Howard Gardner ‘Multiple Intelligences’
We should use kids’ positive states to draw them into learning in the domains where they can develop competencies…You learn at your best when you have something you care about and can get pleasure from being engaged in.
The single most important contribution education can make to a child’s development is to help him towards a field where his talents best suit him, where he will be satisfied and competent. We’ve completely lost sight of that. Instead we subject everyone to an education where, if you succeed, you will be best suited to be a college professor… And we evaluate everyone along the way according to whether they meet that narrow standard of success. We should spend less time ranking children and more time helping them identify their natural competencies and gifts, and cultivate those. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to succeed and many, many different abilities that will help you get there.
John Taylor Gatto
Teaching means different things in different places, but seven lessons are universally taught from Harlem to Hollywood Hills. They constitute a national curriculum you pay for in more ways than you can imagine, so you might as well know what it is.
1. Confusion 2. Class Position 3. Indifference 4. Emotional Dependency 5. Intellectual Dependency 6. Provisional Self-Esteem 7. One Can’t Hide. It is the great triumph of compulsory, government monopoly mass-schooling that among even the best of my fellow teachers, and among even the best of my students’ parents, only a small number can imagine a different way to do things.
By bells and many other similar techniques they (schools) teach that nothing is worth finishing. The gross error of this is progressive: if nothing is worth finishing then by extension nothing is worth starting either. Few children are so thick-skulled they miss the point.
Teaching does not make learning – organized education operates on the assumption that children learn only when and only what and only because we teach them. This is not true. It is very close to 100% false. Learners make learning.
Daniel Goleman ‘Emotional Intelligence’
Who does not recall school at least in part as endless dreary hours of boredom punctuated by moments of high anxiety?
No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.
Dr. Peter Gray, Schools Are Good For Showing Off, Not for Learning
“Schools are for showing off, not for learning. When we enroll our children in school, we enroll them into a never ending series of contests—to see who is best, who can get the highest grades, the highest scores on standardized tests, win the most honors, make it into the most advanced placement classes, get into the best colleges. We see those grades and hoops jumped through as measures not only of our children, but also of ourselves as parents. We find ways, subtly or not so subtly, to brag about them to our friends and relatives. All this has nothing to do with learning, and, really, we all know it.”
I have not the least doubt that school developed in me nothing but what was evil and left the good untouched.
David Guterson ‘Family Matters – Why Homeschooling Makes Sense’
I do not pine for a different place and time. I only point out what we have traded off. I think certain good things are recoverable, though without the life that once surrounded them they must inevitably take on different meanings. One of these is the tradition of parental and communal responsibility for the daily instruction of the young. Today this is denied us because teaching has been institutionalised, a convenience in a time of industry and profit when citizen-labourers perform economic functions more efficiently without children present. But for whom is such a state of affairs indeed convenient?
Learning theory tells us to teach children as individuals who learn in their own unique manner. The finest possible curriculum is precisely the one that starts with each child’s singular means of learning. Instruction and guidance are best provided by those with an intimate understanding of the individual child and a deep commitment to the child’s education. These principles derive not merely from the homeschooling movement but from contemporary research into how children learn. They are not merely adages fabricated by homeschoolers but precepts grounded in a science that should inspire us to reconsider both our roles as parents and the shape of public education.
For thousands of years, in thousands of places, families educated their own. This tradition changed not because a better method was found but because economic conditions required it. To work one had to leave one’s children; one’s children, furthermore, had to be trained for tasks no-one in their purview could be seen doing. For these reasons institutionalized schooling was invented’ and while it adequately addressed a set of economic problems it inspired a new set of human ones that are psychological, emotional, and even spiritual in nature.
Sarah Josepha Hale
There can be no education without leisure, and without leisure education is worthless.
It is tempting to impose our goals on other people, particularly on children or our subordinates. It is tempting for society to try to impose its priorities on everybody. The strategy will however be self-defeating if our goals, or society’s goals, do not fit the goals of the others. We may get our way but we don’t get their learning. They may have to comply but they will not change. We have pushed out their goals with ours and stolen their purposes. It is a pernicious form of theft which kills the will to learn.
Melinda Harmon, Federal Judge, 1996
Parents give up their rights when they drop the children off at public school.
Obadiah Silas Harris, Associate Professor of Educational Management and Development New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico
When community educators say that community education takes into consideration the total individual and his total environment, they mean precisely this: the field of community education includes the individual in his total psycho-physical structure and his entire ecological climate with all its ramifications – social, political, economical, cultural, spiritual, etc. It seeks to integrate the individual within himself (sic) and within his community until the individual becomes a cosmic soul and the community the world (Self Knowledge And Social Action).
The Cosmic soul … the whole human race is going to evolve an effective soul of its own – the cosmic soul of the race. That is the future of human evolution. As a result of the emergence of the universal soul, there will be a great unification of the entire human race, ushering into existence a new era, a new dawn of unique world power (Self Knowledge And Social Action).
The State is the absolute reality and the individual himself has objective existence, truth and morality only in his capacity as a member of the State.
James Hillman ‘The Soul’s Code – In Search of Character & Calling’
Children present the best evidence for a psychology of providence. Here I mean more than providential miracles, those amazing tales of children falling from high ledges without harm, buried under earthquake debris and surviving. Rather, I am referring to the humdrum miracles when the mark of character appears. All of a sudden and out of nowhere a child shows who she is, what he must do. These impulsions of destiny frequently are stifled by dysfunctional perceptions and unreceptive surroundings, so that calling appears in the myriad symptoms of difficult, self-destructive, accident-prone, ‘hyper’ children – all words invented by adults in defence of their misunderstanding.
Often it was not in school, but outside of it – in extracurricular activities or during time spent altogether away from school – that calling appeared. It is as if the image in the heart in so many cases is hampered by the program of tuition and its time bound regularity.
Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state (cited in Children At Risk, by Dr. James Dobson and Gary L. Bauer, p.179).
Dr. A.A. Hodge
I am as sure as I am of the fact of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of antiChristian and atheistic unbelief and of antisocial nihilistic ethics, social and political, which this sinrent world has ever seen.
It is self-evident that on this scheme if it is consistently and persistently carried out in all parts of the country, the United States system of national popular education will be the most efficient and wide instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen.A.A. Hodge, Evangelical Theology (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth  1976), pp. 241-242.↵
What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all.
Most of us are tactful enough with other adults not to point out their errors, but not many of us are ready to extend this courtesy (or any other courtesy, for that matter) to children.
How much people can learn at any moment depends on how they feel at that moment about the task and their ability to do the task. When we feel powerful and competent, we leap at difficult tasks. The difficulty does not discourage us; we think: Sooner or later, I’m going to get this. At other times we can only think: I’ll never get this, it’s too hard for me, I never was any good at this kind of thing, why do I have to do it, etc. Part of the art of teaching is being able to sense which of these moods learners are in. People can go from one mood to the other very quickly.
There are times when even the most skilful learner must admit to himself that for the time being he is trying to butt his head through a stone wall, and that there is no sense in it. At such times teachers are inclined to use students as a kind of human battering ram. I’ve done it too often myself. It doesn’t work.
It is hard not to feel that there must be something very wrong with much of what we do in school, if we feel the need to worry so much about what many people call ‘motivation’. A child has no stronger desire than to make sense of the world, to move freely in it, to do the things that he sees bigger people doing.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
David Hood (Our Secondary Schools Don’t Work Anymore – 1998)
Accepting the key premise that the learner is the primary customer of schooling means others follow naturally. … The core business of schooling is learning, and the quality of learning experienced by all learners should be the standard against which performance is measured.
If the schooling system does not rapidly close the gap between what it does, and what it should do in response to the demands of the 21st century, it will simply become irrelevant.
I think children can be very cruel especially in adolescence and if you are slow, and I was (I was in a school which was quite competitive) you do get a lot of slamming about from the other kids. I don’t know about girls, but I know that boys are very cruel and very tough. It built up a tremendous resentment in me because I was also bad at sport and athletics and all I could do was play the piano. So I always got the sense in my adolescent years that ‘Oh, Hopkins, you know he’s, well he’s not worth much, or he’s a failure.’
Robert Maynard Hutchins
My idea of education is to unsettle the minds of the young and inflame their intellects.
The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.
…we have come to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school.
School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.
Schools are designed on the assumption that there is a secret to everything in life; that the quality of life depends upon knowing that secret; that secrets can only be known in orderly successions; and that only teachers can properly reveal these secrets. An individual with a schooled mind conceives of the world as a pyramid of classified packages accessible only to those who carry the proper tags.
Rev. T. Robert Ingram
There is no course of study in religion that can be designed to overcome the religious teaching inherent in the state controlled school system itself. God teaches there is no such thing as secular learning. He says there is no field of knowledge which is not subject to the judgment of Jesus Christ and teaching is supremely a religious function through which the sovereignty of God is recognized among the people. Yet, the first lesson we teach every child today is that there is a place where God does not count. That place is what we call the school room of so-called secular learning.  — T. Robert Ingram, Schools: Government, or Public? (Houston: St. Thomas Press, 1959), p. 12f
We deny the whole principal of public control by deceiving our children with the idea public control means being committed in advance to the decrees of the government. The religion we are teaching them is to glorify Caesar and to magnify his holy name as the universal arbiter of knowledge. Once you teach children that – it doesn’t much matter what else you teach them. As long as you don’t let them get the idea that it is really God and not Caesar that teacheth man knowledge.— T. Robert Ingram, Schools: Government, or Public? (Houston: St. Thomas Press, 1959), p. 13