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Sample Quotes

Education Quotes


The following quotations may help you prepare remarks or materials for American Education Week.

"A word as to the education of the heart. We don't believe that this can be imparted through books; it can only be imparted through the loving touch of the teacher."
—César Chávez

"Real education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students. What better books can there be than the book of humanity?"
—César Chávez

"The end of all education should surely be service to others."
—César Chávez

"The highest result of education is tolerance."
—Helen Keller

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
—William Butler Yeats

"When I was a boy on the Mississippi River there was a proposition in a township there to discontinue public schools because they were too expensive. An old farmer spoke up and said if they stopped building the schools they would not save anything, because every time a school was closed a jail had to be built."
—Mark Twain

"Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another."
—G. K. Chesterton

"A child miseducated is a child lost."
—John F. Kennedy

"[My family] believed in the public school because they believed in a community. They believed the important thing was what was in your head. My grandmother was a schoolteacher. She taught in a one-room country school north of Anoka, Minnesota, and my grandmother had a certain contempt for people who made a great show and were not that bright. My grandmother said, 'Don't be a 10-dollar haircut on a 25-cent head.' You avoided that by going to school and paying attention. You became a worthwhile person and a member of the community."
—Garrison Keillor, radio humorist

"Good schools, like good societies and good families, celebrate and cherish diversity."
—Deborah Meier, educator

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

"Education is the vaccine for violence."
—Edward James Olmos, actor

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
—Benjamin Franklin

"A teacher affects eternity."
—Henry Adams

"Children need all school workers. A person is not 'just' a janitor, not 'just' a custodian. Janitors can see children when [teachers] don't see them, and bus drivers recognize that children who are disruptive on the bus are likely to be disorderly in the classroom. They're partners in education. We need each other to make this work."
—Rev. Jesse Jackson

"The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth."
—Dan Rather

"What greater gift can we offer the republic than to teach and instruct our youth?"
—Cicero

"I like to think that the greatest success of any life is that moment when a teacher touches a child's heart and it is never again the same... Everything America is or ever hopes to be depends upon what happens in our school's classrooms."
—Frosty Troy, editor Oklahoma Observer

"There is a place in America to take a stand: it is public education. It is the underpinning of our cultural and political system. It is the great common ground. Public education after all is the engine that moves us as a society toward a common destiny... It is in public education that the American dream begins to take shape."
—Tom Brokaw

"Education is the transmission of civilization. Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned again by each new generation."
—David Kearns, former chair Xerox Corporation

"Fifty years from now it will not matter what kind of car you drove, what kind of house you lived in, how much you had in your bank account, or what your clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because you were important in the life of a child."
—Anonymous

"Knowledge is power. Rather, knowledge is happiness. To have knowledge, deep broad knowledge, is to know truth from false and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked men's progress, is to feel the heartthrob of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life."
—Helen Keller

"Knowledge is love and light and vision."
—Helen Keller

"Knowledge rests on knowledge; what is new is meaningful because it departs slightly from what was known before."
—Robert Oppenheimer

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
—James Madison

"By viewing the old we learn the new"
—Chinese Proverb

"No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which he took no interest"
—T.S. Eliot

"All your people must learn before you can reach for the stars."
—Star Trek's Capt. James T. Kirk, "Gamesters of Triskelion"

"We grow accustomed to the dark, when light is put away."
—Emily Dickenson

"Excellence is achieved by the mastery of fundamentals."
—Vince Lombardi

"Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement."
—Peter F. Drucker

"Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est." ("Knowledge is power.")
—Francis Bacon, Meditationes Sacrae. De Haeresibus.

"Knowledge and human power are synonymous."
—Francis Bacon

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

"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him."
—Benjamin Franklin

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
—Benjamin Franklin

"Non schola sed vita decimos" (Only the educated are free)
—Epictetus (AD 50-125)

"It's harder to conceal ignorance than to acquire knowledge."
—Arnold Glasgow

"The mind is the man, and knowledge mind; a man is but what he knoweth."
—Francis Bacon

"Charles V said that a man who knew four languages was worth four men; and Alexander the Great so valued learning, that he used to say he was more indebted to Aristotle for giving him knowledge than his father Philip for giving him life."
—Thomas B. Macaulay

"The search for truth is in one way hard and in another way easy, for it is evident that no one can master it fully or miss it wholly. But each adds a little to our knowledge of nature, and from all the facts assembled there arises a certain grandeur.
—Aristotle

All men by nature desire knowledge.
—Aristotle, Metaphysics, bk. 1, ch. 1

"Knowledge is the food of the soul."
—Plato

"Knowledge is the only fountain both of love and the principles of human liberty."
—Daniel Webster

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
—James Madison

"As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information."
—Benjamin Disraeli

"Memory is the cabinet of imagination, the treasury of reason, the registry of conscience, and the council chamber of thought."
—St. Basil

"True expertise is the most potent form of authority."
—Victoria Bond, conductor

"A desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being whose mind is not debauched will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge."
—Samuel Johnson

"To educate a man is to unfit him to be a slave."
—Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), escaped slave, abolitionist, author

"The more the ignorance, the better the slave"
—Edmund Fairfield, President, Hillsdale College, July 4, 1853

"Et nunc, reges, intelligite, erudimini, qui judicati terram:
And now, kings, understand; you who decide the fate of the Earth, educate yourselves"
—Unknown

"Everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough."
—Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate

"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it."
—Margaret Fuller

"The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you."
—B.B. King

"The further I go, the sorrier I am about how little I know: it is this that bothers me the most."
—Claude Monet

"Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness."
—George Santayana

"Each excellent thing, once learned, serves for a measure of all other knowledge."
—Sir Philip Sidney

"Knowledge is power and enthusiasm pulls the switch."
—Steve Droke

"Let knowledge grow from more to more."
—Alfred Tennyson, "In Memoriam", Prologue, line 25

"Knowledge, in truth, is the great sun in the firmament. Life and power are scattered with all its beams."
—Daniel Webster, address on laying the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument

"Knowledge is the only fountain both of the love and the principles of human liberty."
—Daniel Webster, completion of Bunker Hill Monument

"The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance."
—Confucius

"Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement."
—Peter F. Drucker

"All men by nature desire to know."
—Aristotle

"One of the most common reasons so few people are consistently able to achieve meaningful results is that they are unwilling to experience the discomfort associated with relentlessly pursuing a correct perception of reality."
—Stuart Brodie

"Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul."
—Will Durant

"Knowledge is an antidote to fear."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Knowledge begets knowledge. The more I see, the more impressed I am -- not with what we know -- but with how tremendous the areas are as yet unexplored."
—John H. Glenn, Jr.

"Knowledge is more than equivalent to force."
—Samuel Johnson

"The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty."
—James Madison

"As knowledge increases, wonder deepens."
—Charles Morgan

"Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for."
—Socrates

"The desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it."
—Laurence Sterne

"Happy the man who knows the causes of things."
—Lucretius, Roman philosopher

"Knowledge is the frontier of tomorrow."
—Denis Waitley

"A man can only attain knowledge with the help of those who possess it. This must be understood from the very beginning. One must learn from him who knows."
—George Gurdjieff, 19th-20th-century Greek-Armenian religious teacher, quoted in: P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, ch. 2 (1949)

"All knowledge is of itself of some value. There is nothing so minute or inconsiderable that I would not rather know it than not."
—Samuel Johnson, 18th-century English writer and lexicographer, quoted in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson

"Any piece of knowledge I acquire today has a value at this moment exactly proportioned to my skill to deal with it. Tomorrow, when I know more, I recall that piece of knowledge and use it better."
—Mark van Doren, 20th-century American poet, Liberal Education (1943)

"A man can only attain knowledge with the help of those who possess it. This must be understood from the very beginning. One must learn from him who knows."
—George Gurdjieff

"As the Spanish proverb says, 'He, who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.' So it is in traveling; a man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge."
—Samuel Johnson, 18th-century English writer and lexicographer, remark, 17 Apr. 1778, quoted in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, vol. 3 (1791)

"For remember, my friend, the son of a shepherd who possesses knowledge is of greater worth to a nation than the heir to the throne, if he be ignorant. Knowledge is your true patent of nobility, no matter who your father or what your race may be."
—Kahlil Gibran, 20th-century Syrian-American mystic poet and painter "The Words of the Master," viii, in The Treasured Writings (1980)

"Knowledge is the only fountain both of the love and the principles of human liberty."
—Daniel Webster, 19th-century American statesman and orator, in an address at the laying of the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument, 17 June 1825

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people."
—John Adams, second President of the U.S., dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law (1765)

"Man is distinguished, not only by his reason; but also by this singular passion from other animals ... which is a lust of the mind, that by a perseverance of delight in the continual and indefatigable generation of knowledge, exceeds the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure."
—Thomas Hobbes, 17th-century English philosopher, Leviathan, pt. 1, ch. 6 (1651)

"Man is not weak; knowledge is more than equivalent to force."
—Samuel Johnson, 18th-century English writer and lexicographer, Imlac, in The History of Rasselas, ch. 13 (1759)

"To know the road ahead, ask those coming back."
—Chinese Proverb

"Talk about those subjects you have had long in your mind, and listen to what others say about subjects you have studied but recently."
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, 19th-century American writer and physician, The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 6 (1858)

"The desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it."
—Laurence Sterne, 18th-century English writer, Tristram Shandy, II.iii (1760)

"The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country."
—John Adams, second President of the U.S., Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law (1765)

"To read the Latin and Greek authors in their original is a sublime luxury ... I thank on my knees him [Jefferson's father] who directed my early education for having put into my possession this rich source of delight."
—Thomas Jefferson, 1800

"Information is the currency of democracy."
—Thomas Jefferson

"Knowledge -- that is, education in its truest sense -- is our best protection against unreasoning prejudice, and panic-making fear, whether engendered by special interest, illiberal minorities or panic-stricken leaders."
—Franklin D. Roosevelt

"A liberal education ... frees a person from the prison-house of his class, race, time, place, background, family, and even his nation."
—Robert Maynard Hutchins, The Political Animal

"Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army."
—Edward Everett

"Knowledge ... is also power; prior to its being a power, it is a good; that it is not only an instrument, but an end."
—John Henry Cardinal Newman

"Pursue knowledge for its own sake -- for the glory of God, the perfection of your mind, the good of the universe"
—John Henry Cardinal Newman

"As a rule, when I have heard some slight indication of the course of events, I am able to guide myself by the thousands of other similar cases which occur to my memory."
—Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Red-Headed League"

"We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free."
—Epictetus (Roman philosopher and former slave), Discourses

"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."
—H.G. Wells

"Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
—George Washington, address to Congress, January 8, 1790

"Critical thinking is a lot harder than people think, because it requires knowledge."
—Joanne Jacobs

"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 do know and what you don't."
—Anatole France

"We hear and apprehend only what we already half know."
—Thoreau

"Only when we know a little do we know anything; doubt grows with knowledge."
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"...we should not necessarily conclude that higher-level strategic skills are somehow the critical issue. It is exactly these processes that are most vulnerable to specific knowledge failures. We think these processes are important, but we suspect that they develop ordinarily in tandem with the gradual accumulation of knowledge..."
—Charles Perfetti

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."
—Winston Churchill

"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive."
—Robert Louis Stevenson

"I refuse to engage myself in a battle of wits with a man who is unarmed."
—Mark Twain

"It is easy to spot an informed man -- his opinions are just like your own."
—Miguel de Unamuno

"He who has imagination without learning has wings and no feet."
—Joubert

"I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity."
—Marcus Tullius Cicero

"The empty vessel makes the greatest sound"
—William Shakespeare

"An erudite fool is a greater fool than an ignorant fool."
—Jean Paul Baptiste Moliere

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
—Aldous Huxley

"A credulous mind ... finds most delight in believing strange things, and the stranger they are the easier they pass with him; but never regards those that are plain and feasible, for every man can believe such."
—Samuel Butler, Characters

"To know and yet think we do not know is the highest attainment.  Not to know and yet think we do is a disease."
—Lao-Tzu

"Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse."
—Nigerian Proverb

"To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect."
—Lao Tse

"Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it's enough."
—Kermit the Frog

"Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."
—Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

"Professors complain about students who arrive at college with strong convictions but not enough knowledge to argue persuasively for their beliefs. ... Having opinions without knowledge is not of much value; not knowing the difference between them is a positive indicator of ignorance."
—Diane Ravitch, The Schools We Deserve, p. 8

"Eventu rerum stolidi didicere magistro." (The stupid have no teacher except their own experience.)
—old maxim

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
—Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Scandal in Bohemia"

"The difficulty is to detach the framework of fact -- of absolute undeniable fact -- from the embellishments of theorists and reports. Then, having established ourselves upon this sound basis, it is our duty to see what inferences may be drawn and what are the special points upon which the whole mystery turns."
—Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Silver Blaze"

"Then, with your permission, we will leave it at that, Mr. Mac. The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession."
—Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Valley of Fear"

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment."
—Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Study in Scarlet"

"It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts."
—Sherlock Holmes, speaking in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Second Stain"

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."
—Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

"Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts."
—Bernard M. Baruch

"To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, but to imagine your facts is another."
—John Burroughs

"Nothing is more tragic than ignorance in action."
—Johann Wolfgang Goethe

"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd."
—Bertrand Russell

"Stay at home in your mind. Don't recite other people's opinions. I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The young specialist in English Lit ... lectured me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern 'knowledge' is that it is wrong. ... My answer to him was, '... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.'"
—Isaac Asimov

Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance.
—Will Durant (1885-1981) U.S. author and historian

A succession of eye-openers each involving the repudiation of some previously held belief.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British dramatist, critic, writer

The whole object of education is...to develop the mind. The mind should be a thing that works.
—Sherwood Anderson

Education seems to be in America the only commodity of which the customer tries to get as little he can for his money.
—Max Forman

I am not a teacher; only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead—ahead of myself as well as of you.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British dramatist, critic, writer

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.
—Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American author, editor and printer

Teachers are people who start things they never see finished, and for which they never get thanks until it is too late.
—Max Forman

The principal goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done.
—Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Swiss cognitive psychologist

The result of the educative process is capacity for further education.
—John Dewey (1859-1952) U.S. philosopher and educator

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.
—Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.
—Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Italian physicist and astronomer

A wise man is one who finally realizes that there are some questions one can ask which may have no answers.
—Anonymous

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
—Robert Frost

Education: Being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. It's knowing where to go to find out what you need to know; and it's knowing how to use the information once you get it.
—William Feather

An educated man is one who can entertain a new idea, entertain another person and entertain himself.
—Sydney Wood

Learning makes a man fit company for himself.
—Anonymous

The primary purpose of a liberal education is to make one's mind a pleasant place in which to spend one's time.
—Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) American journalist

Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire.
—William B. Yeats, poet

The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.
—Herbert Spencer

Your Education is worth what You are worth.
—Anonymous

When asked how much educated men were superior to those uneducated, Aristotle answered, "As much as the living are to the dead."
—Diogenes Laertius (fl. 2nd century)

Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.
—Leonardo da Vinci. Notebooks

There is a great danger in the present day lest science- teaching should degenerate into the accumulation of disconnected facts and unexplained formulae, which burden the memory without cultivating the understanding.
—J. D. Everett [In the preface to his 1873 English translation of Elementary Treatise on Natural Philosophy by A Privat Deschanel. (D. Appleton and Co.)]