write sentences that can be understood with a little imagination on the part of the reader. However, a good third of the students write so poorly that it is difficult to understand what, if anything, they have on their minds."
    -- Dr. Mark H. Shapiro

    "I find the English language skills, reading ability and mathematics ability of most people who have gone to reputable schools to be atrocious. What's worse, they're ignorant about their ignorance."
    -- Edward Studzinski, a Chicago portfolio manager, in discussing his worries about the quality of college graduates taking the reins in corporate America

    "Many of our freshmen arrive at college, after 12 years of school (presumably in the 'college track'), knowing nothing of the pre-Plymouth past, including the Bible. All too frequently, they have not heard of Aristotle, Aquinas, Luther, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Burke, or Marx. They often know nothing of the deterioration of Athens and Rome, of Czarist Russia and Weimar Germany, and next to nothing of the history of science, technology, industry, of capitalism and socialism, of fascism and Stalinism, of how we found ourselves in two world wars, or even in Vietnam. They have been asked to read very little and to reflect hardly at all. At 18 or 19, they are unarmed for public discourse, their great energy and idealism at the mercy of pop politics and the seven o'clock news."
    -- Paul Gagnon, professor, University of Massachusetts

    "Students learn almost nothing about civic matters while they are in college ... Our students neither enter nor exit their universities with a level of civic literacy that even approaches a satisfactory level."
    -- Josiah Bunting, chairman of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's National Civic Literacy Board

    "The decline of our once-proud colleges and universities ... is the bitter fruit of our ever-more ineffective K-12 education." -- E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

    "... unless we fix the leaks in the K-12 education pipeline, no higher education policy can possibly improve minority opportunities to attend college."
    -- Jay P. Greene and Greg Forster, Wasington Post, Jan. 7, 2004

    "... American colleges are so incompetent and vicious that, in any really civilized country, they would be closed by the police... Everywhere they tend to become, not centers of enlightenment, but simply reservoirs of idiocy. ... The childish mumbo-jumbo that passes for technique among them scarcely goes beyond the capacities of a moron. To take a Ph.D. in education in most American seminaries, is an enterprise that requires no more real acumen or information than taking a degree in window dressing. ... Most pedagogues ... are simply dull persons who have found it easy to get along by dancing to whatever tune happens to be lined out. At this dancing they have trained themselves to swallow any imaginable fad or folly, and always with enthusiasm. The schools reek with this puerile nonsense. Their programs of study sound like the fantastic inventions of comedians gone insane. The teaching of the elements is abandoned for a dreadful mass of useless fol-de-rols... Or examine a dozen or so of the dissertations ... turned out by candidates for the doctorate at any eminent penitentiary for pedagogues, say Teachers College, Columbia. What you will find is a state of mind that will shock you. It is so feeble that it is scarcely a state of mind at all."
    -- H. L. Mencken (quoted from "The War on Intelligence," December 31, 1928, published in "A Second Mencken Chrestomathy," Vintage, 1994)

    "One of the effects of the rapid spread of higher education has been to equip people to criticise and question almost everything. Some of them seem to have stopped there instead of going on to the next stage which is to arrive at new beliefs or to reaffirm old ones."
    -- Margaret Thatcher, October 11, 1968

    "Apparently, your brain doesn't work out all of its kinks until you're around 25 -- a fact that seems to have eluded everyone in history except our Founding Fathers and the people who run car-rental companies."
    -- Jonah Goldberg, "U. Topia", National Review, October 18, 2010

    "Universities cherish diversity in everything except where it counts most: ideas."
    -- David Rubinstein, professor of sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago

    "Yes, the lectures are optional. Graduation is also optional."
    -- Prof. Brian Quinn

Self-Esteem

    "Prepare youth for the path, not the path for youth."
    -- Ben B. Lindsey, Juvenile Court Judge

    "I don't have any opinions anymore. All I know is that no one is better than anyone else, and everyone is the best at everything."
    -- "Principal Skinner," the Simpsons, "Girls Just Want to Have Sums"

    From the Simpsons episode, "Girls Just Want to Have Sums":

    Women's educational expert Melanie Upfoot begins teaching her first class in the all-girls classroom.
    Upfoot: Now, let's buckle down and do some math.
    Lisa: YES!
    [The teacher turns on an electronic device that plays soft music and projects colorful mathematical symbols all around the classroom.]
    Upfoot: How do numbers make you feel? What does a plus sign smell like? Is the number 7 odd, or just different?
    Lisa: Are we gonna do any actual math problems?
    Upfoot: "Problems"? That's how men see math, something to be attacked - something to be "figured out."
    Lisa: But ... isn't it? I mean, confidence building can't replace real learning.
    Upfoot: Uh-oh, Lisa, it sounds like you're trying to derail our self-esteem engine.
    From the Simpsons episode, "Girls Just Want to Have Sums":
    Lisa has disguised herself to join the "boys" math classroom. The teacher writes the equation Y x Y = 25 on the board.
    Teacher: Now, how many different numbers can Y be?
    Lisa: That's easy - just one, the number 5.
    Teacher: Wrong.
    [Lisa gasps.]
    Martin: There are two possible solutions: 5 and -5.
    Lisa interior voice: Oh my god, I was wrong -- and by being corrected, I learned! [happily] And no one cared about my feelings!
    "People used to say, "'Ignorance is no excuse.' Today, ignorance is no problem. Our schools promote so much self-esteem that people confidently spout off about all sorts of things that they know nothing about."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., "Random Thoughts," August 12, 2004

    "Someone once said that the most important knowledge is knowledge of our own ignorance. Our schools are depriving millions of students of that kind of knowledge by promoting 'self-esteem' and encouraging them to have opinions on things of which they are grossly ignorant, if not misinformed."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "The self-confident moral preening of ignoramuses is perhaps an inevitable product of the promotion of 'self-esteem' in our schools." -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "Flattery makes the most effective chains. Hitler told the Germans that they were a master race -- and came very close to making them slaves."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "There may often be excuse for doing things poorly in this world, but there is never any excuse for calling a poorly done thing well done."
    -- W. E. B. DuBois (1868-1963), often considered founder of the civil rights movement, and a co-founder of the NAACP

    "The preponderance of the data illustrate that self-esteem is irrelevant in all areas of education."
    -- Maureen Stout, Ph.D., "The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing Down of America's Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem"

    "Self-esteem policies promote the worst in political correctness. Evaluation is no longer intended to provide feedback on progress but to make the kids feel good, even if that means deceiving them about their true ability and achievement. Curriculum must be organized around student interests; whether or not they are actually learning what they need to no longer matters. And the class environment must emphasize cooperation, never competition, so that all believe themselves to be winners."
    -- Maureen Stout, Ph.D., "The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing Down of America's Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem"

    "The narcissism that many young people exhibit is caused primarily by teachers and parents who lead them to believe that they are the center of the universe. Student-centered teaching fosters this, as does the idea of teacher as therapist."
    -- Maureen Stout, Ph.D., "The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing Down of America's Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem"

    "Three decades of research on children with conduct problems indicates that the most effective interventions are not counseling or other 'talking' therapies, but high structure, clear rules, and immediate consequences. In the words of one researcher, what these youth need is not higher self-esteem but more self-control."
    -- Wade F. Horn

    "The ed school of thought holds that if you just relax and get over the anxiety, the greater truth will prevail. Not a word about how inadequate preparation may play a role."
    -- career-switcher currently in ed school

    "[The students'] self-esteem had been bolstered not by their having acquired any knowledge, not by learning to manage their own impulses or to develop any skills or accomplish anything, but rather by indiscriminate praise and a total absence of constructive criticism or honest evaluation of their performance at any task."
    -- Tina Blue

    "There is something inappropriate -- almost sick -- in the spectacle of mature adults showering young people with unbelievable praise."
    -- Harvey C. Mansfield, professor of government at Harvard University.

    "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."
    -- Proverbs 12:1

    "'Know thyself.' A maxim as pernicious as it is ugly. Whoever studies himself arrest his own development. A caterpillar who seeks to know himself would never become a butterfly."
    -- Andre Gide

    "It's okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are our teachers -- they help us to learn."
    -- John Bradshaw

    "Self-esteem theorists appear to have it backwards. Meaningful self-evaluation and positive self-esteem usually are the results, not the antecedents, of accomplishments. Praise is just one source of feedback; self-esteem more often comes from an awareness that the requirement of a sought-after goal have been mastered. Acquiring the knowledge and skills that enable a child to make progress toward such goals is a necessary basis for developing healthy, realistic self-esteem."
    -- Dr. Harold Stevenson, professor of psychology, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

    "As commendable as it is for children to have high self-esteem, many of the practices advocated in pursuit of this goal may instead inadvertently develop narcissism in the form of excessive preoccupation with oneself."
    -- Lilian G. Katz, professor of early childhood education at the University of Illinois, and director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education: "All About Me: Are We Developing Our Children's Self-Esteem or Their Narcissism?" in Kathleen Cauley et all., eds., Educational Psychology 94/95 (Dushkin, 1995), 37.

    "The entire American education system seems to exist mainly to promote 'self-esteem'. That's bad enough if you're an already insufferable prom queen with fabulous ****. But for less favoured high-school types the cult of self-esteem might just tip you from festering geek into narcissistic psycho. If I understand correctly the educational philosophy underlying the English public school, the idea seems to be to reduce self-esteem to undetectable levels within two weeks of the start of term. On the whole, that seems the shrewder option."
    -- Mark Steyn

    "We live in a country that seems to be in this massive state of delusion, where the idea of what you are is more important than you actually being that. And it actually works just as long as everybody's winking at the same time. ... My students -- all they want to hear how good they are and how talented they are. Most of them aren't really willing to work to the degree to live up to that."
    -- Jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis

    "Where talent is a dwarf, self-esteem is a giant."
    -- J. Petit-Senn, Conceits and Caprices

    "People with a high opinion of themselves could pose a far greater threat to others than those with low self-worth ... those with high self-esteem tend to damage other people, either because they are reckless and dangerous or because they are unpleasant."
    -- Nicolas Emler, social psychologist, Reuters, November 27, 2001

    "I love criticism just so long as it's unqualified praise."
    -- Noel Coward (1899-1973), actor and playwright

    "It is better to deserve honors and not have them then to have them and not deserve them."
    -- Mark Twain

    "The only way to escape the corruption of praise is to go on working... There is nothing else."
    -- Albert Einstein

    "The value of achievement lies in the achieving."
    -- Albert Einstein

    "Lewis and Clark didn't return from their trip and say, 'Well, we didn't find the Northwest Passage, but we did find ourselves.'"
    -- David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise

    "Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them."
    -- Aristotle

    "It is an error for educators to argue that they can raise children's self-esteem merely by praising them."
    -- Jerome Kagan, professor of psychology, Harvard University

    "People with high but unstable self-esteem exhibit the greatest hostility."
    -- Roy Baumeister, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University, in Scientific American, April 2001

    "After all these years, I'm sorry to say my recommendation is this: Forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and self-discipline."
    -- Roy F. Baumeister, professor of psychology, Florida State University. (Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2005)

    "Violence appears to be most commonly a result of threatened egotism -- that is, highly favorable views of self that are disputed by some person or circumstance. ... violence is perpetrated by a small subset of people with favorable views of themselves. ... Viewed in this light, the societal pursuit of high self-esteem for everyone may literally end up doing considerable harm."
    -- Roy Baumeister, Joseph Boden and Laura Smart, "Relation of Threatened Egotism to Violence and Aggression: The Dark Side of High Self-Esteem", Psychological Review 103, no 1 (1006):5

Education: Theory and Practice

    "Education is unique among consumer products -- when it fails to work as advertised, it's the customer that gets labelled as defective."
    -- Kevin Killion, Illinois Loop

    "I cannot claim to be a good teacher simply because I have a master's in education, two licenses and eight years of experience. I can claim to be a good teacher only if the data demonstrate that my students have learned."
    -- Jason Kamras, 2005 National Teacher of the Year, September 10, 2007

    "When the grand pooh-bah PhDs of education stand up and blow, they speak with great confidence about theories of teaching, and considering the test results, the bums ought to be thrown out."
    -- Garrison Keillor, January 30, 2008

    "All parents should sit in their kid's class for four hours with pen and paper -- just like soccer games -- noting anything the teacher actually 'teaches' the students that they didn't know, not mentions but teaches. If your child is in a typical 'kids teach each other and themselves best' school, they go for days without being 'taught' anything.
    -- education professor at a major university

    "Too many 'educators' see teaching not as a responsibility to the students but as an opportunity for themselves -- whether to indoctrinate a captive audience with the teacher's ideology, manipulate them in social experiments, or just do fun things that make teaching easier, whether or not it really educates the child."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., October 6, 2009

    "In most discussions of the problems of American public schools, the low intellectual quality of people who come out of our schools of education is the 800-pound gorilla that keeps getting ignored. Such teachers cannot give their students intellectual abilities that they themselves don't have."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., June 22, 2012

    "Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., June 22, 2012

    "Too much of what is called 'education' is little more than an expensive isolation from reality. "
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there is no difference, but in practice, there is."
    -- unknown

    "A confusing of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished."
    -- Goethe, Wisdom and Experience

    "The original 'three R's' were 'reading, reckoning, and rhetoric,' a triad known to alarmingly few pedagogues."
    -- Donald Chain Black

    "No one benefits from [an education] system built on well-intentioned fictions."
    -- Robert J. Samuelson

    "Parents, consumer organizations, state legislators, serious educational researchers, and even federal agencies have tied together two simple facts:
    1. Too many students aren't learning much.
    2. This may have something to do with instruction."
    -- Martin A. Kozloff, Distinguished Professor, Watson School of Education, University of North Carolina

    "If the student hasn't learned, the teacher hasn't taught."
    -- Siegfried "Zig" Engelmann

    "It is optimistic ... to expect success with children who come from impoverished backgrounds, who lack the knowledge ... to explore an environment and learn from their own activities. ... A large and possibly growing number of students need the kind of help, support, modeling, and/or scaffolding that has often been seen as antithetical to the unstructured atmosphere of progressive education."
    -- Howard Gardner

    "Doing things the same way you always have and expecting the results to be different is insanity."
    -- often attributed to Albert Einstein

    "If you send somebody to teach somebody, be sure that the system you are teaching is better than the system they are practicing."
    -- Will Rogers (as reported by Steven K. Gragert, Editor, The Papers of Will Rogers)

    "When the students don't learn, the school must change."
    -- Bill Gates, addressing the National Governors Association, February 2005

    "Ours is the first age in history which has asked the child what he would tolerate learning"
    -- Flannery O'Connor, 1963

    "We have a serious crisis on our hands. ... We should not be worrying whether particular reform proposals are too radical. We should be worrying whether they are radical enough."
    -- Clint Bolick, Leviathan, p. 144

    "Our K-12 system of public schools ... represents perhaps the largest socialized delivery system outside of Communist China. And the results are all too predictable."
    -- Clint Bolick, Leviathan, p. 144

    "And then I come to this other point, that if you are placing or putting money into a school system which itself creates this problem, or helps to create it, or does nothing or very little to alleviate it, are we not just in fact wasting the money of the Federal Government and the taxpayer and investing money where it is really going to accomplish very little if any good?"
    -- Robert F. Kennedy, 1965

    "We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road. There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake."
    -- C. S. Lewis

    "We have too many teachers who are graduating with degrees in education. They go to schools of education or they major in education, and they graduate knowing something called education, but they don't know a subject."
    -- Historian David McCullogh

    "People who come out of college with a degree in education and not a degree in a subject are severely handicapped in their capacity to teach effectively."
    -- Historian David McCullough

    "Too many teachers are not qualified in the subject they're teaching. Too many states do not test to make sure teachers know what they're teaching. Too many states that do test set the bar for passing way too low."
    -- Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education, June 2002

    "It is fascinating to hear teachers say that having to 'teach to the test' reduces their ability to engage in good teaching. What they call 'good teaching' is the very reason our students do so badly in international comparisons and why colleges have to have large numbers of remedial courses to teach students what they didn't learn in school."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "Some have an ideological opposition to testing as the enemy of educational creativity. They love the intangible joys of the profession, without the inconvenience of demonstrating that their work has any effect."
    -- Michael Gerson, columnist, Washington Post columnist, July 19, 2012

    "If you expect students to know something, you have to tell them what it is."
    -- James Trefil, in Two Modest Proposals Concerning Scientific Literacy"

    "If they believe only what they can see, why do we have classroom?"
    -- Yul Brenner in "The King And I"

    "Only the foolish learn from experience. The wise learn from the experience of others."
    -- Rolf Hochhuth

    "Incogito nullo cupido."
    ("We cannot desire what we do not know.")
    -- Latin proverb

    The formula I used to teach this is uncomplicated: explanation, demonstration, imitation -- correction, when necessary -- and then repetition, repetition, repetition, and more repetition."
    -- John Wooden, basketball coach, UCLA, in My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey

    "To know how to do something well is to enjoy it"
    -- Pearl S. Buck

    "Even though educators consider themselves to be 'thinking people,' there is a remarkable absence of substantive arguments in their responses to critics. These responses include evading the specifics of the criticisms and arbitrarily attributing Utopian beliefs to critics. Schools and colleges each have additional substitutes for arguments, specialized for their respective issues."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., "Inside American Education", p.249

    "[Most state certification systems] assume that teacher quality is best attained when the state heavily regulates employment, requiring teachers to take numerous education courses before they can be considered for a teaching job. ... [But] many education courses lack academic substance and none is highly predictive of success. Yet they dilute prospective teachers' undergraduate education by displacing academic courses."
    -- Leo Klagholz, former New Jersey Commissioner of Education, Education Next, Summer 2002

    "One of the false dichotomies that has developed over time is between developing skills vs. acquiring knowledge. ... One debate among educators is whether [skills] are best taught directly or are they best acquired in the context of subject matter study. Looking things up turns out to have an element of Catch 22: you already have to know something about the subject to look it up effectively. (Maybe that's why the "help" menu in computer programs is rarely actually helpful to me.)"
    -- Dr. Leonard DeFiore, President, National Catholic Education Association

    "The research appears to support the validity of a content-rich curriculum, which builds knowledge, vocabulary, and a variety of learning skills simultaneously."
    -- Dr. Leonard DeFiore, President, National Catholic Education Association

    "Hundreds of studies show that a certified teacher isn't more qualified than an uncertified teacher"
    -- Donald Erickson, professor of education, University of California-Los Angeles

    "Time and again, the American public has seen the devastating effects of programs that rely on children to 'construct' their own education ... Some teachers end up dispensing -- and holding students accountable for -- too little information and too few skills. The result: students who don't read well, can't multiply, and don't know much about history and geography."
    -- William Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education

    "The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and as a people ... If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves."
    -- National Commission on Excellence in Education, April 1983

    "Some of the attitudes I see among [constructivist-math supporters] I haven't seen since the '60s, with Mao's Red Guards. We're talking serious ideology here. They believe they have the truth, and nobody else has the truth."
    -- Fred Greenleaf, professor of math, NYU, quoted in New York Post, June 5, 2001

    "This is all part of a larger vision in which children 'discover' their own knowledge rather than have teachers pass on to them the knowledge of what others have already discovered. The idea that children will 'discover' knowledge that took scholars and geniuses decades, or even generations, to produce is truly a faith which passeth all understanding."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.,

    "If all who are engaged in the profession of education were willing to state the facts instead of making greater promises than they can possibly fulfill, they would not be in such bad repute with the lay-public."
    -- Isocrates, 436-338 B.C., "Against the Sophists"

    "While there are excellent schools across America, our system is failing too many children. Nearly 70 percent of inner city and rural fourth graders can't read at a basic level. There is a persistent achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority students and their peers. Reading scores have been flat for the past eight years. The numbers show us that what we're doing is not working...The skills and knowledge of our children are not getting better. Our children do not need adults who measure success in dollars. Our children don't need adults who make excuses for their failures. Our children need adults who focus on results. Our children deserve to learn, promptly and well, and anything that distracts from their learning is a distraction from schools' mission."
    -- Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education, address to the National Press Club, September 2001

    "All of us will have a keen eye on Littleton."
    -- David Hartenbach, schools superintendent in the nearby Aurora district, quoted in 1994 -- years before the murder of students -- about the reformist, feel-good, edubabble restructuring then beginning in Littleton schools.

    "The swing toward whole language, the substitution of whole language for phonics, has done a lot of damage."
    -- Paul Vallas, CEO, Chicago Public Schools, in a Chicago Sun-Times interview quoted by School Reform News, April 1998

    "One of the distinguishing features of cooperative learning seems to be that no one has to learn all about anything."
    -- Rita Kramer, Ed School Follies

    "Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius."
    -- Edward Gibbon

    "If Direct Instruction is so danged good, why isn't it used more? The answer lies largely in the near-criminal behavior of most of the education schools in America. These 'ivory tower' schools know next to nothing about positive discipline and how to teach basic skills. They mask their ignorance behind academic posturing filled with words like 'constructivism,' 'learning styles,' 'teaching styles,' and 'creativity,' but they never get around to teaching prospective teachers how to really succeed in a classroom of disparate students. With few exceptions, teacher education is gutless, unaccountable and aintellectual."
    -- Rory Donaldson

    "Within education schools, progressivism is the ruling ideology. It is hard to find anyone in an American education school who does not talk the talk and espouse the principles of the progressive creed."
    -- David F. Labaree, Professor, School of Education, Stanford University, The Ed School's Romance with Progressivism, Brookings Papers on Education Policy, 2004

    "With but a few exceptions, schools of education represent the academic slums of most any college. American education could benefit from slum removal, eliminating schools of education."
    -- Walter Williams, "Educational Rot", March 13, 2013

    "Reformers should not worry about contemporary progressivism because its primary advocates are lodged in education schools, and nobody takes these institutions seriously. Those teaching in the university think of those in ed schools as being academically weak and narrowly vocational. They see ed school teachers not as peers in the world of higher education but as an embarrassment, who should not be a part of a university at all. To them the ed school looks less like a school of medicine than a school of cosmetology. The most prestigious universities often try to limit the ability of the education school to grant degrees or even eliminate the school altogether. I do not have the space to explain the historical roots of the education school's lowly status in the United States. But take my workd for it. Education schools rank at the very bottom."
    -- David F. Labaree, Professor, School of Education, Stanford University, The Ed School's Romance with Progressivism, Brookings Papers on Education Policy, 2004

    "What surprised [him] most early in his career were the legions of 'lone rangers' - teachers who create their own curriculum and teach pretty much what they damned well please. 'The problem is that the lone rangers are often the best teachers, creative and passionate,' he says. 'But American teachers act like independent artisans. There is no sense of clear cohesiveness.'"
    -- article in the Boston Globe, March 31, 2002, about a retiring principal

    "How do kids learn to read? What goes wrong when they don't? How do you prevent it? And what do you do about it when you don't get to them early enough to prevent it? That should be the content that teachers and others in education actually acquire. Do they acquire it? No. You know, if there was any piece of legislation that I could pass, it would be to blow up colleges of education. I know that's not politically correct. Those are some of the most resistant, recalcitrant places you will ever get to. And I'm not sure it's going to get a heck of a lot better, because again philosophy and belief drive how their folks are taught and how their folks come out and teach others."
    -- Dr. Reid Lyon, Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education, November 18, 2002

    "One of the chief obstacles to intelligence is credulity, and credulity could be enormously diminished by instructions as to the prevalent forms of mendacity. Credulity is a greater evil in the present day than it ever was before, because, owing to the growth of education, it is much easier than it used to be to spread misinformation, and, owing to democracy, the spread of misinformation is more important than in former times to the holders of power."
    -- Bertrand Russell

    "This romanticism underlying so much American educational thought would be merely a curiosity of American intellectual history were it not for the practical fact that these ideas are not just empirically wrong but also pernicious in their social and economic effects."
    -- E. D. Hirsch, "Not to worry?" (PDF), Daedalus, Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Summer 2002

    "The majority of the city's public school students leave high school unprepared for more than low-paying work, unprepared for college and unprepared for the duties placed upon them by a democratic society. The schools have broken a covenant with students, and with society..."
    -- New York State Supreme Court Judge Leland DeGrasse

    "And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or thinks anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber stamps."
    -- H. L. Mencken

    "Whether public education can survive in the 21st century will depend not nearly so much on making the system personally interesting or occupationally relevant, as it will on helping kids and the adults who nurture them understand that perseverance and self-discipline will get them a lot further in life than 'interest' will. I'm not optimistic that we will ever recognize this, much less accomplish it."
    -- Ron Rude, school superintendent, Plains, Montana, "The Road to Interest and Curiosity", American Educator (AFT), Spring 2002

    "The longer we pander to the notion of providing only 'interesting' schoolwork, the longer it will be until we build a national seriousness about scholarliness and the less likely it will be that we'll ever have in great quantity students who realize their highest creative and intellectual capacities."
    -- Ron Rude, school superintendent, Plains, Montana, "The Road to Interest and Curiosity", American Educator (AFT), Spring 2002

    "The barbarians are no longer at the gates. They have breached the walls, captured the town and are running the show."
    -- John Galvin, "Egalitarian U."

    "History can be exciting and fascinating when it is taught by those who know it and love it. Or, it can be deadening if it is taught by people who neither know it nor even like it."
    -- Diane Ravitch

    "If I were seriously ill and in desperate need of a physician, and if by some miracle I could secure either Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, or a young doctor fresh from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, with his equipment comprising the latest developments in the technologies and techniques of medicine, I should, of course, take the young doctor. On the other hand, if I were commissioned to find a teacher for a group of adolescent boys and if, by some miracle, I could secure wither Socrates or the latest Ph.D. from Teachers College, with his equipment of the latest technologies and techniques of teaching, with all due respect to the College that employs me and to my students, I am fairly certain that I would jump at the chance to get Socrates."
    -- William C. Bagley, Education and Emergent Man (1938), quoted by Diane Ravitch in Left Back.

    "I have met more school teachers recently who ... wouldn't know a verb if it was as big as a table."
    -- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "Parents are some of the worst enemies we have."
    -- Gay Campbell, Director of Communications, Everett (WA) School District, speaking at the 2001 conference of the National School Public Relations Association Conference, Minneapolis, quoted by Education Intelligence Agency (EIA)

    "With very few exceptions, I watched for 14 years as student after student entered and left high school having learned next to nothing during his or her four-year term. And the problem is not in someone else's school district: It's systemic. My experience has convinced me that if the purpose of the public schools were to prevent children from acquiring an education, they could not do a better job than they are doing right now, at this very moment in classrooms all across the nation ... Ours is an education system that labels children learning-disabled and then calls for more tax dollars to remediate the problem it created. It is an anti-intellectual, morally bankrupt system whose values-clarification classes and bogus drug- and sex-education programs contribute to the very addictions they sanctimoniously claim to solve. It is a system that crushes our children's intellectual curiosity and then demands they learn anyway ... Our public educational system is a monopoly founded on anti- intellectualism and bogus theories of learning. As such, real education has always been its enemy, the single greatest threat to its very existence, a persistent reminder of its failed mission to teach our nation's children ... Real education would put the child-detention centers we call schools out of business. Real education would close schools of education by forcing real subjects to be taught in them ..."
    -- Edward A. Rauchut, "I Quit," Teacher Magazine, February 1992, pp 26-27

    "What ruins mankind is the ignorance of experts."
    -- G. K. Chesterton

    "The forces that put the Edsel out of business do not apply to Harvard professors."
    -- Robert H. Bork

    "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. Whatever the soul is like, it will have to be passed on somehow, consciously or unconsciously, and that transition may be called education. ... What we need is to have a culture before we hand it down. In other words, it is a truth, however sad and strange, that we cannot give what we have not got, and cannot teach to other people what we do not know ourselves."
    -- G. K. Chesterton, July 5, 1924

    Eduspeak / Jargon / Lingo

    "With words, we govern men."
    -- Benjamin Disraeli

    "Incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of a profession."
    -- Kingman Brewster (1919-1988), diplomat and president of Yale University

    "The cheaper the crook the gaudier the patter."
    -- line spoken by character Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon" by by Dashiell Hammett

    "The educationist, pen in hand, seems to exhibit by some kind of instinct an almost total insensitivity to the rhythms of the English tongue; and he can at the same time practice in one paragraph all the worst vices to be found in comtemporary writing -- a considerable achievement. His prose as well as his speech is apt to be marked by an excessive wordiness, by a genuine fondness for platitudes, by an irredeemable addiction to ugly coinages and meaningless jargon, and by a plenitude of strange constructions."
    -- James D. Koerner, "The Miseducation of American Teachers", 1963

    "Much like Newspeak in Orwell's '1984', 'Educanto' is designed not to merely express the inchoate views of an obscure priestly caste, but to make real thought impossible."
    -- Paul Greenberg, "Sad State of America's Schools"

    "Whether you live in an urban neighborhood or an affluent suburb the perception is that when parents ask tough questions, educators immediately circle the wagons, stonewall, or throw educational jargon at you."
    -- Elaine K. McEwan, former west suburban teacher, principal and assistant superintendent

    "We're not just the cookie bakers anymore ... but if you raise questions, you get analogies that are designed to make parents feel stupid."
    -- Betty Underwood, a manager for a $60 million retail firm before becoming a stay-at-home Mom in Arlington Heights (quoted in the Chicago Tribune)

    "Constructivist 'theory' is a mishmash of overlapping platitudes and absurdities -- 'empty words and poetic metaphors' (Aristotle, Metaphysics). Taken separately, constructivist 'propositions' are merely simpleminded. Taken together, they are indistinguishable from the verbal behavior of a person suffering from chronic schizophrenia."
    -- Martin A. Kozloff, Ph.D.

    Diversity

    "The great thing about multiculturalism is that it doesn't involve knowing anything about other cultures -- the capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures."
    -- Mark Steyn "Real diversity is intellectual."
    -- David Mamet, playwright

    "If diversity really referred to the diversity of ideas, the consideration of broad areas of intellectual thought and human experience, then such requirements would enrich the curriculum. The titles of such 'diversity' courses might be: World History, Philosophy from Antiquity to the Present, or Comparative Religion. ... Instead such 'diversity' courses tend to focus on the usually narrow grievances of one group or another."
    -- Frank Monaldo

    "The gods mercifully gave mankind this little moment of peace between the religious fanaticisms of the past and the fanaticisms of class and race that were speedily to arise and dominate time to come."
    -- G. M. Trevelyan

    "Everybody has asked the question ... 'What shall we do with the Negro?' I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!"
    --Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)

    "There is room in American education for an authentic multiculturalism. Reading lists can be anchored in Western thought and culture, but include the great books produced by non-Western cultures as well. This, however, is not what the multiculturalists want. For one thing, the great books of non-Western cultures reflect beliefs and prejudices that are anathema to multiculturalist ideology. To cite just two examples, the Koran embodies a strong doctrine of male superiority and The Tale of Genji, a Japanese classic, celebrates social hierarchy."
    -- Dinesh D'Souza

    "Publicly inconsolable about the fact that racism continues, these activists seem privately terrified that it has abated."
    --Dinesh D'Souza, The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society, 1995

    "This culture forged a country where people from across the world could arrive and become rich, happy and free -- if they assimilated."
    -- Rich Lowry

    "Multiculturalism claims to offer a real value: a cosmopolitan, rather than provincial, understanding of the world beyond the student's immediate surroundings. But it is a peculiar kind of 'broadening.' Multiculturalists would rather have students admire the primitive patterns of Navajo blankets, say, than learn why Islam's medieval golden age of scientific progress was replaced by fervent piety and centuries of stagnation."
    -- Elan Journo

    "What matters is not what any individual thinks, but what is true. A teacher who does not equip his pupils with the rudimentary tools to discover this is substituting indoctrination for teaching."
    -- Richard Stanley Peters, Ethics and Education

    "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views."
    -- William F. Buckley

    "Civil rights used to be about treating everyone the same. But today some people are so used to special treatment that equal treatment is considered to be discrimination."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., Column: Random Thoughts

    "Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for what they themselves are doing today?"
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., Column: Random Thoughts

    "In the academic world, diversity means black leftists, white leftists, female leftists, and Hispanic leftists. Demographic diversity conceals ideological conformity."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., Barbarians inside the Gates and Other Controversial Essays

Education Research

    "It's ironic that we deny a brain-tumor patient with six months to live the choice of a promising new therapy because it's 'unproven,' but we'll let any zealous band of ninth-grade math teachers cripple 100,000 children for life by testing a pedagogical fad whose benefits are purely conjectural. No 'informed consent' forms are required for schools to experiment on kids."
    -- Peter Pearson, Aptos, Calif., in the Chicago Tribune

    "One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions."
    -- Adm. Grace Hopper

    "The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment."
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    "If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion."
    -- Robert A. Heinlein

    "When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science."
    -- Lord Kelvin

    "Unfortunately, too much of what we recognize as education research is simply opinion buttressed by anecdotes"
    -- U.S. Representative Michael Castle of Delaware, sponsor of legislation creating a new "Academy of Education Sciences."

    "Some people expect educational research to be like a group of engineers working on the fastest, cheapest, and safest way of traveling to Chicago, when in fact it is a bunch of people arguing about whether to go to Chicago or St. Louis."
    -- Gene Glass, former president of the American Educational Research Association

    "Educators have tended to treat fervently-held opinion with the same reverence as scientific fact for so long that they have lost the ability to discern the difference!"
    -- Charles M. Richardson

    "When the grand pooh-bah PhDs of education stand up and blow, they speak with great confidence about theories of teaching, and considering the test results, the bums ought to be thrown out."
    -- Garrison Keillor "The trouble with educational experiments is that they all work."
    -- unknown

    "Research in education is not taken seriously by any other college or department on a university campus outside the colleges of education. It's very fad-oriented. When people say 'research shows,' they generally won't even be able to cite a paper... But if they do and you actually read it, you'll find that it's just unmitigated opinion."
    -- David Klein, Ph.D., professor of mathematics, California State University at Northridge

    "There are big schools of reading methods and mathematics methods, and so forth, but if you notice, you'll see the reading scores keep going down -- or hardly going up -- in spite of the fact that we continually use these same people to improve the methods. There's a witch doctor remedy that doesn't work. It ought to be looked into; how do they know that their method should work?"
    -- Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize laureate

    "... ordinary people with commonsense ideas are intimidated by this pseudoscience. A teacher who has some good idea of how to teach her children to read is forced by the school system to do it some other way -- or is even fooled by the school system into thinking that her method is not necessarily a good one."
    -- Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize laureate

    "It's queer how ready people always are with advice in any real or imaginary emergency, and no matter how many times experience has shown them to be wrong, they continue to set forth their opinions, as if they had received them from the Almighty!"
    -- Anne Sullivan

    "Education Research: This is a process whereby serious educators discover knowledge that is well known to everybody, and has been for several centuries. Its principal characteristic is that no one pays any attention to it."
    -- Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, The School Book, 1973

    "If a physician prescribes a drug that research shows not to work, what happens to the physician? When educators use 'approaches' that research shows not to work, does anything happen -- except to the children who are damaged?"
    -- Prof. Martin Kozloff

    "As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine..."
    -- Ephesians 4:14

    "Among the community of people who have backing in scientific methods and use objective principles, [we see] a real difference in standards [between] education research that appears in education journals and what appears in psychology and science journals."
    -- Louisa Moats, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

    "University schools of education are held in low regard by others in the arts and sciences."
    -- Louisa Moats, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

    "Teacher licensing programs are cash cows. ... The schools are interested in filling slots instead of trying to raise low standards. The departments are often segregated and taught by professors of education who've gone through the same (unscientific) program."
    -- Louisa Moats, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

    "[Education] students don't get the same grounding in psychology, linguistics, language development or neuropsychology."
    -- Louisa Moats, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

    "Whole language made its way into schools with no strong research backing. In fact, the tenets of whole language were actively contradicted by reading psychologists for 25 years. It's appalling."
    -- Louisa Moats, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

    "There is no relation between what is practiced in a classroom and what is validated. It is unusual for consumers in education to decide what they are going to do and what materials they are going to buy based on independent, scientific validation."
    -- Louisa Moats, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

    "The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'."
    -- attributed to a variety of writers

Boys and Girls

    "There is evidence that the female advantage in school performance is real and persistent."
    -- U. S. Department of Education, 2000

    "Just when you thought nothing new could be added to progressive education's long catalog of failures, yet one more has come to light -- and it is a particularly grave and far-reaching failure. For progressive ed, I would argue, is responsible for the epidemic of underachievement among boys in British state schools, now so deep and widespread that it is taking on the proportions of a national crisis. ... The real culprit is the radical shift in teaching methods and in the content of the school curriculum that progressive education has wrought. ... Lost utterly, too, was any kind of rigor in instruction. ... The school dropped formal training in literacy and numeracy in favor of 'project learning' -- play-like, unstructured, open-ended work, done in groups. ... Progressive ideology rejected the very idea that getting answers right was important. ... The brunt of all this fell most disastrously on boys -- who, it turned out, tempermentally depended much more than girls on the principles of traditional education: discipline, structure, and competition. ... One key reason why girls are doing strikingly better than boys is that teachers, in accordance with progressivist ideology, now judge schoolwork in a way that rewards enthusiasm and personal involvement more than objective knowledge and accuracy. ... School is now designed to be most helpful to the self-disciplined and self-motivating -- which, during childhood and adolescence, largely means girls."
    -- Janet Daley, "Progressive Ed's War On Boys", City Journal (Manhattan Institute), Winter 1999

    "Many boys think that their grade schools are boy-unfriendly. I well remember my son bursting into the kitchen one day after school, yelling 'They want us to be girls, Mom, they want us to be girls!'"
    -- Patricia Dalton, "When Did We Lose Sight of Boys?", Washington Post, Sunday, May 9, 1999

    "The poor performance of English boys in relation to girls, particularly in reading skills, is a relatively new phenomenon. Various surveys show that, formerly, where sex differences did occur at the age of 7 or 8, they usually disappeared by the age of 11. Today, significant differences between girls and boys are still dramatically apparent in English tests at the ages of 14, 16 and 18. ... However, there is one English-speaking country that is very similar to England but where no sex differences in reading exist. That country is Scotland. ... There is one major difference in educational policy between the two countries. While 1960's child-centred methods of instruction have radically reshaped the teaching of reading in England, in Scotland methods have remained more traditional and phonics-based. It may be that code-based methods of reading instruction are more advantageous for boys than other methods."
    -- Dr. Bonnie Macmillan, "When schools drop phonics, do boys fail to read?", The London Times, June 13, 1997

    "Educators today are intolerant of boys acting like boys. ... When boys aren't being punished for being boys, they are being medicated to accomplish the same result. It is revealing that 95 percent of the kids on Ritalin today ... are boys. ... This view has found its most receptive audience in education, which is dominated, to a greater extent than other professions, by women. The result is a commitment to ... monitoring and policing characteristically male behavior, and getting boys to participate in 'characteristically feminine activities.' As a result, our sons think there's something wrong with being a boy. As Dan Kindlon, a child psychologist, puts it, our sons feel like a 'thorn among roses' and a 'frowned-upon presence' in our schools. This war that's being waged on sons isn't only cruel; it's culturally disastrous."
    -- Charles W. Colson, "The War Against Boys in Our Schools"

    "We spent most of the 1990s fretting about bogus research claiming that the schools were shortchanging and damaging girls, when the truth is that boys are the ones in trouble. Boys are much more likely than girls to have problems with schoolwork, repeat a grade, get suspended, and develop learning difficulties. ... They are five times more likely than girls to commit suicide and four to nine times more likely to be drugged with Ritalin. Student polls show that both girls and boys say their teachers like the girls more and punish the boys more often. Girls get better grades than boys, take more rigorous courses, and now attend college in much greater numbers. While the traditional advantage of boys over girls in math and science has narrowed (girls take as least as many upper-level math courses as boys, and more biology and chemistry), the advantage of girls over boys in reading and writing is large and stable."
    -- John Leo, "Will boys be boys?", U.S.News, July 17, 2000

    From the Simpsons:

    Principal Skinner [phonily]: Am I wearing women's clothes? I didn't notice. When I look in my closet, I don't see male clothes or female clothes, they're all the same.
    Edna Krabappel [arms crossed]: Are you saying that men and women are identical?
    Skinner: Oh, no, of course not! Women are unique in every way.
    Lindsay Nagel [arms crossed]: Now he's saying women and men aren't equal!
    Skinner [getting nervous]: No, no, no! It's the differences ... of which there are none, that make the sameness ... exceptional! [desperately] Just tell me what to say!
    [Skinner hyperventilates and faints]

What Americans Think About Schools

    "When the students don't learn, the school must change."
    -- Bill Gates, addressing the National Governors Association, February 2005

    "That, for many fellows, is the biggest shock: that public school systems pretend they don't have to operate like other companies and organizations, that they can get the best people without giving them incentives, that their funding comes from heaven, that being a public employee charged with doing nice things for children means never having to answer to shareholders -- in this case, taxpayers."
    -- Naomi Schaefer Riley, Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2005

    "There is widespread agreement that America has the best universities in the world. ... But virtually no one says we have the best K-12 education in the world."
    -- Richard K. Vedder, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Ohio University

    "The cities have been murdered by their schools. If the schools were good, we could handle the other problems."
    -- M.I.T. professor Jerrold R. Zacharias

    "Most Americans have no idea how bad things really are. We are in a state of emergency. I'm blown away that this isn't what is on every parent's mind when it comes to elections ... that people are not in the streets fighting for their kids."
    -- Oprah Winfrey, regarding her special report, "American Schools in Crisis"

    The "top issue in the nation": Education
    (The second-ranked issue was "economy/jobs/taxes".)
    -- survey of 1,002 adults by Reuters, June 2000




    Issues most important for the next president to deal with:
    1. Education
    2. Moral values
    3. Social Security/Medicare
    4. Health care
    -- survey of 2,500 female registered likely voters adults, by Voter.com, Battleground 2000




    Every year, the Illinois-based Coalition for Consumer Rights conducts a survey of about 800 Illinois voters, gauging public opinion on some 50 topics ranging from the economy to product safety. Here are the top-ranked issues in their 1999 Survey of Illinois Voters:
    Worry Index:
    Top Concerns of Illinois Voters
    STATESUBURBSCHICAGO
    1. Education in public schools
    2. Enough money when you retire
    3. The numbers of poor, homeless
    4. Children's standard of living
    5. Drugs, drug dealers in community
    6. Safety of food
    7. Get cancer
    8. Victim of crime
    9. A severe long-term injury or illness
    10. Ability to pay the bills
    1. Education in public schools
    2. Enough money when you retire
    3. Safety of food
    4. Children's standard of living
    5. The numbers of poor, homeless
    6. Victim of crime
    7. Get cancer
    8. A severe long-term injury or illness
    9. Drugs, drug dealers in community
    10. Ability to pay the bills
    1. Education in public schools
    2. Drugs, drug dealers in community
    3. (tie) The number of poor, homeless
    4. (tie) Safety of food
    5. Enough money when you retire
    6. Children's standard of living
    7. Available child care
    8. Victim of crime
    9. Children go to college
    10. A severe long-term injury or illness
    (A comment: with rankings like that, how come the only time we see education as a story on the 10 pm news is when there is a teacher strike, or asbestos or mold is found in a school's walls?)



    Does your school have high academic standards (Percent saying "yes")?
       -- 71% of principals
       -- 60% of teachers
       -- 38% of students
    -- report in the January 2002 issue of School Reform News



    In general, would you say schoolchildren today are being taught more worthwhile and useful things than children were 20 years ago, not as worthwhile things, or about as worthwhile things as then? (The same question was asked in 1950 and 1999.)

    Yankelovich Education Poll19501999
    More worthwhile67%26%
    Not as worthwhile13%53%
    No more,no less12%18%
    Don't know / no answer8%3%

    (How to read this chart: In 1950, 67% of people said that children were then being taught things that were more worthwhile than 20 years earlier. But in 1999, 53% of people said that what children were being taught was not as worthwhile as 20 years earlier.)


Parent Choice

    "Right now, the quality of your children's education depends on your address."
    -- Tom Zafiratos, superintendent of Pennoyer District 79 in Norridge, a suburb of Chicago (Norridge and Harwood Heights News, February 3, 2005)

    "Broadly speaking, there are only two ways to create accountability for student progress in large systems: standards, or competition. The standards movement is getting its chance now. Depending on how well it delivers, the voucher movement, or at least more radical forms of public school choice, may not be far behind."
    -- Matthew Miller, writing in The Washington Monthly, June 2001

    "And so reality intrudes on the best intentions of the No Child Left Behind Act. 'Choice' is limited, in part because school bureaucracies have been slow to embrace it, and in part because legislatures and Congress have been reluctant to embrace such measures as school vouchers, designed to give low-income children broader access to private school alternatives."
    -- Editorial, Chicago Tribune, August 8, 2003

    "The only reason that public schools enjoy as much support as they still do is that most parents are still harboring the illusion that the schools are still somehow similar to the schools of their own youth."
    -- Dave Ziffer

    "The major roadblock to the advance of school choice in the suburbs is not how to pursue a solution, but for families first to recognize there is a problem and that they have little choice or control over what their children are taught in public schools."
    -- George A. Clowes, School Reform News, October 2001

    "Offering choice only within the public schools is akin to offering Russians the right to shop at different state stores."
    -- John Leo

    "The cities have been murdered by their schools. If the schools were good, we could handle the other problems."
    -- Jerrold R. Zacharias, professor, MIT, September 1, 1969

    "I do believe you will find a strong movement for charter schools and school choice whenever a school district is not responsive to what parents want."
    -- Cheri Pierson Yecke, former Minnesota state Commissioner of Education

    "There is nothing in the concept of democracy to require that schools be subject to direct control by school boards, central offices, departments of education, and other arms of government. ... There are many paths of democracy and public education."
    -- John E. Chubb and Terry M. Moe, Politics, Markets and America's Schools

    "The United States is the outlier -- it's the place that is strange. All of the Western European countries and Canada have school choice. They don't always call it vouchers but they have it. If you lived in Winnipeg you could go to any private, public or parochial school and the province pays. They have choice. They have choice in Sweden -- socialist Sweden has choice: vouchers for going to religious schools, private schools, public schools. Only the United States has this system where all the money just goes to the government-owned schools. It's unusual. It's weird. It's not sustainable in the long run. Eventually choice will catch on."
    -- John O. Norquist, former Democratic mayor of Milwaukee

    "Expanded parental choice is a necessary condition for authentic school reform."
    -- Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education, on "O'Reilly Factor", Fox News, June 4, 2001

    "The idea of a public school monopoly is dead. It needs to be relegated to the Smithsonian."
    -- Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education

    "We must love our children's hopes and dreams and prayers more than we love the institutional heritage of the school system."
    -- Willard Daggett

    "How did we ever get into a situation of telling parents where they have to send their kids to school?"
    -- Lamar Alexander, US Secretary of Education, 1991-1993

    "In order to improve K through 12 education, I believe it is essential for parents to have options. They should have more than a Hobson's choice when it comes to educating their children -- they should have real choice. They should be able to consider a magnet program in a neighborhood school, or an innovative charter school, or an improving public school or the chance to apply for a scholarship to help pay the tuition at a private school. That's the kind of choice that will inspire competition and foster innovation."
    -- Anthony A. Williams, Democratic mayor of Washington, D.C., July 1, 2003

    "President Bush talks about school choice and accountability, which is good, but 'No Child Left Behind' has allowed very few parents to choose different schools for their children. What it has allowed is an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over schooling."
    -- Joseph Bast, Heartland Institute, "Heartlander," November 2000

    "Based on the substantial amount of money pumped into the schools and the resultant test scores, I do not believe that money alone is going to solve the problem. This is why I believe the District [of Columbia] should be allowed to try [school vouchers]."
    -- U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat-Calif), July 22, 2003

    "If I was the parent of a child who went to an inner-city school that was failing ... I might be for vouchers, too."
    -- Vice President Al Gore, August 9, 2000, in a moment of candor, speaking to a campaign rally in a school gym in Tennessee.

    "Money is not the only answer to the crisis in education ... We also have to shake up the system. The current system is not functioning as well as it should. I'm intrigued by the ideas of vouchers and choice as a way to create competition in the educational marketplace. I bet such competition would be popular, and would excite a lot of families, a lot of parents, a lot of students."
    -- Sen. Joseph Lieberman (1990)

    "If you ask me personally, I'm still for a test of vouchers. ... But I understand how this works when you are vice president."
    -- Sen. Joseph Lieberman, interviewed on CNN on August 13, 2000

    "The standoff between vouchers and money is predictable. It is also regrettable, because it prevents consideration of a most promising way to improve school performance -- giving kids 'progressive' vouchers that are inversely related to the size of their family's income ... Why not simply 'voucherize' all education funding and let students and their parents select where they can get the best education?"
    -- Robert B. Reich, former Secretary of Labor, Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2000

    "Most American parents give their kids' schools an A or B grade, but that's only because, without market competition, they don't know what they might have had."
    -- John Stossel

    "The state has intruded into civil society in a way that the Founders would never have envisaged. It does not merely fund the majority of schools: it controls them."
    -- Roger Scruton, American Spectator, December 2006

    "If public money that is reasonably attributable to the State is used to pay for a religious education, it violates the Constitution ... The only way in which it's not attributable to the State is if it doesn't go there by virtue of a State action or a State decision, but the circuit is broken ... and the circuit is broken because in between, standing between the State and standing between the schools, is an independent party with decisionmaking to divert it away."
    -- Robert H. Chanin, teacher union attorney, arguing against vouchers before the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2002, inadvertently providing a clear argument for why school choice by parents does not violate the Constitution.

    "If the only motive was to help people who could not afford education, advocates of government involvement would have simply proposed tuition subsidies."
    -- Milton Friedman, economist, 1976 Nobel Laureate

    "Assumption of responsibility by government for educating all children does not require that schooling be delivered in government-run institutions -- just as government food stamps need not be spent in government grocery stores. ...
        School vouchers can push elementary and secondary education out of the 19th century and into the 21st by introducing market competition on a broad scale, just as competition has made progress possible in every other area of economic and civic life."
    -- Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize winner, New York Times, July 2, 2002

    "Vouchers are not an end in themselves; they are a means to make a transition from a government to a market system."
    -- Milton Friedman

    "I am a public school teacher. I made what was a very difficult decision last year -- to send my child to a private school. ... The public school where I work is full of hard working, dedicated teachers, who are stretched to their limits. They are aware of many children whose needs they cannot meet. We have tried many extra groups, team teaching, etc., to attempt to meet those needs in a better way. It is not nearly enough. We need massive change in the system. I don't see this happening soon. I welcome vouchers. I deserve to have more choices for my child. The children and families I work with deserve more choices."
    -- Ellen Davis of Elk River, Minnesota, in a letter to the editor of the Minnesota Educator, August 22, 2002

    "What is the fundamental difference between our higher educational system and our K-12 system? The real, fundamental difference is that Northwestern University doesn't own any students. The University of Chicago doesn't own any students. The University of Illinois doesn't own any students. They have to earn them. They have to compete."
    -- Illinois State Senator Steve Rauschenberger, interviewed by Jeff Berkowitz

    "If I had a business that half the product we turned out was defective or you couldn't put into the marketplace, I would shut that business down."
    -- Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, , March 26, 2008, referring to high school dropout rates of 50% or higher <-- http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080327/tc_nm/att_workforce_dc -->

    "We have found, in our country, that when people have the right to make decisions as close to home as possible, they usually make the right decisions."
    -- Ronald Reagan

    "If you spend your own money on yourself, you care how much you spend and how well you spend it.
    If you spend your own money on someone else, you care how much you spend, but you don't care how well it is spent.
    If you spend someone else's money on yourself, you don't care how much you spend, but you do care how well it is spent.
    And finally, if you spend someone else's money on someone else, you don't care how much you spend, and you don't care how well it is spent. That is government."
    -- Milton Friedman

    "The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose, excludes any general power of the state to standardize children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."
    -- James C. McReynolds, writing for the majority in Pierce vs. Society of Sisters, U.S. Supreme Court, 1925. The Court ruled unconstitutional an Oregon law that attempted to make attendence at public school compulsory.

    "School choice isn't true choice when the State removes an entire class of options, as Maine did when it barred religious schools from participating in its tuitioning program ... Maine's tuitioning program should not favor religion, but to discriminate against religion as it now does is simply unfair and unconstitutional. The State should allow parents to select religious schools for their children among a range of other private and public options."
    -- Richard Komer, Senior Litigation Attorney, Institute for Justice

    "The Fourteenth Amendment protects the citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures -- Boards of Education not excepted. ... Probably no deeper division of our people could proceed from any provocation than from finding it necessary to choose what doctrine and whose program public educational officials shall compel youth to unite in embracing."
    -- Robert H. Jackson, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1943

    "Americans, with our supposed love of freedom and democracy, never question the right of the state to proselytize children. That to me is one of the great affronts to human liberty."
    -- Gore Vidal, author

    "If the First Amendment is applied to the reality of schooling as it has developed in this century, the conclusion must be that individual liberty, the healthy functioning of the political system, and the preservation of a truly public and governable public-school system require a separation of school and state."
    -- Stephen Arons, Compelling Belief, 1983, pp 212-213

    "People should be free to find or make for themselves the kinds of educational experience they want their children to have. "
    -- John Holt

    "Private schools are held to account in the most effective way possible -- they're accountable to their customers who are free to take their business elsewhere if they're not satisfied."
    -- Mike Rosen, Rocky Mountain News

    "There was a day, within our lifetimes, when public officials stood in school doorways in an attempt to keep some students from entering. Now we have the sad spectacle of others symbolically standing in school doorways attempting to keep any students from getting out."
    -- David W. Kirkpatrick

    "To have a constitutional right dependent upon an ability to pay is no right at all."
    -- David W. Kirkpatrick

    "If the government would make up its mind to require for every child a good education, it might save itself the trouble of providing one."
    -- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

    "The objections which are urged with reason against State education, do not apply to the enforcement of education by the State, but to the State's taking upon itself to direct that education, which is a totally different thing."
    -- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

    "An education established and controlled by the State, should only exist, if it exist at all, as one among many competing experiments, carried on for the purpose of example and stimulus, to keep the others up to a certain standard of excellence."
    -- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

    "We are opposed to state interference with parental rights and rights of conscience in the education of children as an infringement of the fundamental Democratic doctrine that the largest individual liberty consistent with the rights of others insures the highest type of American citizenship and the best government."
    -- National Platform of the Democratic Party, 1892

    "State ownership means trusting the politicians."
    -- G. K. Chesterton, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 19, 1921

    "Education is the established church of the United States. It is one of the religions that Americans believe in. It has its own orthodoxy, its pontiffs and its noble buildings."
    -- Sir Michael Sadler, New York Times, Sept. 1, 1956

    "Practically all the time in traditional Western classrooms ... is spent on producing respectable mediocrity."
    -- Peter F. Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society, p. 202, 1993

    "As long as we don't have a choice, nothing is going to change."
    -- television ad for a new local telephone company in Chicago

    "It is often easier for our children to obtain a gun than it is to find a good school."
    -- Joycelyn Elders
    "Maybe that's because guns are sold at a profit, while schools are provided by the government."
    -- David Boaz

    "Riddle of the year : How is a public school like the U.S. Post Office?
    Answer : It's inefficient, it costs more each year than the last, it is a perpetual subject of complaint about which nothing is ever done. It is, in short, a typical government monopoly."
    -- David Friedman

    "We must trust parents -- not government -- to make the education decisions that affect their kids. It's simply a matter of social and economic justice."
    -- Gov. Thomas Ridge (Pennsylvania), address to Union League of Philadelphia, April 13, 2000

    "It is ironic that teacher unions oppose voucher plans -- even when limited only to public schools. For years, the unions have demanded recognition of teaching as a full profession... The irony: Only under a voucher plan would teachers be as 'professional' as are doctors or lawyers. Professionals, except teachers, already work in an open marketplace."
    -- Philip and Susan Jones

    "If former President Clinton had proposed legislation with testing, greater federal funding and no private school vouchers, conservatives would have killed it. Not only would we have killed it, but we would have held a press conference celebrating its defeat."
    -- an unnamed congressman, quoted in a newspaper article following George W. Bush's wimp-out on school vouchers, May 2001

    "If this [voucher] provision is eliminated, we have lost most of the president's vision for education reform because the only thing this bill will do is empower the bureaucrats in Washington."
    -- Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., following George W. Bush's wimp-out on school vouchers, May 2001

    "...parental choice and involvement are important to excellence in education... ... parents have a fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children..."
    -- from H.R. 578, passed unanimously by the House of Representatives

    "A child will be better brought up by a wise father however limited, than by the cleverest teacher in the world."
    -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quoted by Diane Ravitch in her book Left Back, with the comment that "It was ironic that Rousseau became a hero to progressives ... who were building state systems of public education, because he was hostile to social institutions ... he was a champion of home schooling, not public education."

    "The only real measure of a teacher's competence, over time, is whether parents want the services of that teacher."
    -- unknown

    "We've all bought into the crazy idea that for some mysterious reason -- which no one seems able to articulate -- education should not operate according to the same principles that govern every other sector of our society. ... But we do have a model for competition and choice. It's called all the rest of America. In fact, we even have a competitive model within education, and it's called the university system."
    -- Ted Forstmann, Chairman and CEO of the Children's Scholarship Fund

    "It is irrelevant whether the parents of a voucher student are satisfied or dissatisfied with the education that their children receive."
    -- Bob Chanin, general counsel for the National Education Association, quoted in Heartland News. August 2002

    "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children."
    -- United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26(3).

    "The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions."
    -- United Nations, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 18

    "The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to choose for their children schools, other than those established by the public authorities, which conform to such minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the State and to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions."
    -- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights guarantees, Article 13 Paragraph 3, 1966.

    "I used to think that technology could help education. I've probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet. But I've come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem cannot be fixed with technology ... No amount of technology will make a dent. ... It's a political problem ... The problems are unions. ... You plot the growth of the NEA [National Education Association] and the dropping of SAT scores, and they're inversely proportional. The problems are the unions in the schools ... I'm one of these people who believes the best thing we could ever do is go to the full voucher system."
    -- Steve Jobs, co-founder, Apple Computer, Wired magazine, February 1996

    "I believe that if Martin Luther King and A. D. King were here they would say 'Do what's best for the children.' It [the idea for school vouchers] may sound radical, but so were they."
        "Is it moral to tax families, compel their children's attendance at schools, and then give no choice between teaching methods, religious or secular education and other matters?"
    -- Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., Wall Street Journal, September 11, 1997

    "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, late president, American Federation of Teachers, Wall Street Journal, "Reding, Wrighting & Erithmatic," October 2, 1989.

    "I find it intriguing that public school teachers who have never put their kids in the schools that they teach in will insist that poor parents keep their children in these very schools. Why? Because if those children leave, it could affect their employment. But if the school is not good enough for their children, why is it good enough for anybody's children?"
    -- Dr. Howard Fuller, former Superintendent of Schools in Milwaukee, Distinguished Professor of Education, Marquette University (from " Cambridge School Choice Conference")

    "If parents of students have the right to choose so many other basics in their lives -- such as where they live, where they go to church, where they work -- then they also ought have the right to choose where their children go to school."
    -- Kurt Schmoke, Democratic mayor of Baltimore, quoted by Associated Press, March 8, 1996

    "It is amazing how many people think that the government's role is to give them what they want by overriding what other people want."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "If you are serious about wanting to improve education, do not vote more money for the education establishment that has been dumbing down the schools for years. Vote for vouchers, tax credits, or anything else that will transfer decision-making power to parents."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "The one area that I would emphasize ... is choice and vouchers. ... The only thing that I believe is going to change dramatically public education in this country is to go to a choice system and break up the monopoly."
    -- Rudolph Giuliani, June 13, 2006

    "It is out of character for a country that prides itself on intellectual freedom to put the education of its young in the hands of the state."
    -- David Kelley, "Learning the Hard Way," p. 17, Barron's, February 17, 1986

    "Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another. But if we face a monopolist we are at his mercy."
    -- Friedrich A. Hayek

    "Unfortunately, when most people call for solutions, a different way of thinking is usually the last thing they have in mind. What they want instead is something that will not challenge their assumptions, shock their sensibilities, or violate the conventional wisdom."
    -- William Ophuls, Requiem for Modern Politics, Westview Press, 1997

    "[W]e have a serious national crisis on our hands ... we should not be worrying whther particular reform propositions are too radical. We should be worrying whether they are radical enough."
    -- Clint Bolick, director, Alliance for School Choice, in his book, Leviathan: The Growth of Local Government and the Erosion of Civil Liberty.

    "Our K-12 system of public schools ... represents perhaps the largest socialized delivery system outside of Communist China. And the results are all too predictable."
    -- Clint Bolick, director, Alliance for School Choice, in his book, Leviathan: The Growth of Local Government and the Erosion of Civil Liberty.

    "The schools operate as a monopoly, sheltered from the market consequences of failure."
    -- Clint Bolick, director, Alliance for School Choice, in his book, Leviathan: The Growth of Local Government and the Erosion of Civil Liberty.

    "I know of 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."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820

    "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. I have sworn on the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    Note:

    There are many other great quotes about choice and vouchers on this page at the SchoolReformers website.

    "If I didn't think a charter school was necessary, these letters have convinced me the high school was not doing an adequate job in teaching English language arts."
    -- Roberta Schaefer, member, Massachusetts State Board of Education, referring to a student letter-writing campaign opposing a proposed charter school in Marlboro. Many of the letters contained spelling and punctuation errors. The board approved the charter. (Boston Herald, February 25, 2004)

    "The reason so many charter schools sprouted in Arizona so quickly is that, once again, we bypassed the school districts. The early charter movement floundered a decade ago because most states forced schools to obtain charters from local school boards. No surprise that charters weren't springing up fast: this would be like Burger King asking for permission to sell Whoppers in the local McDonald's. There's just not going to be any enthusiasm to help out the competition."
    -- Lisa Graham Keegan, former Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Arizona

    "The traditional public school system must change how it does business to compete with charter schools."
    -- a remarkable statement on the power of competition, from Paul Karlowicz, president of the NEA-affiliated Tucson Education Association

    "Charter schools are just public schools on a slightly longer leash. A dog on a long leash is still a dog on a leash."
    -- Marshall Fritz

    "Competition from charter schools is the best way to motivate the ossified bureaucracies governing too many public schools. This grass-roots revolution seeks to reconnect public education with our most basic values: ingenuity, responsibility, and accountability."
    -- Sen. Joseph Lieberman

Parents

    "For somebody to do well in school, somebody needs to make him go to bed on time and get a good 10 hours sleep. Someone must make him do his homework. Somebody must feed him breakfast in the morning and somebody must make him mind a teacher. If those things are not done, I don't care how much money you put in the school system, education will not occur."
    -- Walter E. Williams

Government and Unions

    "Any reform that is acceptable to the educational establishment, and that can gain a majority in a legislature, federal or state, is bound to be worse than nothing."
    -- First Law of Education Reform, Irving Kristol, 1994

    "And that I think that there is probably a special place in hell reserved for politicians who betray our nation's most helpless children for the benefit of a sullen and recalcitrant teacher's union. There they spend all eternity explaining to their victims why they couldn't possibly have risked their precious babies' future in the public school system, yet felt perfectly free to fling other peoples' children into it by the thousands."
    -- Megan McArdle, Atlantic Monthly

    "Perverse incentives work. A law where the consequences mean that Arkansas has zero failing schools and Michigan has 1,500 is bound to have unintended consequences -- every state strives to be Arkansas."
    -- Blogger Lisa Snell, in describing how states have been reducing the difficulty of their tests so that more schools "pass" testing requirements

    "Governance of many schools is such that you turn the steering wheel but the vehicle doesn't turn."
    -- U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, Forbes Magazine, October 6, 2002

    "If science could cross breed a jellyfish with a parrot, it could create academic administrators."
    -- Thomas Sowell

    "There's a tradition in education that, if you spend a dollar and it doesn't work, you should spend two dollars; and not only that, you should give those two dollars to the same person who couldn't do the job with only one."
    -- Frank Macchiarola (NYC school Chancellor, 1978-83), and Thomas Houser, For Our Children, 1985.

    "What would happen if we suddenly found out that in the inner city, doctors were opposed to diagnosis and preferred to treat all patients with their favorite medicine regardless of the patient's condition? How comfortable would we be with a statistic saying that poor and minority children were 40% incurable?"
    -- Lisa Graham Keegan, Chief Executive Officer of the Education Leaders Council, former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

    "You would risk a hernia if you tried to carry all the studies which show that more money has virtually no effect on the quality of American education."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "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

    "In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad."
    -- Friedrich Nietzsche

    "Public educators, like Soviet farmers, lack any incentive to produce results, innovate, to be efficient, to make the kinds of of difficult changes that private firms operating in a competitive market must make to survive."
    -- Carolyn Lochhead

    "Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom."
    -- John Adams, Defense of the Constitutions, 1787

    "But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever."
    -- John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, 1775

    "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."
    John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, 1780

    "If Al Gore can teach journalism in a prestigious graduate school, why wouldn't he be allowed to teach civics in a New York City public high school?"
    -- Education Intelligence Agency

    "With respect to teachers' salaries ... Poor teachers are grossly overpaid and good teachers grossly underpaid. Salary schedules tend to be uniform and determined far more by seniority."
    -- Milton Friedman

    "Unions are disingenuous when they claim to represent the interests of the students. That’s not what they were created to do and is not what they are paid by their members to do."
    -- Harrison Blackmond, Michigan state director of Democrats for Education Reform and former UniServ director and staff attorney for the Michigan Education Association.

    "Education will always do whatever makes the parents most uncomfortable, that's their forte."
    -- Gov. Jesse Ventura, Minnesota, December 6, 2001, St. Paul Pioneer Press

    "The soft bigotry of low expectations"
    -- George W. Bush's phrase to explain the reluctance of urban officials to seriously address the poor quality of education in minority areas

    "Parents give up their rights when they drop their kids off at public school"
    -- Federal District Judge Melinda Harmon ruling against parents suing a Texas School district

    "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 ... "Good schools don't need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don't need a national curriculum or national testing either."
    -- John Taylor Gatto's letter announcing his resignation as a teacher, Wall Street Journal, July 25, 1991. Mr. Gatto was New York City "Teacher of the Year" for 1989, 1990 and 1991, and New York state "Teacher of the Year" for 1990 and 1991.

    "The federal government does not own our children. Yet we act as if it does by letting it decide when, how, and what our children will learn."
    -- Ron Paul

    "Traditional public schools view parents less as partners than as ATMs. Only 4% of American education schools offer courses on working with parents. Journalist Elinor Burkett estimates that the typical principal must comply with 470,000 federal, state, and local regulations. After all that bureaucracy, principals have no energy left over to work with parents -- better to distract them with bake sales."
    -- Robert Maranto, professor, Villanova University; Opinion Journal, September 16, 2004

    There is no accountability in the public school system - except for coaches. You know what happens to a losing coach. You fire him. A losing teacher can go on losing for 30 years and then go to glory.
    -- Ross Perot, Dallas Morning News, March 11, 1984

    "Will allowing parents to choose from different education options 'destroy public education'? Did competition from Toyota 'destroy' General Motors? Or to use an even closer analogy: Has competition from Federal Express 'destroyed' the government postal service, or has the latter indeed become better, faster, more innovative in response? ... [Beware those who] wave their worn-out ideologies to defend a system of educational apartheid while demonizing anyone who promotes a parent's right to choose."
    -- Andrew Young, former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador

    "...the traditional school district is one of the largest obstacles to improving the public schools. Today's district is a rigid command-and-control system that offers dissatisfied parents no choices except, if they don't like the district school, to send their kids to private school or to home-school them."
    -- Lisa Graham Keegan, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Arizona

    "...the seemingly obvious, but too often ignored, truth [is] that effective teaching depend mostly on a teacher's knowledge of the instructional material, not on possessing an education degree."
    -- Lisa Graham Keegan, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Arizona

    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial."
    -- Justice Louis Brandeis

    "There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
    -- James Madison

    "Whenever there is no absolute necessity, whenever legislation may fail to intervene without society being overthrown, whenever, finally it is a question merely of some hypothetical improvement, the law must abstain, leave things alone, and keep quiet."
    -- Benjamin Constant (1767-1830)

    "It is amazing how many people think that the government's role is to give them what they want by overriding what other people want."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., February 22, 2005

    "I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruit of his labor so far as it in no way interferes with any other man's rights."
    -- Abraham Lincoln

    "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."
    -- John Taylor Gatto

    "I am a democrat because I believe in the Fall of Man ... Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows."
    -- C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

    "Man is by no means for the State. The State is for man."
    -- Jacques Maritain (1882-1973)

    "Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being."
    -- Lord Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834-1902)

    "The state has intruded into civil society in a way that the Founders would never have envisaged. It does not merely fund the majority of schools: it controls them." -- Roger Scruton

    "I'm not aware of any study that says merit pay has really enhanced productivity"
    -- Michael Pons, policy analyst for the National Education Association (who we must assume is paid the same as all other policy analysts at the NEA, regardless of how much or how well they produce)

    "He is to be educated because he is a man, and not because he is to make shoes, nails, and pins."
    -- William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), U.S. clergyman and writer

    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."
    -- Louis D. Brandeis

    "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, Ph.D.

    "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

    "I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates."
    -- Steve Jobs, co-founder, Apple Computer, Newsweek, Oct. 29, 2001

    "Focusing on the future of public education in terms of the existing public school system is like discussing the eradication of poverty declaring that the top priority must be the preservation of the Department of Health and Human Services, or discussing the future of America's farmers in terms of whether or not policies will strengthen the Department of Agriculture. ... it is a measure of the level of the educational debate that the educrats have been able to frame the debate on effective schools in such nakedly bureaucrat-o-centric terms."
    -- Charles Sykes, Dumbing Down Our Kids

    "The fact is, when we say 'All students can learn,' we should mean it and measure it."
    -- Lisa Keegan, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Arizona

    "The reason so many charter schools sprouted in Arizona so quickly is that, once again, we bypassed the school districts. The early charter movement floundered a decade ago because most states forced schools to obtain charters from local school boards. No surprise that charters weren't springing up fast: this would be like Burger King asking for permission to sell Whoppers in the local McDonald's. There's just not going to be any enthusiasm to help out the competition."
    -- Lisa Keegan, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Arizona

    "Charter schools are just public schools on a slightly longer leash. A dog on a long leash is still a dog on a leash." -- Marshall Fritz

    "After that, the Head's friends saw that the Head was no use as a Head, so they got her made an Inspector to interfere with other Heads. And when they found she wasn't much good even at that, they got her into Parliament where she lived happily ever after."
    -- C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, referring to removal of the Head of a school

    Ed Unions

    "Calling itself an education association is like calling the United Auto Workers union a driving association."
    -- Columnist Patrick Chisholm, referring to NEA, Christian Science Monitor, August 24, 2005

    "If the United States is to preserve our system of free public schools, teacher unions are going to have to stop accepting the status quo and making excuses for the poor performance of our students."
    -- Morty Rosenfeld, member of the NEA New York board of directors, in his article, Telling What We Know.

    "We must face the fact that some of the right-wing critique of public education, particularly their criticism of the ever inflating costs of public education, resonates with the American public because it is true, or at least truer than some of the blather put out by the people who run the schools and the unions who represent the people who work in them."
    -- Morty Rosenfeld, member of the NEA New York board of directors, in his article, Telling What We Know.

    "Kids learning …..is secondary to the other goals."
    -- National Education Association bulletin, 1981

    "Creating our future together through collective thinking and conversation."
    -- slogan adopted by the National Education Association's "NEA Tomorrow" campaign

    "My view is that 'collective thinking' is an oxymoron, and that conversation in the midst of it is pointless, but can there be any doubt that NEA prizes collective thinking above all other things? Congratulations, NEA, for creating a slogan that describes your very essence."
    -- Mike Antonucci, Education Intelligence Agency

    "Education is an issue on the front page of most news outlets daily. Yet I search but cannot find anyone reporting the relationship between teacher unions and educational failure. Most agree that 'Johnny can't read' but fail to see that Johnny is wearing a union label on his sweet little empty head. Teacher unions are a monopoly. They engage in illegal political activity and, by their very design, do not act in the students' best interest. The union wants to grow its membership and strength. How does it go about doing this? Hire more teachers to do less so more teachers are needed."
    -- Mickey Jones, Washington Times Weekly, May 27, 2001

    "A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an attempt on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable."
    -- President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1937

    "The teachers union apparently exists in some alternate universe where everyone is rewarded equally regardless of the quality of their work."
    -- Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald columnist, November 16, 2008

    "I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way. ... This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy. ... What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good?"
    -- Steve Jobs, Apple CEO

    Homeschooling

    "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, McGraw-Hill, 1983

    "It is better to tolerate that rare instance of a parent's refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    "To read the Latin and Greek authors in their original is a sublime luxury ... I thank on my knees him [Jefferson's father] who directed my early education for having put into my possession this rich source of delight."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1800

    "I hope our successors will turn their attention to the advantages of education. I mean education on the broad scale, and not that of the petty academies.
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    The Constitution and Schools

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
    -- 10th amendment, part of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution

    "I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That 'all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.' To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power no longer suceptible to any definition."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1791

    "There is no Constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in education in any way whatsoever."
    -- Harry Browne

    "Powers not accorded to Congress by the Constitution are reserved, by the 10th Amendment, to the states and the people. As it happens, the U.S. Constitution mentions neither the word 'education' nor the word 'school'. Doesn't even allude to them."
    -- Andrew J. Coulson

    "Our nation was not built on a foundation of federal, or even state-level, intervention in schooling. It was founded on locally operated independent and semi-public schools that were directly responsible to the families they served."
    -- Andrew J. Coulson

    "Education has never been a national responsibility in our country, and school systems should not be operated by an agency in Washington."
    -- Albert Shanker, late president of the American Federation of Teachers, speaking in 1978 in opposition to the creation of a federal Department of Education

    "Search the Constitution as you will, you will find no authority for Congress to appropriate and spend federal funds on education"
    -- Roger Pilon, Cato Institute

    "If the Framers intended that the 'general welfare' clause have the interpretation placed on it by today's congressmen, they could have spared themselves considerable grief and contentiousness during that hot, humid Philadelphia summer in 1787. They could have simply said: 'Congress shall promote the general welfare.' That would be our Constitution. Forget all that business about separation of powers, prohibitions against Congress interfering with freedom of speech, and assembly and religion, taking private property and speedy trials. Congress would just promote what a majority of its members saw as the general welfare."
    -- Walter E. Williams, January 7, 2000

    "On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    "[We must] no longer hide behind our love of local control of schools..."
    -- President Bill Clinton, speaking in Northbrook, IL in 1997

    Jefferson on government and education

    "But of all the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, education plan from his Notes on the State of Virginia, 1782

    "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical; even forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1786

    "It [should not] be proposed to take ordinary branches [of education] out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal." -- Thomas Jefferson, sixth annual message to Congress, 1806

    "It is better for the public to procure at the market whatever the market can supply; because there it is by competition kept up in quality, and reduced to its minimum price."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1808

    "If it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by the governor and council, the commissioners of the literary fund, or any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience. Try the principle one step further and amend the bill so as to commit to the governor and council the management of all our farms, our mills, and merchants' stores. No my friend, the way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions he is competent to."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Cabell, February 2, 1816

    "If twelve or fifteen hundred schools are to be placed under one general administration, an attention so divided will amount to a dereliction of them to themselves ... It is surely better, then, to place each school at once under the care of those most interested in its conduct."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1817

School Boards

    "The [school district system] seems impervious to reform from within. In my experience, those who join district boards, even those who start out reform-minded, eerily become co-opted and wind up defending the system tooth and nail. It's just like watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers."
    -- Lisa Graham Keegan, former Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Arizona

    "The traditional school district is one of the biggest obstacles to improving the public schools. Today's district is a rigid command-and-control system that offers dissatisfied parents no choices except, if they don't like the district school, to send their kids to private school or to home-school them."
    -- Lisa Graham Keegan, former Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Arizona

    "...it has continued to amaze me that the concept of customer service doesn't seem to have ever sunk into enterprises like school boards in general."
    -- Scott Hochberg, Texas State Representative

    "In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards."
    -- Mark Twain (1835-1910), "Following the Equator," ch. 61, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar (1897)

    "School boards are an aberration, an anachronism, an educational sinkhole ... Put this dysfunctional arrangement out of its misery."
    -- Chester Finn, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education

    "Contract restrictions are something about which school board members often complain. But, wait. How do these provisions get into the contract? Why, of course. The school boards agree to them. But they don't talk about that."
    -- David W. Kirkpatrick

    "Many conservatives cling nostalgically to the notion of 'local control' of education. ... But local school boards ... provide perhaps the greatest example of the inefficiency and dysfunctions of any government entities in the United States ..."
    -- Clint Bolick, Leviathan: The Growth of Local Government and the Erosion of Civil Liberty, p. 144.

    "If education isn't our mission and if we don't have anything worthwhile to say, then school boards are the managed living dead and we can hardly ask the public to see us as necessary."
    -- a school board member, writing in the American School Boards Journal, October 2001

    "The near-impossibility of true educational reform has been documented in a number of studies ... Now that I'm off the board and able to think more calmly, it is even clearer to me that the system can't be rehabilitated, only replaced."
    -- Howard Good, "Losing It, The Confessions of an Ex-School Board President"

    ""'Nature,' as H. L. Mencken so insightfully put it, 'abhors a moron.' The same obviously cannot be said of school boards who often hire them."
    -- Charles Sykes, 50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School

    Definition of "micromanagement": asking about details that the superintendent wants to keep quiet.

    "In 1930 there were 200,000 school boards in the United States. Today, with twice as many citizens and three times as many students in our public schools, we have only 15,000. Once one of every 500 citizens sat on a school board; today it's one out of nearly 20,000. Once most of us knew a school board member personally; today it's rare to know one."
    -- Deborah Meier, writing in American School Board Journal, September 2003

Values, Character, Drugs

    "Just beneath the veneer of superficial good manners, these [upscale pre-teens] were a group of angry kids, furious I think at the shallow waste of time academic schooling had become, furious at their parents for their dereliction from family life, their historic role as father and mother replaced by an endless string of surrogate parents in the form of private television sets, phones, computers, closets full of games and toys, and private lessons in music, art, dancing, singing and anything imaginable. What made these kids most angry was the way the school and the home had conspired to make their lives insignificant."
    -- John Taylor Gatto, "A Curriculum beyond Money," The LINK, vol. 5, no. 3.

    "To educate a man in mind, and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt

    "For every religious American who wants the schools to push religion, a move that would be clearly unconstitutional, there are probably 10 who have something much more modest in mind: protecting their children from an educational system that promotes values profoundly at odds with their religious convictions"
    -- John Leo, U.S. News, July 5, 1999

    "To suggest for a moment that morality and ethics are not being taught in government-controlled schools is ridiculous.... A definite point-of-view from a definite culture is being imposed.... It is outrageous that values taught in public schools are not the same ones held by Catholic parents, or by non-Catholic Christians and Jewish parents as well."
    -- Archbishop Edward Egan of New York

    "The most urgent need today is not attention to material poverty. The real poverty in our society is intellectual."
    -- James V. Schall, S.J.

    "You can't expect a boy to be vicious till he's been to a good school."
    -- H.H. Munro (Saki) (1870-1916)

    "Every time I pass a jailhouse or a school, I feel sorry for the people inside."
    -- Jimmy Breslin, columnist, New York Post

    "Most of the institutions now run by the state are a kind of jail. People do not choose to go into them and cannot choose to leave. They are there because other people, for reasons of their own, put them there, and they stay until other people, again for their own reasons, decide to let them out. This invites abuse and tyranny. But if the people in communities can leave if they don't like them, those who run them will have to run them to suit their clients, or have no clients."
    -- John Holt, "Escape From Childhood" (1974), p. 216

    "Peer-orientation is an explanation for much that is happening in our society, including why teaching is getting harder, parenting is getting more difficult, aggression among children is increasing, children are less deferring and bullying is increasing. It is a dynamic that touches everyone, whether involved with children or not."
    -- Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D.

    "There has never in the history of the civilized world been a cohort of kids that is so little affected by adult guidance and so attuned to a peer world. We have removed grown-up wisdom and allowed them to drift into a self-constructed, highly relativistic world of friendship and peers."
    -- William Damon, Stanford University Center on Adolescence

    "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."
    -- John Taylor Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year, The Underground History of American Education

    "In other cultures parents cite things like becoming a good spouse and parent, good citizenship, or kindness and sensitivity as their chief goals for their children. What do Americans want for their children? In every study, one stark answer predominates: independence."
    -- Kay S. Hymowitz, Ready or Not: Why Treating Children As Small Adults Endangers Their Future - and Ours, page 16.

    "The anti-cultural fallacy has prevented educators from realizing the simple fact that, rather than motivating children, the appeal to excitement and creativity distracts and overstimulates them."
    -- Kay S. Hymowitz, Ready or Not: Why Treating Children As Small Adults Endangers Their Future - and Ours, page 93.

    "Educators find that an increasing number of children fail to notice other people in the most ordinary encounters. 'Kids will walk right in front of you while you're talking to someone,' one principal of a New York suburban middle school told me. 'That's not new. What is new is that when you point it out to them, they don't know what you're talking about.'"
    -- Kay S. Hymowitz, Ready or Not: Why Treating Children As Small Adults Endangers Their Future - and Ours, page 220.

    "Religion, morality and knowledge being essential to good government, schools shall be established in the Northwest Territories."
    -- The Northwest Ordinance (Artcle 3), 1787

    "To compel a man to furnish contributions for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves or abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    "In schools the principles of morality should be intermingled with the principles of science"
    -- Horace Mann

    As regards moral courage, then, it is not so much that the public schools support it feebly, as that they suppress it firmly.
    -- G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), What's Wrong With the World, p.160

    "To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt

    From The Simpsons:

    Principal Skinner: [Over PA system] Attention. All honor students will be rewarded with a trip to an archeological dig!
    (Martin, Sherri, and Terri cheer, Sherri and Terri high-five)
    Principal Skinner: Conversely, all detention students will be punished with a trip to an archeological dig.
    Bart, Milhouse, and Nelson: ... Oh, no! Not tomorrow! ... Oh, crud ...

    "Drug Education"

    "At best, the program is not effective. At worst, it promotes drug use. ... If we finance the program, we're doing a disservice to our kids."
    -- John Noverini, Kane County (IL) board member, explaining why the board refused to fund DARE

    "[DARE shows] little evidence...of any extended impact"
    -- National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse

    "Over the past 14 years, there have been more than a dozen studies showing DARE does not work for drug prevention."
    -- Detroit News, February 29, 2000

    "A National Academy of Sciences study showed DARE did not affect children's drug use or attitude about drugs, nor did it instill resistance to peer pressure or boost self-esteem."
    -- Houston Chronicle, June 5, 2001

    "This isn't about sentimentality ... It's not about making us feel good. It's not about asking our kids what makes them feel good after they graduate from DARE. It's about science. It's about results. DARE is clearly not the answer and we need to face up to it."
    -- Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson

    "The question is, can we overcome the rhetoric to see what the evidence is telling us? ... "In study after study, we find programs like these don't work. DARE has been involved in a massive expansion regardless of whether the science bears the expansion worthy."
    -- Joel Brown, executive director of the Center for Education Research and Development

    "DARE relies on the old 'values clarification' approach (trendy in the '70s, but now generally discredited) wherein children are not told what is right or wrong, or permissible or impermissible, but rather they are "helped to prize and act upon their own freely chosen values," in the words of a 1975 educational psychology textbook. Thus DARE does not tell children that they must not use drugs. Instead, DARE tells them that they have the 'right to say no,' implying that they have the 'right to say yes.'
    -- Richard M. Evans, The Boston Globe, September 21, 1994

    "We dropped it [DARE] because there was no formal proof -- no statistics that showed we were getting any benefit out of it"
    -- Clem Benton, spokesman for Seattle Police Department

    "The research overwhelmingly points to the fact that it [DARE] doesn't have any effect on long-term prevention ... Most of the studies demonstrate that it doesn't have any effect. Period. ... I personally think the program is a waste of time"
    -- Bloomfield Hills Superintendent Gary Doyle

    "[DARE is] a feel-good program ... It's good P.R. to get police interacting with the children. But there's no hard data to support its long-term effect on keeping kids off drugs and alcohol."
    -- Larry Semple, a Police Chief in Michigan

    Ritalin

    "Neither animals nor humans can tell the difference between cocaine, amphetamines, or methylphenidate [Ritalin] when they are administered the same way at comparable doses. In short, they produce effects that are nearly identical."
    -- Terrance Woodworth, deputy director of the DEA's office of diversion control, testifying in May 2000 before a Congressional committee

    "We were surprised as hell ... We didn't expect this. Instead of being a less potent transport inhibitor than cocaine, methylphenidate was more potent. ... The data clearly show that the notion that Ritalin is a weak stimulant is completely incorrect."
    -- Nora Volkow, MD, psychiatrist and imaging expert at Brookhaven National Laboratory

    "Why is 80 percent of the world's methylphenidate being fed to children?"
    -- Dr. William B. Carey, director of behavioral pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, testifying before a House panel

    "Because people with low levels of dopamine receptors are at risk for drug addiction, Volkow said that researchers need to understand if methylphenidate [Ritalin] can alter the whole dynamic of the dopamine pathway. 'Could chronic use of Ritalin make you more vulnerable to decreased dopamine brain activity as cocaine does? It's a key question nobody has answered.'"
    -- Brian Vastag, Pay Attention: Ritalin Acts Much Like Cocaine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 286 No. 8, August 22/29, 2001

    "Education today is mixing drugs with student control. In years past, if a child was acting up or caught staring out the window, he or she received a rap on the knuckles with a ruler and was told to stay with the rest of the class. Today, the child is sent to the school nurse, who oftentimes tells the parents the student has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and recommends the administration of Prozac (94% sodium fluroide) or Ritalin, psychotropic drugs that have been shown to produce psychosis in lab rats."
    -- Jim Marrs

    "The first long-term effort to track stimulant therapy in a large population of children has generated disturbing results. In particular, ... most 9-to-16-year-olds receiving Ritalin or other stimulants don't exhibit attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the only condition for which such drugs are approved. ... more than half of all stimulant users in the study fell short of even a relaxed definition of ADHD.
    -- B. Bower, Study Of Stimulant Therapy Raises Concerns, Science News, July 29, 2000; Vol. 158, No. 5

    "Yes, they have proved and we've known for decades that Ritalin alters/damages/changes the brain. ... All this research [from Volkow at BNL] says to me is that 9 million children diagnosed as having ADHD are being damaged by Ritalin just as with cocaine and every other psychotropic drug."
    -- neurologist Fred Baughman

    "Yes, Ritalin works. It enables our children to survive. It puts an end to the problem of too many questions. It stops us asking what message we give children when we give them drugs. It saves us thinking about why they can't learn, or focusing on creating an environment that makes them healthy and happy. It's our magic pill."
    -- Ellen Tracy, Wonder drug or playground curse?, The Guardian (UK), October 12, 1999

Scheduling of School Day

    Block Scheduling

    "Students in semestered courses in secondary science in British Columbia do not score as well on reliable and valid, standardized science instruments measuring academic performance derived from course objectives. ... The research described above included a very large number of students (over 28,000!!) and the results left absolutely no doubt based on probability of error (one has to go out to the 10th decimal place to find anything but 0's in the probabilities!!) While there may be many advantages to semestered timetables and course structures, ... the academic performance of students appears to suffer. Every other piece of research on this subject that I am aware of is based on testimonials, and not on actual student performance data. Based upon what I found during that study, and from examining the data of subsequent assessments, I cannot academically support a semestered timetable."
    -- David J. Bateson, Ed.D., Univ. of British Columbia, reporting on his study of 28,000 students in a "semestered" schedule in which a year's worth of material is covered in a single semester with double-length periods.

    "Texas Education Agency researchers say they can find no proof that longer class periods -- used in the block scheduling approach in Texas high schools -- have resulted in improved student learning. The findings are contained in a new 54-page study prepared by the TEA's research and evaluation division ... The authors also acknowledged the arguments of critics who complained that block scheduling actually reduces instructional time over the school year -- and that teacher and student concentration is weakened over a 90-minute period."
    -- results of a Texas Education Agency study of block scheduling in Texas high schools

    "What a waste!..I vote no! Block scheduling is great for administrators... not teachers and students."
    -- an English teacher at Apopka High School, Apopka, Florida

    "...why can't (we find) even one well-designed, peer-reviewed, longitudinal study showing that in the long run Block Scheduling actually helps academic performance?"
    -- Jon Brooker, speaking before the Brevard County school board, Viera, Florida

    "One of the most dependable findings from psychology holds up in classroom research: that 'spaced' practice over several lessons... is superior to equal amounts of time spent in 'massed' practice"
    -- H.J. Walberg, "Productive Use of Time"

    "My ... son was placed in a pilot program in 6th grade for block scheduling. Classes met for 90-minute periods 3 days per week... This program has since been discontinued ....it didn't work. In nearly every class, again, the last 20-30 minutes were used for homework. ... The students have a difficult time concentrating on one subject for the full 90 minutes. Most parents I spoke to about this were also dissatisfied with the children's progress. Again, the lack of continuity seemed to be a major problem....especially in math classes, where continuity and daily practice are essential to successfully mastering the material."
    -- a parent in Orland Park, Illinois

    "I teach 7th grade English on an A/B block schedule this year, but our superintendent just announced a change back to 7-period days for next year.
    "I'm finding that it's difficult for my kids to stay on-task for 90 minutes at a time, even when I vary activities several times throughout the period. Many middle schoolers just don't have that attention span. I have some kids who do great for 45 minutes then degenerate into uselessness because they're tired of being in the same place. There's something to be said for getting up and moving to another room every hour or so.
    "I have not seen jumps in grades. This year, more than ever before, my kids are slacking big-time, missing tons of work and just not caring."
    -- a middle school English teacher

    "The school that I teach at participates in a Math Rally every spring. For the past seven years ALL the schools that use block scheduling finish at the bottom, by rather sizable margins, no less. Since the beginning of the competition, no block schedule school has ever won or taken second.
    -- a math teacher

    Length of School Day

    "There's no hard research we've been able to find over the years that more or less time in school is any more effective"
    -- Jamie Ferrare, dean, School of Education, Drake University

    "It's not so much the time that's important, but what you do with that time. For how much of that time will students be actively engaged in meaningful learning? They could just be bored for 30 more minutes."
    -- Barry Wilson, associate professor of educational psychology, University of Northern Iowa

    "A recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll showed that 69 percent of Iowans were strongly or somewhat opposed to lengthening the school day."
    -- Des Moines Register

    "One of the most comprehensive studies on use of time in schools was by the National Education Commission on Time and Leaning, which issued the report "Prisoners of Time" in 1994. It found several problems with school time, including the proliferation of nonacademic activities, such as education about personal safety, consumer affairs, AIDS, conservation and energy and the demands of athletics and clubs."
    -- Des Moines Register, May 30, 1999

Reading

    "Our system fails to teach children many fundamental skills like reading, and then inappropriately identifies some of them as learning disabled."
    -- Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education

    "A new study by the National Research Council shows ... nearly one in eight students are now labelled as 'disabled.'"
    -- School Reform News, April 2002

    "If my school district is wasting about $7 million per year because classroom teachers do not know how or do not like to teach kids how to read with methods and programs that we know work from the get-go, how much do you think is being wasted worldwide?"
    -- Lisa Leppin, "High cost of poor reading instruction", July 6, 2000

    "Widespread uses of Direct Instruction would directly benefit children and parents [and] decrease the need for remedial reading programs in the state. Potential cost savings [could] yield savings of [as much as] $107 million."
    -- Mark Schug, Richard Western and Sara Tarver, "Direct Instruction and The Teaching of Early Reading". Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI), March 2001 (Vol.14 No.2) (available as a PDF document)

    "Accuracy is not an essential goal of reading."
    -- Ken Goodman, guru of whole-language

    Literature

    "Children who know only superheroes will find real heroes boring or incomprehensible, and when they come to maturity, if they ever do, it will be without the formerly natural habit of wishing to emulate their heroes. How do you emulate Harry Potter?"
    -- James Bowman

    "In other ages the attention of children was held by Homer and Virgil, among others, but by the reverse evolutionary process, that is no longer possible; our children are too stupid now to enter the past imaginatively."
    -- Flannery O'Connor, 1963

    "An extraterrestrial being, newly arrived on Earth -- scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the comics, and many books -- might easily conclude that we are intent on teaching them murder, rape, cruelty, superstition, credulity, and consumerism. We keep at it and through constant repetition many of them finally get it. What kind of society could we create if, instead, we drummed into them science and a sense of hope?"
    -- Carl Sagan, The Demon Haunted World

Social Studies

    HISTORY

    "We are raising a generation of young Americans who are by-and-large historically illiterate. And it's not their fault."
    -- David McCullogh, historian

    "We have to get across the idea that we have to know who we were if we're to know who we are and where we're headed."
    -- David McCullogh, historian

    "But most [history textbooks], it appears to me, have been published in order to kill any interest that anyone might have in history. I think that students would be better served by cutting out all the pages, clipping up all the page numbers, mixing them all up and then asking students to put the pages back together in the right order. The textbooks are dreary, they're done by committee, they're often hilariously politically correct and they're not doing any good."
    -- David McCullogh, historian

    "We're raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate. ... I know how much these young people -- even at the most esteemed institutions of higher learning -- don't know. It's shocking."
    -- David McCullogh, historian

    "The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history."
    -- George Orwell

    "A generation which ignores history has no past and no future."
    -- Robert A. Heinlein

    "Live both in the future and the past. Who does not live in the past does not live in the future."
    -- Lord Acton

    "When else in history would you find 'educated' people who know more about sports than about the history of their country..."
    -- Wendell Berry

    "The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false." -- Paul Johnson, British historian (from The Quotable Paul Johnson: A Topical Compilation of His Wit, Wisdom and Satire, edited by George J. Marlin)

    "To know nothing of what happened before you were born is to remain ever a child"
    -- Cicero

    "Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again." -- Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History, p. 101.

    "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."
    -- L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between

    "My own in-house youth consultant, my son, is almost 13 and knows with astonishing details the genealogy of Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings or the battles of Luke Skywalker's rebellion against the Empire in Star Wars. Yet, he did not know until recently that Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin. He knows because I told him. 'They don't teach us much history in school, Dad,' he said."
    -- Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune columnist, May 15, 2002

    "A history of only horrors cannot inspire."
    -- John McWhorter, University of California at Berkeley, "Toward a Usable Black History," summer 2001, City Journal

    "The West was not settled by men and women who had taken courses in 'How to be a pioneer.'"
    -- Arthur Bestor, Educational Wastelands

    "How can a citizen be called educated if he has been trained to misunderstand the world?"
    -- Robert Conquest

    "We must not lose touch with what we were, with what we had been, nor must we allow the well of our history to dry up, for a child without tradition is a child crippled before the world. Tradition can also be an anchor of stability and a shield to guard one from irresponsibility and hasty decision."
    -- Louis L'Amour, To the Far Blue Mountains

    "To look to the future we must first look back upon the past. That is where the seeds of the future were planted."
    -- Albert Einstein

    "...The presently taught curriculum in the social sciences in the early grades is a disservice to the students and a shame for the educational system ... Children of this age are sufficiently surrounded by the realities of their lives. ... What children of this age need is rich food for their imagination, or a sense of history, how the present situation came about. ... What formed the culture of the past, such as myths, is of interest and value to them, because these myths reflect how people tried to make sense of the world."
    -- Bruno Bettelheim, professor of education at the University of Chicago

    "For most Americans, all history is ancient history and the best thing about the past is that it's over."
    -- Raymond Seitz, former U.S. Ambassador to Britain

    "[The elementary social studies curriculum] "expresses a contempt for children's intelligence. ... Much more is to be gained by teaching disciplined historical thinking than by having [students] engage, while conceptually unprepared, the crucial issues that beset our society at the present."
    -- Dr. Kieran Egan, recipient of the Gravemeyer Award for research into early childhood education

    "There is a greater lesson to be learned from the 50-year-old social studies experiment. Using economic and social conditions of the 1930s as justification, proponents of social studies created an 'integrated' curriculum that robbed several generations of a solid education in history."
    -- Lil Tuttle, "Social Studies: the 'Integrated' Curriculum That Failed"

    "[Students] are aware that someone oppressed someone else, but they aren't sure exactly what took place and they have no idea of the order in which it happened."
    -- Alan Heimert, professor, Harvard University

    "The farther back you can look, the farther forward you can see."
    -- Winston Churchill

    "No one can understand history without continually relating the long periods which are constantly mentioned to the period of our own short lives. Five years is a lot. Twenty years is the horizon for most people. Fifty years is antiquity. To understand how the impact of destiny fell upon any generation of men one must first imagine their position and then apply the time-scale of their own lives."
    -- Winston Churchill

    "What can we be certain of from history? That human beings have been wrong innumerable times, by vast amounts, and with catastrophic results. Yet today there are still people who think that anyone who disagrees with them must be either bad or not know what he is talking about."
    -- Thomas Sowell

    "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted; it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians."
    -- George Santayana, The Life of Reason [1905-1906]

    "You cannot survive if you do not know the past."
    -- Oriana Fallaci

    "The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false."
    --Paul Johnson, historian and writer

    "We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish."
    -- F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

    GEOGRAPHY

    "I studied geography in the fifth grade, and I remember that instead of just TELLING us where things were, the teacher insisted that we make relief maps of the United States by mixing flour and water into a paste and smearing it on a shirt cardboard so as to form important geographical features such as the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, Disneyland, etc. ... As a direct result, I grew up, like most Americans, with a poor grasp of geography."
    -- Dave Barry

    "There is something in maps which attracts everybody, even the smallest children. When they are tired of everything else, they will still learn something by means of maps. And this is a good amusement for children ... We might really begin with geography in teaching children."
    -- Immanuel Kant

    "Geography, I think, should be begun with: for the learning of the figure of the globe, the situation and boundaries of the four parts of the world, and that of particular kingdoms and countries, being only an exercise of the eyes and memory, a child with pleasure will learn and retain them; and this is so certain, that I now live in the house with a child whom his mother has so well instructed this way in geography that he knew the limits of the four parts of the world, could readily point, being asked, to any country upon the globe or any county in the map of England, knew all the great rivers, promontories, straits, and bays in the world, and could find the longitude and latitude of any place before he was six years old. These things, that he will thus learn by sight, and have by rote in his memory, are not all, I confess, that he is to learn upon the globes. But yet it is a good step and preparation to it, and will make the remainder much easier, when his judgment is grown ripe enough for it."
    -- John Locke, philosopher, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

    CURRICULUM AND CONTENT

    "The more closely I examined the social studies curriculum, the more my attention was drawn to the curious nature of the early grades, which is virtually content-free. The social studies curriculum for he K-3 grades is organized around the study of the relationships within the home, school, neighborhood, and local community. This curriculum of "me, my family, my school, my community" now dominates the early grades in American public education. It contains no mythology, legends, biographies, hero tales, or great events in the life of this nation or any other. It is tot sociology."
    -- Diane Ravitch, "Tot Sociology: What Happened to History in the Grade Schools?"

    "In the course of my research, I was told by many educators that the present K-3 curriculum was based on years of educational research. No one was able to point to any specific research, but they assumed that it was validated by the developmental studies of Jean Piaget. However, Piagetian theory is about how children learn, not what they are taught. In fact, Piagetian theory permits teachers to teach virtually any content so long as they proceed from the concrete to the abstract."
    -- Diane Ravitch, "Tot Sociology: What Happened to History in the Grade Schools?"

    "Leading scholars in the fields of cognitive psychology, child development, and curriculum theory know of no research justifying the expanding environments approach. In fact, they make repeated references to the 'vacuousness' and the 'sterility' of the content offered to young children in their social studies classes.
    -- Diane Ravitch, "Tot Sociology: What Happened to History in the Grade Schools?"

    "The aim of history is to educate ... the aim of social studies is socialization"
    -- Lil Tuttle, "Social Studies: the 'Integrated' Curriculum That Failed"

    "Our challenge and responsibility are clear. If we would desire good citizenship, love of country, respect for heritage among our young, then we must teach them. And we must do so actively, consistently, and most of all early. It is essential that we provide children with an environment conducive to the learning about, practicing of, and valuing of good citizenship and responsible involvement in national life. Children should be surrounded with reminders of our heritage as a nation and with the symbols of our loyalty. They will learn patriotic reverence best if they see it practiced by adults. They will learn how to be good citizens if they are encouraged and shown how good citizens respond to given situations, if they are provided opportunities to use this knowledge."
    -- Everett McKinley Dirksen, U.S. Senator from Illinois

    "The training of the intellect was meant to produce an intrinsic pleasure and satisfaction, but it also had practical goals of importance to the individual and the entire community, to make the humanistically trained individuals eloquent and wise, to know what is good and to practice virtue, both in private and public life. Such was the understanding of the ancient Greeks and of the Renaissance humanists, but not, I fear of many teachers of the humanities today, who deny the possibility of knowing anything with confidence, of the reality of such concepts as truth and virtue, who seek only gain and pleasure in the modern guise of political power and self-gratification as the ends of education."
    -- Donald Kagan, Sterling professor of classics and history at Yale University, delivering the 34th annual Jefferson Lecture of the National Endowment for the Humanities

    ECONOMICS

    "People who decry the fact that businesses are in business 'just to make money' seldom understand the implications of what they are saying. You make money by doing what other people want, not what you want."
    -- Thomas Sowell

    "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., Is Reality Optional?: And Other Essays

    "Since wealth is the only thing that can cure poverty, you might think that the left would be as obsessed with the creation of wealth as they are with the redistribution of wealth. But you would be wrong."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., Column: The Cure for Poverty? Wealth

    "It is amazing how many of the intelligentsia call it 'greed' to want to keep what you have earned, but not greed to want to take away what somebody else has earned, and let politicians use it to buy votes."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., Controversial Essays

    "Much confusion comes from judging economic policies by the goals they proclaim rather than the incentives they create."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D., Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

Math and Science

Mathematics

    "I recommend you to question all your beliefs, except that two and two make four."
    -- Voltaire (L'homme aux quarante écus)

    "Strange as it sounds, the power of mathematics rests on its evasion of all unnecessary thought and on its wonderful saving of mental operations."
    -- Ernst Mach, physicist

    "A mastered algorithm in the hands of a student is an incomparable tool laying bare the conceptual structure of the mathematical problems that the algorithm solves. With such tools, and with the guidance of good teachers in their use, a student can grasp and integrate in twelve years a body of mathematics that it has taken hundreds of geniuses thousands of years to devise."
    -- David Ross, Ph.D., a mathematician at Kodak Research Labs

    "Piaget's constructivism and Bourbaki's austere rigor have left their marks on our schools. Will such trenchant educational theories ever give way to more serene and better optimized teaching methods, based on a genuine understanding of how the human mind does mathematics?"
    -- Stanislas Dehaene, "The Number Sense: How The Mind Creates Mathematics"

    "Discovery lessons, students writing to learn mathematics, the teaching of so-called general problem-solving concepts, field trips, math lab lessons, alternative assessments, collaborative partner tests, student presentations, and open-ended problems should all be used sparingly. I use some of them, but they have limited value. Pencil-and -paper analytic solutions are the heart of mathematics education."
    -- Michael Stueben, Twenty Years Before the Blackboard

    "These thoughts did not come in any verbal formulation. I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterward."
    -- Albert Einstein
    Dr. Einstein would have done lousy on "performance assessment" tests with that attitude! -- Editor

    "It's been my experience that students in secondary math education ... are generally among the worst students in my class. The background in math of prospective elementary school teachers is even worse, in many cases nonexistent."
    -- John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy

    "The mathematics background that elementary school teachers typically receive is atrocious -- little or none"
    -- Paul Sally Jr., professor in mathematics, University of Chicago

    "Nothing flies more in the face of the last 20 years of research than the assertion that practice is bad. All evidence, from the laboratory and from extensive case studies of professionals, indicates that real competence only comes with extensive practice. ... In denying the critical role of practice one is denying children the very thing they need to achieve real competence."
    -- John R. Anderson, Lynne M. Reder and Herbert A. Simon, Carnegie Mellon University, in Applications and Misapplications of Cognitive Psychology to Mathematics Education

    "...varied and repeated practice leading to rapid recall and automaticity is necessary to higher-order problem-solving skills in both mathematics and the sciences. ... lack of automaticity places limits on the mind's channel capacity for higher-order problem-solving skills. ... only intelligently directed and repeated practice, leading to fast, automatic recall of math facts, and facility in computation and algebraic manipulation can one lead to effective real-world problem solving. ... [These conclusions are based on] reliable facts, figures, and documentation ... not just from isolated lab experiments, but also from large-scale classroom results."
    -- E. D. Hirsch

    "Computational algorithms, the manipulation of expressions, and paper-and-pencil drill must no longer dominate school mathematics."
    -- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics, 1991

    "The NCTM denigrates the idea of practice, which is thoughtful, considered repetition, and confuses it with drill, which is blind, mindless repetition."
    -John Saxon

    "If you have one bucket that contains two gallons and another bucket that contains seven gallons, how many buckets do you have?"
    -- math problem in the movie Idiocracy

    "Numbers rule all things."
    -- Pythagoras

    "There's math. Everything else is debatable."
    — Chris Rock, in an episode of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"

    "Never underestimate the joy people derive from hearing something they already know."
    -- Enrico Fermi (1901-1954)

    "In the new approach, as you know, the important thing is to understand what you're doing rather than to get the right answer."
    -- Tom Lehrer, New Math

    "So you've got thirteen ...
    And you take away seven,
    And that leaves five...
    well, six actually, but the idea is the important thing."
    -- Tom Lehrer, New Math

    "Presumably no one would argue that the conservative view on the sum of 14 and 27 differs from the liberal view."
    -- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, page 257

    "Mathematical discoveries, small or great are never born of spontaneous generation. They always presuppose a soil seeded with preliminary knowledge and well prepared by labour, both conscious and subconscious."
    -- Jules Henri Poincaré, mathematician (1854-1912)

    "To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature... If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in."
    -- Richard Feynman

    "Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe."
    -- Galileo Galilei

    "This notion that one has to 'interest' students in mathematics in order to make them do it has gone much too far, to the point where real mathematics in many cases has just disappeared entirely from the courses. They're just a discussion of what mathematics does and beautiful pictures and imprecise ideas."
    -- Paul Sally Jr., professor in mathematics, University of Chicago

    "Belief is no substitute for arithmetic."
    -- Henry Spencer

    "Newsrooms are full of English majors who acknowledge that they are not good at math, but still rush to make confident pronouncements about a global-warming 'crisis' and the coming of bird flu."
    -- John Stossel

    "My whole experience in math the last few years has been a struggle against the program. Whatever I've achieved, I've achieved in spite of it. Kids do not do better learning math themselves. There's a reason we go to school, which is that there's someone smarter than us with something to teach us."
    -- High school student Jim Munch, relating his battle against his school's constructivist math program

    "It is India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit. But its very simplicity and the great ease which it has lent to computations put our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions; and we shall appreciate the grandeur of the achievement the more when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest men produced by antiquity."
    -- Pierre-Simon de Laplace (1749-1827)

    "Well, the math stuff I was fine with up until 7th grade. But Malia is now a freshman in High School and I’m pretty lost. It’s tough."
    -- Barack Obama, The Tonight Show, 2012

Science

    "Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. ... The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus."
    -- Michael Crichton, author, M.D. Harvard University

    "Consensus science isn't science."
    -- William M. Gray, Ph.D., Colorado State University

    "For we are not to imagine or suppose, but to discover, what nature does or may be made to do."
    -- Sir Francis Bacon

    "One must not assume that an understanding of science is present in those who borrow its language."
    -- Louis Pasteur

    "Biographical history, as taught in our public schools, is still largely a history of boneheads: ridiculous kings and queens, paranoid political leaders, compulsive voyagers, ignorant generals -- the flotsam and jetsam of historical currents. The men who radically altered history, the great scientists and mathematicians, are seldom mentioned, if at all."
    -- Martin Gardner

    "I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. But at the same time, I see much more in the flower [than my artist friend]. I can imagine the cells inside, which also have a beauty. There's beauty not just at the dimension of one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimension. ... There are all kinds of interesting questions that come from a knowledge of science, which only adds to the excitement and mystery and awe of a flower. It only adds, I don't understand how it subtracts."
    -- Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate

    "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."
    -- Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate

    "Mathematics is the door and key to the sciences"
    -- Roger Bacon, 1267

    "If it cannot be expressed in figures, it is not science, it is opinion."
    -- Robert A. Heinlein

    "No human inquiry can be called science unless it pursues its path through mathematical exposition and demonstration."
    -- Leonardo da Vinci

    "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
    -- Charles Darwin

    "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'"
    -- Isaac Asimov

    "All science as it grows toward perfection becomes mathematical in its ideas"
    -- Alfred Whitehead, 1911

    "...every effort is made to inject cultural content into math and science classes in order to appease the demand for 'relevant' content -- no matter how irrelevant such material may be."
    -- Maureen Stout, Ph.D., "The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing Down of America's Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem"

    "Unlike other belief systems, those of science are universal and culture-free. If the history of science were rerun it would take a different course but the conclusions would be the same - DNA would still be the genetic material, hydrogen would still be the most common element in the universe, and stars would still be powered by nuclear fusion."
    -- Lewis Wolpert, Professor of Biology, University College, London

    "I began to wonder some years ago why my children were learning science in such a crazy fashion. ... At a PTA meeting, I protested and was told that this was the new fashion in education. None of the other parents, I was informed, had made any complaint, except the ones who were scientists. This circumstance seemed to me to indicate a problem."
    -- Physicist Douglas R. O. Morrison, writing in Scientific American

    "I once did an analysis of a district science curriculum which, like most American curricula, had a hands-on, formalistic, process orientation and found that students did a hands-on study of seeds in four different grades but were never required to learn about photosynthesis at all."
    -- E. D. Hirsch, The Knowledge Deficit, p. 117

The So-Called "Scientific Method"

    What Real Scientists Actually Do

    "I do not frame hypotheses"
    -- Isaac Newton

    "It has become fashionable in science education to mold K-12 students around an idee fixe of a modern scientist; formulating hypotheses, observing measuring, and discovering through hands-on investigations. What has been left unsaid is that real scientists don't actually spend very much of their day 'observing' and 'measuring.' They read! Reading for understanding of content is the core process skill of science, and there is no substitute for practice at an early age. ...
    -- Dr. Stan Metzenberg, "Reading: The Most Important Science Process Skill"

    "A scientist works largely by intuition. Given enough experience, a scientist examining a problem can leap to an intuition as to what the solution 'should look like.' ... Science is ultimately based on insight, not logic."
    -- Brother Guy Consolmagno, Ph.D., S.J., "Brother Astronomer."

    "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not 'Eureka!', but 'That's funny...'"
    -- Isaac Asimov

    "In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind."
    --Louis Pasteur

    "Research is what I do when I don't know what I'm doing"
    -- Wernher Von Braun

    Prof. Barnhardt: "You have tested this theory?"
    Klaatu: "I find it works well enough to get me from one planet to the next."
    -- dialogue from The Day the Earth Stood Still

    Some quotes from "On Scientific Method", by Percy W. Bridgman, from his "Reflections of a Physicist" (1955):

    • It seems to me that there is a good deal of ballyhoo about scientific method. I venture to think that the people who talk most about it are the people who do least about it. Scientific method is what working scientists do, not what other people or even they themselves may say about it. No working scientist, when he plans an experiment in the laboratory, asks himself whether he is being properly scientific, nor is he interested in whatever method he may be using as method.

    • Scientific method is something talked about by people standing on the outside and wondering how the scientist manages to do it.

    • But ... the working scientist ... is not consciously following any prescribed course of action, but feels complete freedom to utilize any method or device whatever which in the particular situation before him seems likely to yield the correct answer. ... No one standing on the outside can predict what the individual scientist will do or what method he will follow.

    • In short, science is what scientists do, and there are as many scientific methods as there are individual scientists.

    Science Is About Knowing

    Our English word "science" is derived from the Latin word scientia, which means "knowledge". It does not mean "method" or "discovery."
    -- editor

    "Science is the knowledge of consequences, and the dependence of facts upon one another."
    -- Thomas Hobbes

    "Having students formulate and carry out experiments is an important part of their education. That is why schools sponsor science fairs. However, making this the main curriculum is misguided. In doing research, students learn facts at a snail's pace. If they are ever to become scientists, they need to stand on the shoulders of those who came before them."
    -- Sally Levinson

    "There comes a time, starting in middle school or high school, when students must acquire a body of knowledge. How can they do this and still have the hands-on science that everyone is calling for? Hands-on science moves far too slowly for them to acquire a body of knowledge."
    -- Ralph W. Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Michigan State University

         "Many of the popular hands-on kits in current use provide no reading materials for students at all, and this is the fulfillment of the constructivists' dream. For everyone else it is a nightmare. ...
         "A student who has not developed the skill of learning through reading has no professional future in science. Without a foundation in scientific vocabulary and with minimal knowledge of scientific fact, their words bear an accent of ignorance that is impossible to conceal and nearly impossible to remediate. While young people should be encouraged to enter science, they must also be given the education that will permit them to succeed.
         "Hands-on investigative activities ought to be sprinkled into a science program like a 'spice'; they cannot substitute for a 'main dish'. The best 'hands-on' program would be one in which students can get their 'hands on' an informative textbook!"
    -- Dr. Stan Metzenberg, "Reading: The Most Important Science Process Skill"

Computers in Schools

    "'Technology' is what we call whatever didn't exist when we were born."
    -- Alan Kay, legendary computer scientist at Xerox and Apple

    "'Technology' is stuff that doesn't work yet."
    -- Bran Ferren

    "On close examination, kids are doing nothing of real importance on computers, and they'd be much better off doing something else."
    -- Alan Kay

    "Want to get a job using information technology to solve problems?
    Know something about the problems that need to be solved."
    -- Todd Oppenheimer, San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2003

    "A 1996 poll of US teachers found that they ranked computer skills and media technology as more 'essential' than the study of European history, biology, chemistry, and physics; than dealing with social problems such as drugs and family breakdown; than learning practical job skills; and than reading modern American writers such as Steinbeck and Hemmingway or classic ones such as Plato and Shakespeare."
    -The Atlantic Monthly, July 1997

    "Given the high costs and clear hazards, we call for a moratorium on the further introduction of computers in early childhood and elementary education."
    -- from the August 2000 Position Statement of the Alliance for Childhood, an organization of education PhDs, medical doctors, and others, from all political and pedagogical camps, united in their concern about the headlong rush to computerization in elementary schools.

    "Much computer use in schools these days involves computer 'enhanced' instruction -- things like simulations ... There's no evidence that this helps to the degree that promoters promise ... I remain a skeptic because so many claims have been made without questioning."
    -- Larry Cuban, professor, Stanford University, former president of the American Educational Research Association

    "What we are really seeing ... is a conflict between techno-enthusiasts and teachers who are comfortable with the human role they have become used to playing without the machine to interfere."
    -- Larry Cuban, professor, Stanford University, former president of the American Educational Research Association

    "...There is no clear, commanding body of evidence that students' sustained use of multimedia machines, the Internet, word processing, spreadsheets, and other popular applications has any impact on academic achievement."
    -- Larry Cuban, professor, Stanford University, former president of the American Educational Research Association

    "Anyone who tells you computers are more effective than anything else is either dumb or lying."
    -- Larry Cuban, professor, Stanford University, Time, March 2, 1998

    "The biggest problem that students have is that technology often ends up being a distraction. In an information society the smart person will be the one who can shut out all the distractions."
    -- Robin Raskin, founder, FamilyPC magazine, quoted in AP news story, September 10, 2005

    "Our students, twenty years from now, will be using the concepts, tools, and technology, that they will learn fifteen years from now."
    -- Nils J. Nilsson

    "If computers make a difference, it has yet to show up in achievement."
    --Samuel Salva, former executive director, National Association of Elementary School Principals

    "There is absolutely no evidence that the internet or the use of computers in and out of the classroom enhance education in any way -- skills, infamous 'information', maybe -- but not knowledge, not real learning."
    -- James S. Taylor, Chairman, Department of Teacher Education, Hillsdale College

    "Try not to be intimidated by people who claim that children will be left behind or ill prepared for the computer age unless they are exposed to the computer early on. People who say such things are invariably trying to sell you something."
    -- Aaron Falbel

    "There is a consensus that except for a few futuristic demonstration projects, all of this money [spent on computerization] and hardware has had an insignificant effect on educational practice in the nation's schools."
    -- Douglas Noble

    "Today's children are the subjects of a vast and optimistic experiment. It is well financed and enthusiastically supported by major corporations, the public at large, and government officials around the world. If it is successful, our youngsters' minds and lives will be enriched, society will benefit, and education will be permanently changed for the better. But there is no proof -- or even convincing evidence -- that it will work."
    -- Jane M. Healy, "Failure to Connect"

    "[Clinton's] pledge [to wire all schools to the Internet] came despite ambiguous existing research on the effectiveness of such technology in the classroom. There are few hard facts to demonstrate that computers improve student achievement despite the nearly absolute faith that the administration appeared to place in technology.
    "Even some usually pro-technology types, like Apple Computer Co. founder Steven Jobs, have expressed doubts, suggesting that what students need is more classroom focus on basics like writing and mathematics ..." -- Chicago Tribune, June 22, 1999

    "I used to think technology could help education. Now my inevitable conclusion is that no amount of technology will make a dent."
    -- Steve Jobs

    "In the 4th grade, students who used computers at school for social studies every day scored a whopping 47 points lower that students who 'never or hardly ever' used computers at school for social studies. The margin for both 8th and 12th graders was 24 points. The trend was virtually unbroken for all three grade levels: the more frequently you used a computer at school for social studies, the lower you scored."
    -- "Communique" of the Education Intelligence Agency (EIA), May 13, 2002, reporting on the 2002 report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

    "Where did we get this preposterous notion that young children need computers lest they somehow fall behind?"
    -- Dr. Jane M. Healy, Failure to Connect

    "Throughout the country, computer technology is dumbing down the academic experience, corrupting schools' financial integrity, cheating the poor, fooling people about the job skills youngsters need for the future and furthering the illusions of state and federal education policy."
    Todd Oppenheimer, San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2003

    A library is where you go to find facts. The web is more like a garage sale: it's possible you'll find what you want, but only with a lot of digging, searching, and wading through things that smell funny.
    -- editor

    "The key to helping the next generation of American children be bright, literate, intellectually self-sufficient, steeped in the most important areas of knowledge? It all comes down to computers in the classrooms. Get rid of them."
    -- Bob Greene, Chicago Tribune

    "Educational television should be absolutely forbidden. It can only lead to unreasonable disappointment when your child discovers that the letters of the alphabet do not leap up out of books and dance around with royal-blue chickens."
    -- Fran Lebowitz

    "It is appallingly obvious our technology has exceeded our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

    "The web is just a device by which bad ideas travel around the globe at the speed of light."
    -- P. J. O'Rourke, The CEO of the Sofa

    "This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere. Explain again how sheep's bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes."
    -- King Arthur, speaking in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    "Kids are the best ... you can teach them to hate the things you hate, and they practically raise themselves what with the Internet and all."
    -- Homer Simpson

    "If it's in the computer, they believe anything."
    -- Jessica, the young girl, making an airline reservation in Sleepless in Seattle

    PowerPoint

    "Then we learned about bullets -- little black circles in front of phrases that were supposed to summarize things. There was one after another of these little goddamn bullets in our briefing books and on the slides."
    -- Richard Feynman, physicist and Nobel laureate, on the use of dumbed-down presentations during his participation on the board investigating the explosion of the Challenger

    "It is easy to understand how a senior manager might read this PowerPoint slide and not realize that it addresses a life-threatening situation. At many points during its investigation, the Board was surprised to receive similar presentation slides from NASA officials in place of technical reports. The Board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communication at NASA."
    -- [Space Shuttle] Columbia Accident Invetigation Board, August 2003

    "Students in class after class are spending days, to their teachers' great delight, mastering children's versions of PowerPoint, the ubiquitous business presentation product sold by Microsoft. Yet the work the students produce with these products is stunningly superficial."
    -- Todd Oppenheimer, San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2003

    "PowerPoint can make anything look respectable no matter how badly prepared or dull."
    -- Editorial, Times [Australia]

    "Rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials."
    -- Edward R. Tufte, in Wired magazine

    "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true."
    -- Robert Wilensky

    "Especially disturbing is the introduction of the PowerPoint cognitive style into schools. Instead of writing a report using sentences, children learn how to make client pitches and infomercials, which is better than encouraging children to smoke. Elementary school PP exercises (as seen in teacher's guides, and in student work posted on the internet) typically show 10 to 20 words and a piece of clip art on each slide in a presentation consisting of 3 to 6 slides -- a total of perhaps 80 words (15 seconds of silent reading) for a week of work. Rather than being trained as mini-bureaucrats in PP Phluff and foreshortening of thought, students would be better off if the schools simply closed down on those days and everyone went to The Exploratorium. Or wrote an illustrated essay explaining something."
    -- Edward R. Tufte, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint

    "At a minimum, a presentation format should do no harm to the content. Yet again and again we have seen that the PP cognitive style routinely disrupts, dominates and trivializes content."
    -- Edward R. Tufte, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint

    "The Harvard Business Review study of corporate planning found that the widely used bullet outlines did not bring intellectual discipline to planning -- instead the bullets accommodated the generic, superficial, and simplistic."
    -- Edward R. Tufte, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint

    "Presentations largely stand or fall depending on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content. The way to make big improvements in a presentation is to get better content. Designer formats will not salvage weak content. If your numbers are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers. If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won't make them relevant. Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure."
    -- Edward R. Tufte, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint

    "By playing around with Phluff rather than providing information, PowerPoint allows speakers to pretend that they are giving a real talk, and the audiences to pretend that they are listening. This prankish conspiracy against substance and thought should always provoke the question, 'Why are we having this meeting?'"
    -- Edward R. Tufte, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint

    "Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely."
    -- Edward Tufte, Wired Magazine, September 2003

    "Is there anything so deadening to the soul as a PowerPoint presentation?"
    -- John Schwartz, New York Times, September 2003

History of Education

    (Thanks to the Oregon Education Consumers Association for many of these historical quotes.)

    Deweyisms

    "You can't make Socialists out of individualists ... children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone is interdependent."
    -- John Dewey

    "Independent self-reliant people would be a counterproductive anachronism in the collective society of the future where people will be defined by their associations."
    -- John Dewey, 1896

    "I believe that every teacher should realize the dignity of his calling; that he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of proper social order and the securing of the right social growth."
    -- John Dewey, Pedagogic Creed statement of 1897

    "It is one of the great mistakes of education to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of the school work for the first two years."
    -- John Dewey, 1899

    "Dependency denotes a power rather than a weakness. There is always the danger that increased personal independence will decrease the social capacity of an individual."
    -- John Dewey, 1919

    "In making him self-reliant ... it often makes an individual ... develop an illusion of being really able to stand and act alone - an un-named form of insanity which is responsible for a large part of the suffering of the world."
    -- John Dewey, 1919

    "Educational theory ... must contest the notion that morals are something wholly separate from and above science and scientific method."
    -- John Dewey, "Challenge to Liberal Thought"

    "I cannot understand how any realization of the democratic ideal ... is possible without the surrender of the conception of the basic division of good and evil."
    -- John Dewey, 1934

    Early America

    "A native American who cannot read or write is as rare an appearance ... as a comet or an earthquake."
    -- John Adams

    A Hundred Years of Failed School Reforms

    "[Herbert] Spencer is unreadable today ... but his immense prestige in his time [1820-1903], which extended as far as Russia, is a clear proof that complete ignorance of human nature will not necessarily prevent a man from becoming an acknowledged expert upon it."
    -- A. O. J. Cockshut, literary historian, quoted by Kieran Egan in "Getting It Wrong From the Beginning: Our Progressivist Inheritance From Herbert Spencer, John Dewey and Jean Piaget"

    "Too many fads palmed off for educational methods now usurp the place of stunning, knock-down, intelligent facts."
    -- Florida County Superintendents Convention, 1898

    "...our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent overeducation from happening."
    -- William Troy Harris, U.S. Commissioner of Education 1889-1906

    G. Stanley Hall, said this at about the same time. "Reading should no longer be a fetish. Little attention should be paid to reading."
    -- G. Stanley Hall, John Dewey's former professor and close friend

    "Far too many people in America, both in and out of education, look upon the elementary school as a place to learn reading, writing and arithmetic."
    -- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Education Association Yearbook, 1947

    "When we come to the realization that not every child has to read, figure, write and spell ... that many of them either cannot or will not master these chores, then we will be on the way to improving the junior high curriculum."
    -- A.H. Lauchner, National Association of Secondary School Principles, March 1951

    "I doubt whether reams of propaganda pamphlets, endless reiteration that all is well with our schools, or even pressure tactics will again fool the American people into believing that education can safely be left to the 'professional' educators."
    -- Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, "What Can We Do?", page 356 in John A. Dahl, et al, Students, School & Society, 1964

    Schools as means to preserve class structure



    "In our dreams, we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions fade from their minds, and unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors. Editors, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, polititians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple as well as a very beautiful one, to train these people as we find them to a perfectly ideal life just where they are. So we will organize our children and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in a imperfect way, in the homes, in the shops and on the farms."
    -- John D. Rockefeller, "Occasional Letter No. 1", 1904. The text was published under Rockeller's name and was clearly as directed by him, but was most likely written by his assistant, Frederick Taylor Gates.

    Schools as tools for social and political change



    "Whenever a teachers' convention meets and tries to find out how it can cure the ills of society, there is simply one answer; the school has but one way to cure the ills of society and that is by making men intelligent. To make men intelligent, the school has again but one way, and that is, first and last, to teach them to read, write and count. And if the school fails to do that, and tries beyond that to do something for which a school is not adapted, it not only fails in its own function, but it fails in all other attempted functions. Because no school as such can organize industry, or settle the matter of wage and income, can found homes or furnish parents, can establish justice or make a civilized world."
    -- W.E.B. DuBois, address to Georgia State Teachers Convention, 1935

    "We who are engaged in the sacred cause of education are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause."
    -- Horace Mann

    "Shall we, then, thus lightly suffer our children to listen to any chance stories fashioned by any chance teachers and so to take into their minds opinions for the most part contrary to those that we shall think it desirable for them to hold when they are grown up?"
    "By no manner of means will we allow it."
    -- Plato, Republic, 377b

    "We all declare for liberty, but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing."
    -- Abraham Lincoln

    "Education ... has become in most countries at the present day a national concern. The state receives, and often takes, the child from the arms of the mother to hand it over to official agents; the state undertakes to train the heart and to instruct the mind of each generation. Uniformity prevails in the courses of public instruction as in everything else; diversity as well as freedom is disappearing day by day."
    -- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume 2, Fourth Book.

    "The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their commonsense."
    -- G. K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News, September 7, 1929

    "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

    "It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error."
    Robert H. Jackson, justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1950

    "Education for international understanding involves the use of education as a force for conditioning the will of the people."
    -- National Education Association, Education for International Understanding in American Schools, page 33 (1948)

    "Teachers and administrators should come to see themselves as social engineers. They must equip themselves as change agents"
    -- Journal of Progressive Education, May, 1949

    "We are convinced that we stand today at the verge of a great culture. ... but to achieve these things, many drastic changes must be made. A dying laissez-faire must be completely destroyed, and all of us, including the owners, must be subjected to a large degree of social control."
    -- National Education Association, 1951

    "Cardinal Principles of Education"
       1: Health
       2: Command of fundamental processes
       3: Worthy home membership
       4: Vocation
       5: Civics
       6: Worthy use of leisure
       7: Ethical Character
    -- NEA Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Curriculum, 1918

    "Children and youth enrolled in globally oriented programs may find themselves in conflict with the values assumed in the home."
    -- John Goodlad, director of "The Center for Educational Renewal", University of Washington

    "Our schools have become vast factories for the manufacture of robots. We no longer send our young to them primarily to be taught and given the tools of thought, no longer primarily to be informed and acquire knowledge; but to be "socialized" -- which in the current semantic means to be regimented and made to conform. "
    -- Robert Lindner, psychoanalyst in Must You Conform? (1956)

    "We do not need any more preaching about right or wrong. The old 'thou shall nots' simply are not relevant. Values clarification is a method for teachers to change the values of children without getting caught."
    -- Dr. Sidney Simon, creator of the "Values Clarification" curriculum, which sold over 400,000 copies.

    "... our efforts as educators must not be directed to restoring the past order of morality but to participating in creating a new one... when it is shed there will be a new moral order to take its place... a counterculture that will burst through the surface."
    -- Roberta T. Ash, School Review, November, 1971

    "Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our founding fathers, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity ... It's up to you teachers to make all of these sick children well by creating the international children of the future."
    -- Chester M. Pierce, Professor of Education and Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University, from keynote address to the Association for Childhood Education International, Denver, April 1972

    "We will need to recognize that the so-called 'basic skills', which currently represent nearly the total effort in elementary schools, will be taught in [only] one-quarter of the present school day. When this happens - and it's near - the teacher can rise to his true calling. More than a dispenser of information, the teacher will be a conveyor of values, a philosopher. We will be agents of change."
    -- NEA President Catherine Barrett, 1973

    "The NEA's ultimate goal is to tap the legal, political and economic powers of the U.S. Congress. We want leaders and staff with sufficient clout that they may roam the halls of Congress and collect votes to re-order the priorities of the United States of America."
    -- Terry Herndon, NEA Executive Director, 1973

    "What we're into is the total restructuring of society. What is happening in America today ... is not simply a chance situation in the usual winds of change... (it is) a total transformation of society ... You can't get away from it. You can't go into rural areas, you can't go into the churches, you can't go into government or into business and hide ... Schools are no longer in the schooling business, but rather in human resource development ... we have an opportunity to develop the kind of society we want."
    - Shirley McCune, Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory (1989)

    "Our objective is to make schools of the kind we have described as the norm, not the exception, first in the cities and states that are Alliance members, and later elsewhere. Getting there will require more than new policies and different practices. It will require a change in the prevailing culture -- the attitudes, values, norms and accepted ways of doing things -- that defines the environment that determines whether individual schools succeed or fail in the transformation process. We will know that we have succeeded when there are enough transformed schools in any one area, and enough districts designed and managed to support such schools, that their approach to education sets the norms, frames the attitudes and defines the accepted ways of doing things in that part of the world. There is no turning back. ... The question is how to bring about this kind of cultural transformation on the scale we have in mind... and to organize (resources) in such a way that the growth of the new culture is geometric."
    -- National Council on Education and the Economy (NCEE), "The National Alliance for Restructuring Education: Schools and Systems for the 21st Century." (p 33).

    "A general state education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another; and the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government."
    -- John Stuart Mill

    "Public education does not serve the public. It creates the public. And in creating the right kind of public ..."
    -- Richard Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education, 1997

    "Oppression & Education"
    "Classism"
    "Racism"
    "Sexism"
    "Erroneous Beliefs"
    "Jewish Oppression"
    "Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Oppression"
    "Oppression of the Disabled"
    "Leadership in Changing Times"
    "Introduction to Multicultural Education"
    "Black Identity"
    "Social Diversity in Education" (4 courses)
    "Embracing Diversity"
    "Diversity & Change"
    -- actual course listings in the ed school program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, perhaps helping to explain why 59 percent of prospective teachers in Massachusetts flunked a state competency test

    I-1:Peace and International Relations
    I-2: Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts
    I-3: World Court
    I-4: World Hunger
    I-8: Global Environmental Restoration
    I-9: International Consumer Protection
    I-13: Family Planning
    I-19: Housing and Health Care For All
    I-33: Federal Support for Public Welfare
    I-34: Protection Against Age Harassment
    -- some of the entries in the 1996-97 Legislative Agenda of the National Education Association

    "'Parent choice' proceeds from the belief that the purpose of education is to provide individual students with an education. In fact, educating the individual is but a means to the true end of education, which is to create a viable social order to which individuals contribute and by which they are sustained. 'Family choice' is, therefore, basically selfish and anti-social in that it focuses on the 'wants' of a single family rather than the needs of society."
    -- Association of California School Administrators

    "The first educational question will not be 'what knowledge is of the most worth?' but 'what kind of humans beings do we want to produce?"
    -- John Goodlad, director of The Center for Educational Renewal, University of Washington

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

    "If the only motive was to help people who could not afford education, advocates of government involvement would have simply proposed tuition subsidies."
    -- Milton Friedman, economist and 1976 Nobel Laureate

    "The first goal and primary function of the U.S. public school is not to educate good people, but good citizens. It is the function which we call -- in enemy nations -- 'state indoctrination.'"
    -- Jonathan Kozol

    "That the National Education Association advocated federal aid has surprised us at times but no longer. For control -- real control -- over the nation's children is being shifted rapidly to the National Education Association. That organization has about completed the job of cartelizing public school education under its own cartel. It is doing so under an organization known as the National Council for Accreditation of Teachers Education, an agency whose governing council is tightly NEA-controlled. The manner in which the NEA is usurping parental prerogatives by determining the type of education offered is very simple: control the education and hiring of teachers. NEA has no apprehension regarding federal control of public schools as a consequence of federal aid. It has control itself. ... In the NEA scheme of things, it will be a simple matter to extend control over whatever Washington agency handles the funds."
    -- editorial, Chicago Sun-Times, October 1962

    "Schools will become clinics whose purpose is to provide individualized, psycho-social treatment for the student, and teachers must become psycho-social therapists. ... This will include biochemical and psychological mediation of learning, as drugs are introduced experimentally to improve in the learner such qualities as personality, concentration, and memory."
    -- National Education Association, "Education for the '70s," Today's Education, January 1969

    "Dramatic changes in the way we will raise our children in the year 2000 are indicated, particularly in terms of schooling ... When this happens -- and it's near -- the teacher can rise to his true calling. More than a dispenser of information, the teacher will be a conveyor of values, a philosopher ... We will be agents of change."
    -- NEA president Catherine Barrett, Saturday Review of Education, February 10, 1973

    "Teachers who conform to the traditional institutional mode are out of place. They might find fulfillment as tap dance instructors or guards in maximum security prisons or proprietors of reducing salons or agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But they damage teaching, children and themselves by staying in the classroom."
    -- National Education Association, "Schools for the '70s and Beyond: A Call to Action"

    "[The schools reject] the idea of education as the acquisition of knowledge and skills [and instead] regard the fundamental task in education as therapy."
    -- Samuel Hayakawa

    "We are the biggest potential political fighting force in this country, and we are determined to control the direction of American education."
    -- Catherine Baron, president, National Education Association, 1972

    "There is serious thinking among some of the future-oriented child development people that maybe we can't trust the family alone to prepare young children for this kind of world which is emerging."
    -- Dr. Reginald Lourie, former president, Joint Commission on Mental Health of Children

    That erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. 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 and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
    -- H. L. Mencken

    "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."
    -- Abraham Lincoln

    "I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think."
    -- Anne Sullivan

    "Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar school. "
    -- William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Jack Cade, in King Henry VI, pt. 2, act 4, sc. 7

    "Men had better be without education than be educated by their rulers."
    -- Thomas Hodgskin, 1823

    "... everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher."
    -- Luke 6:40

    "The role of the schoolmaster is to collect little plastic lumps of human dough from private households and shape them on the social kneadingboard."
    -- Edward Ross"

    "Make me the master of education, and I will undertake to change the world."
    --Baron Gottfried von Liebnitz

    "Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property . . . He must be taught to amass wealth, but it must be only to increase his power of contributing to the wants and demands of the state ... [Education] can be done effectually only by the interference and aid of the Legislature."
    -- Benjamin Rush

    "The first duty of a State is to see that every child born therein shall be well housed, clothed, fed, and educated, till it attain years of discretion. But in order to the effecting this the Government must have an authority over the people of which we now do not so much as dream."
    -- John Ruskin

    "The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life."
    -- Plato

    "It is the universal custom and practice of monarchial and arbitrary governments to train up their subjects as much in ignorance as they can ... and to teach them to reverence and worship great men in office and to take for truth whatever they say."
    -- William Manning, The Key of Liberty, 1799

    "The nation alone has the right to educate children."
    -- Maximilien Robespierre

    "Just as the purpose of education in monarchies is to enoble men's hearts, so its purpose in despotic states is to debase them. In despotic states education must be servile. Even those holding power benefit from such an education, for no one can be a tyrant without at the same time being a slave...Absolute obedience presupposes ignorance in the person who obeys; ignorance is presupposed as well in the person who commands. For he need not deliberate, doubt, or reason; he has only to will...Thus education is in one sense nonexistent. Everything previously known must be wiped out, so that something may be taught. It is necessary first to make a man into a bad subject in order to create a good slave."
    -- Montesquieu, Spirit of the laws, 1748

    "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

    "Men had better be without education than be educated by their rulers."
    -- Thomas Hodgskin, 1823

    "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 tax supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state."
    -- Isabel Paterson

    "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

    "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted."
    -- Vladimir Lenin

    "Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property."
    -- Benjamin Rush (1786, in proposing a plan for education in Pennsylvania)

    "First and foremost, we're running a public system at taxpayer's expense for the public good and only secondarily for the good of parents and individuals."
    -- Bella Rosenberg, American Federation of Teachers (quoted by David W. Kirkpatrick)

    "The sovereignty fetish is still so strong in the public mind, that there would appear to be little chance of winning popular assent to American membership in anything approaching a super-state organization. Much will depend on the kind of approach which is used in further popular education."
    -- Council on Foreign Relations

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."
    -- Friedrich Nietzsche

    "Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed."
    "Education is a weapon, the effect of which is determined by the hands which wield it, and by who is to be struck down."
    -- Joseph Stalin, 1934 (alternate translations)

    "In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society."
    -- Antonio Gramsci

    "At every hour of every day, I can tell you on which page of which book each schoolchild in Italy is studying."
    -- Benito Mussolini

    "It is the State which educates its citizens in civic virtue, gives them a consciousness of their mission and welds them into unity."
    -- Benito Mussolini

    "Teachers are directed to instruct their pupils ... and to awaken in them a sense of their responsibility toward the community of the nation."
    -- Bernhard Rust, Nazi Minister of Education, "Racial Instruction and the National Community," 1935

    "I will have no intellectual training. Knowledge is ruin for my young men."
    -- Adolf Hitler, quoted by John Gunther, "The Nation"

    "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."
    -- Adolph Hitler

    "When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already. ... In a short time they will know nothing but this new community.'"
    -- Adolph Hitler

    "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

    "There are many things the government can't do, many good purposes it must renounce. It must leave them to the enterprise of others. It cannot feed the people. It cannot enrich the people. It cannot teach the people."
    -- Lord Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834-1902)

    "Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being."
    -- Lord Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834-1902)

    "Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom."
    -- John Adams, Defense of the Constitutions, 1787

    "It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives."
    -- John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756

Making a Difference

    "If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing the ground."
    -- Frederick Douglass

    "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
    -- Winston Churchill

    "If you're going through hell, keep going."
    -- Winston Churchill

    "The reward for conformity is everyone likes you but yourself."
    -- Rita Mae Brown

    "The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow."
    -- Jim Hightower

    "To me consensus seems to be: the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner 'I stand for consensus'?"
    -- Margaret Thatcher

    "The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel."
    -- H. L. Mencken, "Melancholy Reflections", Chicago Tribune, May 23, 1926

    "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
    -- George Orwell

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything"
    -- unknown (see link)

    "The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
    -- Plato

    "Indecision is the key to flexibility." -- unknown origin

    "I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean."
    -- G. K. Chesterton

    "It is quite an error to suppose the absence of convictions gives the mind freedom and agility. A man who believes something is ready and witty, because he has all his weapons about him."
    -- G. K. Chesterton

    "Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions."
    -- G. K. Chesterton

    "I'd like to keep an open mind, but not so much that my brain falls out."
    -- Dr. Frank Drake, astronomer and astrophysicist

    "Too many people consider themselves open-minded when they're really just empty-headed."
    -- Alfred E. Neuman, Mad, April 2006

    "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
    -- Desmond Tutu

    "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
    -- Edith Wharton

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    "This country can't continue to be the land of the free, unless it's also the home of the brave."
    -- David Horowitz

    "Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform."
    -- Susan B. Anthony

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
    -- Gandhi

    "Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized.
    In the first, it is ridiculed.
    In the second, it is opposed.
    In the third, it is regarded as self-evident."
    -- Arthur Schopenhauer, 19th century German philosopher

    "New ideas pass through three periods: (1) It can't be done. (2) It probably can be done, but it's not worth doing. (3) I knew it was a good idea all along!"
    -- Arthur C. Clarke

    "If one person does it then they think he's really sick ...
    If three people do it ... they may think it's an organization ...
    Can you imagine 50 people a day ... they may think it's a movement ..."
    -- Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant

    "It is amazing how many people think that the government's role is to give them what they want by overriding what other people want."
    -- Thomas Sowell, Ph.D.

    "Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience."
    -- Admiral Hyman Rickover

    "Yes, leadership is about vision. But leadership is equally about creating a climate where the truth is heard and the brutal facts confronted."
    -- Jim Collins, Good to Great

    "When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?"
    -- John Maynard Keynes

    "Action is the antidote to despair."
    -- Joan Baez

    "Don't wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel. Stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself."
    -- Sara Henderson

    "Every revolution was once a thought in one man's mind."
    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
    -- Upton Sinclair

    "There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new..."
    -- Niccolo Macchiavelli, The Prince

    "Broad-minded is just another way of saying a fellow's too lazy to form an opinion."
    -- Will Rogers

    "I wish that I may never think the smiles of the great and powerful a sufficient inducement to turn aside from the straight path of honesty and the convictions of my own mind."
    -- David Ricardo

    "Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it."
    -- Mark Twain

    "We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish."
    -- F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, 1972

    "A stand can be made against the invasion of an army; no stand can be made against the invasion of an idea."
    -- Victor Hugo

    "Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come."
    -- Victor Hugo

    "I've often wondered about the shyness of some of us in the west about standing for these ideals that have done so much to ease the plight of man and the hardships of our imperfect world."
    -- Ronald Reagan

    "No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt

    "New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common."
    -- John Locke

    "That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable."
    -- Milton Friedman, preface, Capitalism and Freedom, 1982 "Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations ... can never effect a reform."
    -- Susan B. Anthony

    "To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle."
    -- Confucius

    "Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide."
    -- Andrew Johnson

    "Support the strong, give courage to the timid, remind the indifferent and warn the opposed."
    -- Whitney M. Young

    "Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders."
    -- Tom Peters

    "We've got the right to choose and
    There ain't no way we'll lose it ...
    If that's your best, your best won't do
    we're right, we're free, we'll fight, you'll see...
    We're not gonna take it anymore."
    -- Twisted Sister, We're Not Gonna Take It Anymore

    "Goliath lost"
    -- unknown

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