For those who remain unconvinced as to the extent of the education problem (and for those who do not), here are some thoughts from some of the greatest people who ever lived:

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

    ~Winston Churchill

  • In retrospect these years form not only the least agreeable, but the only barren and unhappy period of my life. I was happy as a child with my toys in my nursery. I have been happier every year since I became a man. But this interlude of school makes a sombre grey patch upon the chart of my journey. It was an unending spell of worries that did not then seem petty, of toil uncheered by fruitation; a time of discomfort, restriction and purposeless monotony. 

    ~Winston Churchill

  • I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like being taught. 

    ~Winston Churchill

  • It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry. 

    ~Albert Einstein

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

    ~Albert Einstein

  • I have never let schooling interfere with my education. 

    ~Mark Twain

  • I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas. 

    ~Agatha Christie

  • The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school. 

    ~George Bernard Shaw

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

    ~George Bernard Shaw

  • Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education. 

    ~Bertrand Russell

  • What's the difference between a bright, inquisitive five-year-old, and a dull, stupid nineteen-year-old? Fourteen years of the British educational system. 

    ~Bertrand Russell

  • It is because modern education is so seldom inspired by a great hope that it so seldom achieves great results. The wish to preserve the past, rather than the hope of creating the future, dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young. 

    ~Bertrand Russell

  • Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college. 

    ~Lillian Smith

  • Growth and mastery come only to those who vigorously self-direct. Initiating, creating, doing, reflecting, freely associating, enjoying privacy - these are precisely what the structures of schooling are set up to prevent. 

    ~John Taylor Gatto

  • Education with inert ideas is not only useless, it is above all things harmful. 

    ~Alfred North Whitehead

  • Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction. 

    ~Anne Sullivan, tutor to Helen Keller

  • Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality. 

    ~Beatrix Potter

  • ...the earlier you institutionalize your child, the earlier he will institutionalize you! 

    ~ Raymond S. Moore Ph.D

  • You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help him find it within himself. 


  • I'm sure the reason such young nitwits are produced in our schools is because they have no contact with anything of any use in everyday life. 

    ~Petronius (d. circa 66 AD) The Satyricon

  • No man who worships education has got the best out of education... Without a gentle contempt for education no man's education is complete. 

    ~G. K. Chesterton

  • The founding fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called education. School is where you go between when your parents can't take you and industry can't take you. 

    ~John Updike

  • School-days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, brutal violations of common sense amd common decency. It doesn't take a reasonably bright boy long to discover that most of what is rammed into him is nonsense, and that no one really cares very much whether he learns it or not. 

    ~H. L. Mencken

  • Schooling, instead of encouraging the asking of questions, too often discourages it. 

    ~Madeleine L'Engle

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

    ~Seymour Papert

  • Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. 

    ~John W. Gardner, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson