Friday, January 29, 2010

Concentration camp, thy name is "school"

Below are 40 great quotes making fun of coercive "schooling." My daughter, Livy, is a wonder to behold as an unschooled child -- that is, a child free of the concentration camps in which she'd be shackled, tested like meat, and propagandized by authoritarians. These quotes express it well:

1.) "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 (Author)

2.) All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.– Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832

3.) The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school.– George Bernard Shaw

4.) 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

5.) Freedom requires responsibility. That is why most men dread it.– George Bernard Shaw

6.) What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. --George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950

7.) Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.– Beatrix Potter (Author of the Peter Rabbit books), 1866-1943

8.) It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.– Albert Einstein

9.) Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
– Albert Einstein

10.) It is little short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not already completely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry…. I believe that one could even deprive a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness if one could force it with a whip to eat continuously whether it were hungry or not… - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

11.) My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school.– Margaret Mead

12.) We are students of words; we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

13.) "Schools: vast factories for the manufacture of robots." - Robert Lindner (1914-1956)

14.) The schools ain't what they used to be, and never was.– Will Rogers

15.) Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.– P.J. O'Rourke

16.) It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated.- Alec Bourne

17.) Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing–the rest is mere sheep-herding.
- Ezra Loomis Pound (1885-1972) U.S. poet.

18.) 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

19.) Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education. - Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English philosopher, mathematician and writer.

20.) 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

21.) Together we have come to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school.– Ivan Illich, "Deschooling Society"

22.) School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.– Ivan Illich

23.) I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.– Mark Twain

24.) Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.– Mark Twain

25.) "I hated school so intensely. It interfered with my freedom" - Sigrid Undset (Nobel Prize winner)

26.) Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer. - C. C. Colton, Lacon: Reflections, No. 322.

27.) Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.-- Vernon Law, born 1930

28.) Who besides a degraded rabble would voluntarily present itself to be graded and classified like meat? No wonder school is compulsory.– John Taylor Gatto, "The Underground History of American Education"

29.) 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, on one pretext or another.– John Taylor Gatto, "The Underground History of American Education"

30.) School is the first impression children get of organized society. Like most first impressions it is the lasting one. Life is dull and stupid, only Coke provides relief. And other products, too, of course.– John Taylor Gatto, "The Underground History of American Education"

31.) The shocking possibility that dumb people don't exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn't real.– John Taylor Gatto, "The Underground History of American Education"

32.) 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"

33.) "The premise upon which mass compulsion schooling is based is dead wrong. It tries to shoehorn every style, culture, and personality into one ugly boot that fits nobody." - John Taylor Gatto

34.) "I feel ashamed that so many of us cannot imagine a better way to do things than locking children up all day in cells instead of letting them grow up knowing their families, mingling with the world, assuming real obligations, striving to be independent and self-reliant and free." - John Taylor Gatto

35.) School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. - John Taylor Gatto

36.) "You aren't compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child to strangers who process children for a livelihood, ..."_ John Taylor Gatto

37.) If I demanded you give up your television to an anonymous, itinerant repairman who needed work you'd think I was crazy; if I came with a policeman who forced you to pay that repairman even after he broke your set, you would be outraged. Why are you so docile when you give up your child to a government agent called a schoolteacher? -John Taylor Gatto

38.) "All people found guilty of being born are sentenced to 12 years of hard labour without bail" - SoulRiser

39.) "Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mundane educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom, go to the library and educate yourself if you've got any guts." - Frank Zappa

40.) "Grades are a problem. On the most general level, they're an explicit acknowledgment that what you're doing is insufficiently interesting or rewarding for you to do it on your own. Nobody ever gave you a grade for learning how to play, how to ride a bicycle, or how to kiss. One of the best ways to destroy love for any of these activities would be through the use of grades, and the coercion and judgment they represent. Grades are a cudgel to bludgeon the unwilling into doing what they don't want to do, an important instrument in inculcating children into a lifelong subservience to whatever authority happens to be thrust over them." -Derrick Jensen


Sara said...

Great! Thanks for compiling these.

David Elmore said...

Hi Sara. The list was compiled by some other unschoolers I know. Thanks for posting.
BTW, how did you hear about my blog?
Thanks again,

Wendy Priesnitz said...

Great list! Thanks for posting. But I wonder why this type of list of quotes is so heavy on men. There are lots of eloquent women writing about this subject. Ahem. ;-)

David Elmore said...

You know, that's a good question, Wendy. Probably because of the mainstream chauvinism that dominated our culture until 20 or so years ago. I imagine we'll have lots more quotes from women soon. When I run across them, I'll post them. If you know of some, please let me know.
Thanks (oh, how did you find my blog, if you don't mind me asking?)

Lisa Russell said...

Hey David, great list, I found you via Twitter, someone posted this link. If you're using a (free) you can track where your visitors come from easily. Have a great day

David Elmore said...

Thanks, Lisa!

Lisa Russell said...

Yes, your blog is awesome, it's been a very nice read, so thank you.

David Elmore said...

Well, I'm glad you enjoy it because I sure enjoy writing it! :)
Thanks again.