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quotations about education

Education quote

Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

Without a gentle contempt for education, no gentleman's education is complete.

G. K. CHESTERTON, The Common Man

The test of education, apart from the accomplishments that secure places in an artificial system, should be this: Let the man be thrown naked on an unknown shore, and be forced to win his way amidst a new people. It may then be of little use to play cricket or to mishandle Tschaikowsky on a piano, but good physique, intelligence, and will power make their way infallibly.

ARTHUR LYNCH, Moods of Life

A genuine love of learning is one of the two delinquencies which cause blindness and lead a young man to ruin.

TOM STOPPARD, The Invention of Love

The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.

PLATO, The Republic

'Tis education forms the common mind,
Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.


Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.


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


Personally I am in favour of education but a university is not the place for it.

TOM STOPPARD, The Invention of Love

Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.

ANATOLE FRANCE, The Educator's Book of Quotes

The founding fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with torture called education.

JOHN UPDIKE, The Centaur

Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.


Children should not be coddled in their intellectual training any more than in their physical; and though the studies should be made interesting the interest should arise out of the studies themselves. We have bred a generation that cannot digest anything intellectual but tablets of peptonized food. One sees that in the popular papers with their brevity, still increasing in brevity as far as brevity can increase, and in the capacity for thought of our rulers.

ARTHUR LYNCH, Moods of Life

Education should be the handmaid of citizenship.

CALVIN COOLIDGE, speech, Jul. 4, 1924

Education ... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.

G.M. TREVELYAN, English Social History

Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.

Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.


The countries who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.

BARACK OBAMA, press conference, Mar. 17, 2009

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

H.G. WELLS, The Outline of History

I will point ye out the right path of a virtuous and noble Education; laborious indeed at first ascent, but else so smooth, so green, so full of goodly prospect, and melodious sounds on every side, that the harp of Orpheus was not more charming.

JOHN MILTON, Of Education

The accumulation of facts, even if interesting in themselves, should not constitute the main part of education; these facts, whether they be of classical learning or knick-knacks of history, will be of little use unless the mind has been trained to see them in proper perspective.

ARTHUR LYNCH, Moods of Life

Only the educated are free.

EPICTETUS, Discourses

In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity – it is a pre-requisite.

BARACK OBAMA, Address to Joint Session of Congress, Feb. 24, 2009

The key to fixing education is better teaching, and the key to better teaching is figuring out who can teach and who can't.

JONATHAN ALTER, Newsweek, Jun. 15, 2009

If you had to explain America’s economic success with one word, that word would be “education".... Until now, the results of educational neglect have been gradual — a slow-motion erosion of America’s relative position. But things are about to get much worse, as the economic crisis ... deals a severe blow to education across the board.... We need to wake up and realize that one of the keys to our nation’s historic success is now a wasting asset. Education made America great; neglect of education can reverse the process.

PAUL KRUGMAN, New York Times, Oct. 8, 2009

College mostly makes people like bladders--just good for nothing but t'hold the stuff as is poured into 'em.


We are heirs of the ages because throughout the ages mankind has devised and fashioned new things, and step by step added new conquests to our domain in that incessant contest with nature which means life. But we are decadent heirs if we cannot use the instruments that the ages have put into our hands. The acquisition of these, in the largest scope, is education.

ARTHUR LYNCH, Moods of Life

That's what education should be ... the art of orientation. Educators should devise the simplest and most effective methods of turning minds around. It shouldn't be the art of implanting sight in the organ, but should proceed on the understanding that the organ already has the capacity, but is improperly aligned and isn't facing the right way.

PLATO, The Republic

Every city should make the common school so rich, so large, so ample, so beautiful in its endowments, and so fruitful in its results, that a private school will not be able to live under the drip of it.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: "You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society."

DORIS LESSING, introduction, The Golden Notebook

The education already given to the people creates the necessity of giving them more.


Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it, and by the same token save it from that ruin which except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable. And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.

HANNAH ARENDT, "The Crisis in Education"

The enthusiastic advocate of what is new in educational ideas--as to subjects, methods, curricula, organization, etc.--regards it as highly unfortunate that institutions are not so plastic, so easy to change, as are ideas. The man who is wise in practical affairs, and profound in his reflections upon the truths of history, knows that, on the contrary, this abiding and relatively stable character of the institutional expression of ideas is the fortunate thing about educational, as about other forms of progress. Most fortunate of all are those institutions which change just fast and far enough to conserve the priceless lessons of the past, while unfolding constantly to receive the suggestions of the better time coming.

GEORGE TRUMBULL LADD, preface, Essays on the Higher Education

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul.

JOSEPH ADDISON, The Spectator, Nov. 6, 1711


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