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Speaking of Education


Curriculum Center

Are you always looking for just the right words to inspire a new teacher, thank a retiring teacher, liven up a meeting, set the tone for a speech, or make it through the day? Check out these quick quips from people who know whereof they speak! Included: Fifty inspirational -- and sometimes humorous -- education quotes.


"Education: That which discloses to the wise, and disguises from the foolish, their lack of understanding."
-- Ambrose Bierce

"Education is the instruction of the intellect in the laws of Nature."
-- Thomas Henry Huxley

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."
-- B.F. Skinner

"Education is the period during which you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do not want to know."
-- Gilbert K. Chesterton

"Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate, no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend; abroad, an introduction; in solitude, a solace; and in society, an ornament. It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage."
-- Joseph Addison


"The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives."
-- Robert Maynard Hutchins

"Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it."
-- Sir William Haley

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."
-- Malcolm S. Forbes

"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 know and what you don't."
-- Anatole France

"He who opens a school door, closes a prison."
-- Victor Hugo


"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
-- Derek Bok

"If ever there can be a cause worthy to be upheld by all toil or sacrifice that the human heart can endure, it is the cause of education."
-- Horace Mann

"Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity."
-- Aristotle

"Most Americans do value education as a business asset, but not as the entrance into the joy of intellectual experience or acquaintance with the best that has been said and done in the past. They value it not as an experience, but as a tool."
-- Milton S. Eisenhower

"Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in."
-- Abraham Lincoln


"Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers."
-- Josef Albers

"Teaching is painful, continual and difficult work to be done by kindness, by watching, by warning, by precept, and by praise, but above all, by example."
-- John Ruskin

"One of the beauties of teaching is that there is no limit to one's growth as a teacher, just as there is no knowing beforehand how much your students can learn."
-- Herbert Kohl

"The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards; and curiosity itself can be vivid and wholesome only in proportion as the mind is contented and happy."
-- Anatole France

"Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater."
-- Gail Godwin


"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
-- Albert Einstein

"Neither books nor people have Velcro Sides -- there must be a bonding agent -- someone who attaches child to book."
-- Jim Trelease

"There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can't move, and the kind that just give you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies."
-- Robert Frost

"Great teachers empathize with kids, respect them, and believe that each one has something special that can be built upon."
-- Ann Lieberman

"In a completely rational society, the best of us would aspire to be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and highest responsibility anyone could have."
-- Lee Iacocca


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

"If your plan is for a year, plant rice. If your plan is for a decade, plant trees. If your plan is for a lifetime, educate children."
-- Confucius

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
-- Alvin Toffler

"Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today."
-- Malcolm X

"To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching."
--George Bernard Shaw


"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."
-- Unknown

"A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people."
-- James Madison

"Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends."
-- Benjamin Disraeli

"Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education... no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both."
-- Abraham Flexner

"Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education."
-- John F. Kennedy


"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited."
-- Plutarch

"A teacher who is attempting to teach, without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn, is hammering on a cold iron."
-- Henry Adams

"The secret in education lies in respecting the student."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

"The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do."
-- John Stuart Mill


"There is no crisis to which academics will not respond with a seminar."
--Marvin Bressler "A good education is the next best thing to a pushy mother."
--Charles Schulz

"I read Shakespeare and the Bible, and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education."
-- Tallulah Bankhead

"In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards."
-- Mark Twain

"When a subject becomes totally obsolete, we make it a required course."
-- Peter F. Drucker

"Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep."
-- Albert Camus

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
-- Mark Twain

"School is where you go between when your parents can't take you and industry can't take you."
-- John Updike

"You can lead a boy to college, but you cannot make him to think."
-- Elbert Hubbard

"No one wants a good education. Everyone wants a good degree."
-- Lee Rudolph