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13 Education Quotes To Really Get You Thinking

Recent comments from Oklahoma Rep. Mike Reynolds stating, “It is not our (the government’s) job to see that anyone gets an education,” has caused backlash from many of his constituents and some of you at our social media pages. That got us thinking — what are some other notable education quotes that authors, politicians, and famous figures, have said? We’ve searched back through time and picked out some of our favorites below, adding some brief commentary along the way. Which ones do you agree with, and which did we leave off? Share your comments with us!

Charles Barkley on education

1. “I am sure my fellow scientists will agree with me if I say that whatever we were able to achieve in our later years had its origin in the experiences of our youth and in the hopes and wishes which were formed before and during our time as students.”

–Felix Bloch, Swiss physicist

Agreed. Thousands of crappy stories that I handed to my parents when I was six years old seeking their approval can’t be wrong. My occupation today ties in directly with what I did then. If you’re having trouble finding your passion, then maybe you should go back to the basics. Ask yourself what you enjoyed when you were little and then see how that can be applied to the real world.

2. “Every educated person is a future enemy.”

–Martin Bormann, Nazi official

Martin Bormann Nazi

Disagreed. (Kind of.) Unfortunately, there are people like Bormann in the world, even today, who view an education as a hindrance to world domination or at the very least getting their way by taking advantage of others. It shouldn’t be that way (hence why this is marked “disagreed”), but as long as Martin Bormanns exist, there will be a certain amount of truth in it.

3. “When a subject becomes totally obsolete, we make it a required course.”

–Peter Drucker, Austrian business man and author

Agreed. Working with websites and IT professionals, it’s absolutely shocking how many you’ll find who bootstrapped their education without the assistance of a professor. That’s because the tech boom moved faster than formalized education could keep up with, and as a result, some folks were able to just learn it and become worthy professionals with no letters after their names. While it’s not true in every case, many colleges have started to slip in their ability to keep up with the modern world.

4. “I learned more stuff in church than I did in the world.”

–Al Green, singer

Al Green

On the fence. Religion has been more than a belief in a higher power for a number of years. The reverence with which followers hold the Bible, the Qu’ran, and other ancient texts has made them more susceptible to learning in that environment than they have been in a school, and in that regard, we can see where Mr. Green was coming from when he said this. Nevertheless, we live in the world, and so to always be growing and to effectively communicate with others, the mind should be open to at least hearing ideas.

5. “Poor people cannot rely on the government to come to help you in times of need. You have to get your education. Then nobody can control your destiny.”

–Charles Barkley, former NBA basketball player

Agreed. This one speaks for itself.

6. “Some people will never learn anything … because they understand everything too soon.”

–Alexander Pope, poet

Alexander Pope

Agreed. Often our unwillingness to admit when we don’t know something holds us back from understanding anything.

7. “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”

–Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse

Agreed. Who wouldn’t rather be entertaining than an absolute bore?

8. “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, government official in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson

John W. Gardner

Agreed. So much of this “teaching to the test” mentality — better tread carefully here, we are 4tests.com — forces a student to learn a rigid set of principles when education is actually a dynamic experience. To get ahead, students must be taught how to learn rather than what to learn.

9. “The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn.”

–Alvin Toffler, writer

Agreed. Reading skills for some may still be abysmal, but even the weakest thinkers will be able to read. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to be a functional member of society anymore. As competition mounts, knowing how to learn is what will separate the successful from the unsuccessful. 

10. “It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.”

–Robert Green Ingersoll, Civil War veteran and American politician

Robert Green Ingersoll

Agreed. The world is too fast-paced. Being able to see beyond the textbook and the classroom will only become more vital.

11. “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

–Oscar Wilde, Irish writer and poet

Disagreed. There’s a lot of wisdom in this quote (and some truth), but the reality is that during your time in school, you will learn something that someone taught you how to do, and it’ll be beneficial in life.

12. “I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves — you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I’d written a thousand stories.”

–Ray Bradbury, American writer

Ray Bradbury on education

Agreed. If one truly has the drive to succeed, then he or she need only be determined and willing to learn from their failures. However, schools do much in teaching individuals how to think for themselves, and frankly, Bradbury’s way is a more difficult path than actually using the tools and resources public and private education provides.

13. “We’re going to have the best educated American people in the world.”

–Dan Quayle, former Vice President of the United States

Oh, Dan.

Which of these education quotes did you agree / disagree with? (Special thanks to Quoto for assistance on the quotes!) Share your thoughts below.

[Pictured at top: Charles Barkley. All images in this article were used by license from Wikipedia Commons]

Written by

's work appears regularly here at 4tests.com and across the web for sites, such as The Inquisitr and Life'd. A former high school teacher, his passion for education has only intensified since leaving the classroom. At 4tests, he hopes to continue passing along words of encouragement and study tips to ensure you leave school ready to face an ever-changing world.

Website: http://aricmitchell.blogspot.com/

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One Response

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