What is the purpose of a quote on education? Some would argue education quotes should inspire teachers. Others would argue education quotes are meant to highlight social injustice in education. All of these are true. My favorite quotes on education, though, are meta commentaries on education itself, showcasing its shortcomings, and how they can improve.
One of the education quotes I like comes from the late Ray Bradbury. I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library,” said Bradbury, “and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves, you can get a complete education for no money.” Aside the fact that Bradbury forgot his taxes paid for the library, it is interesting to note how Bradbury educated himself. Of course, those drowning in college debt may take this as an argument to skip college, but that is not what Bradbury is saying. Rather, he educated himself, rather than being spoon fed knowledge.
Another of the education quotes comes from essayist and humanist Michel de Montaigne, who said, “I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.” More damning than the education quotes that Bradbury made, this is a warning to teachers. Namely, bad education is worse than none at all.
My favorite of the education quotes of all time comes from Alexander Solzhenitsyn, simply, “Education does not make you smarter.” That education quote, from the novel Cancer Ward, is a theme of the book repeated throughout. Many of the characters are college educated, and a few have PhDs. Some have no education at all. All are dying of cancer in the Soviet Union, or their as political prisoners because they could not survive on their wits. One character, who is an engineer by training, is living in the cancer ward and healthy, but is there to escape the Soviet government, who has falsely accused him.
Education quotes are meant to entertain, enlighten, and make us think. Whatever context educational quotes are said in, they should also make us reflect on education. As the ages advance, let us hope there is more wise commentary with future education quotes.