Great Quotes From The War Over Education

Assorted Quotes From the Front Lines

"Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our Founding Fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It's up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well - by creating the international child of the future."

     --Professor Chester M. Pierce, M.D., Professor of Education and Psychiatry at Harvard

"The schools cannot allow parents to influence the kind of values-education their children receive in school; that is what is wrong with those who say there is a universal system of values. Our (humanistic) goals are incompatible with theirs. We must change their values."

     --Paul Haubner, specialist for the N.E.A.

"Among the elementary measures the American Soviet government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are...[a] National Department of Education...the studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic, and other features of the bourgeois ideology. The students will be taught the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and the general ethics of the new Socialist society."

     --William Z. Foster, Toward Soviet America, 1932 National Chairman of the American Communist Party (1933-44, 1945-57)

"I think we absolutely have to realize that if we were to educate everyone, the country would fall apart. . . . We absolutely positively have to have a group of undereducated, unskilled people to do all these dirty jobs that `the comfortable classes,' as John Kenneth Galbraith calls them, will not do."

"...until everyone owns a humanoid robot, as well as a car and a color television, some person will have to do the `dirty jobs.' Until then, however, loath as we are to admit it, we must continue to produce an uneducated social class..."

     --Gerald Bracey, Stanford-educated research psychologist, policy analyst, author and former NEA-analyst

"By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God."

     --Gloria Steinem

"I'm of the opinion that certain interest groups in this state have gotten too powerful. And there are two of them: Maple River Education Coalition and The Taxpayers League."

     --Sara Janacek, Almanac, KTCA-TV, June 21, 2002

(The webmaster's favorite) "The Maple River group, they think UFOs are landing next month. Well they do! They think it's some big government federal conspiracy!"

     --Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura

"I believe if you were to get all employers of this country saying that we would not hire anybody unless we see a high school graduate certificate that has on it the results of this potential employees record...Then I think this nation will come to the realization that there is no job for them, there is no for life them...There is the motivation."

     --Roy Romer, former three-term Governor of Colorado and former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

"It is enough for children to learn to count to ten and follow simple instructions." "If there are still people in Germany today who say, 'we will not join your community, we will remain as we are,' then I reply: you will pass on but after you will come a generation that knows nothing else."

     --Adolf Hitler

"Someone really is after us... (the NEA and its affiliates) have been singled out because of our political power and effectiveness at all levels -- because we have the ability to help implement the type of liberal social and economic agenda that (they) find unacceptable."

     --Robert H. Chanin, National Education Association general counsel

"Until our parents and taxpayers are empowered to hold schools accountable, until we rid our schools of the Profile of Learning, and until we give teachers the authority to discipline children again, all the money in the world will do little to help our children learn more."

     --Brian Sullivan, candidate Minnesota Governor

"It is inappropriate (to allow parents) to design the curriculum and to run the school."

     --Rod Paige, George W. Bush's Education Secretary, September 2001

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."


"I don't believe in the Profile of Learning. It is a fundamental philosophical shift away from knowledge-based education to performance-based education. It has been too prescriptive on teachers."

     --Minnesota Rep. Tony Kielkucki, North Star Standard author

"We think the great opportunity you have is to remake the entire American system for human resources development..."

     --Marc Tucker, in his letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton

"We are in danger of the education committees turning into school boards."

     --Minnesota Sen. Kenric Scheevel, Senate Education Committee

"Minnesota's Graduation Standards serve as the cornerstone of Minnesota's School-to-Work System."

     --Plan submitted by the State of Minnesota to obtain federal STW grant money

"Parent's attitudes about what they want for their children represent one of the greatest barriers to successful implementation of school-to-work."

     --U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement

"The National Education Association is under fire for its advice to teachers on how to spend the anniversary of September 11. The critics say that the NEA's lesson plans are too relativistic and insufficiently patriotic. Students would hear a lot about 'intolerance': the need to avoid it, America's shameful history... The critics would like students to learn more about America's virtues and about our enemies' deadly intolerance. ...What the critics have uncovered, in other words, is not the NEA's lack of patriotism. It is modern liberal culture's shallowness. September 11 cannot be understood.... History is consulted only to the extent that it teaches us that people in previous eras have had feelings of grief and anger after disasters, too, and that these feelings have been expressed in more and less healthy ways. The history of the Middle East is not mentioned anywhere. Islam is a source of 'diversity,' and the only thing students need know about Muslims is that they are not all alike. ...Tolerance, diversity, and psychological well-being are all fine things if they are rightly understood. But a country needs other things to defend itself: things like courage, confidence, endurance, manliness, intelligence. Neither our school curricula nor our public culture is designed to cultivate those qualities. We need better lessons, and not from the NEA."

     --National Review

"The 'Islam is peaceful' message was recently reinforced at the University of North Carolina, when freshmen were assigned selections of the Koran -- peaceful selections, that is. The parts about how it is the duty of Muslims to kill Jews, Christians, and other 'infidels' -- the parts about holy wars that are of vital importance in light of September 11 -- were somehow left out. ... The problem is not so much that kids are being taught about Islam or even asked to read the Koran -- though I have my objections to that. The problem is that there is no balance in those teachings. In the name of tolerance, Islam is being whitewashed; the distinctions between Islam and Western culture are being systematically scrubbed away."

     --Chuck Colson

" easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant....the world view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane...."

     --George Orwell's 1984

Independence is the source of freedom, the first essential ingredient of mental health.

     -- L. Neil Smith

"The philosophy of the classroom today is the philosophy of the Government tomorrow."

     --Abraham Lincoln

"Information is the currency of democracy."

     --Thomas Jefferson

"Perhaps the best way to enforce this standard is to confer valuable benefits and privileges on people who need it, and to withhold them from people who do not. Work permits, good jobs and college admissions are the most obvious."

     --Chester Finn, advocate of Goals 2000, director of the Education Excellence Network in Washington D.C.

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

     --10th Amendment to the United States Constitution

"The great object of my fear is the federal judiciary. That body, like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, and unalarming advance, gaining ground step by step, and holding what it gains, is engulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them. ... It has long, however, been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression...that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary; ...working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped. ... The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric. They are construing our Constitution from a coordination of a general and special government to a general and supreme one alone."

     --Thomas Jefferson

"The Profile of Learning needs major surgery. Our children's future is at stake."

     --Katherine Kersten, Center of the American Experiment

"It's time to stop referring to the Profile of Learning as high standards when there is no external reviewer who thinks they are."

     --Diane Ravitch, Brookings Institution

"[Minnesota's Graduation Standards] lack clarity and specificity. Important topics are missing or under-emphasized. There is inadequate rigor and growth across grade levels. The focus is weakened by the broad nature and large number of learning areas."

     --Achieve, Inc. and the Council Basic Education

"Our state never releases the human being from the cradle to the grave...We do not let go of the human being and when that is over, the Labor Front comes and takes him once more and does not let him go until he dies, whether he likes it or not."

     --Dr. Robert Ley, head of the Labor Front, Nazi Germany

"What is essential is that we create a seamless web of opportunities, to develop one's skills…that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system everyone..."

     --Marc Tucker, in his letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

     --Thomas Paine

"Revisiting the Revolutionary War is a bracing reminder that the fate of a continent, and the shape of the modern world, turned on the free choices of remarkably few Americans defying an empire."

     --George Will

"So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobediences of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country."

     --Charlton Heston

"Isn't our choice really not one of left or right, but of up or down? Down through the welfare state to statism, to more and more government largesse accompanied always by more government authority, less individual liberty, and ultimately, totalitarianism, always advanced as our own good. The alternative is the dream conceived by our Founding Fathers, up to the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with an orderly society. We don't celebrate dependence day on the Fourth of July. We celebrate Independence Day."

     --Ronald Reagan

"If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security."

     --Samuel Adams

"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember, that 'if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.' It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event."

     --Samuel Adams

"The Roman Republic fell, not because of the ambition of Caesar or Augustus, but because it had already long ceased to be in any real sense a republic at all. When the sturdy Roman plebeian, who lived by his own labor, who voted without reward according to his own convictions, and who with his fellows formed in war the terrible Roman legion, had been changed into an idle creature who craved nothing in life save the gratification of a thirst vapid excitement, who was fed by the state, and who directly or indirectly sold his vote to the highest bidder, then the end of the republic was at hand, and nothing could save it. The laws were the same as they had been, but the people behind the laws had changed, and so the laws counted nothing."

     --Theodore Roosevelt

"The big problem in the long process of dumbing down the schools is that you can reach a point of no return. How are parents who never received a decent education themselves to recognize that their children are not getting a decent education?"

     --Thomas Sowell

"Since the New Deal, Americans have slowly forgotten that the Constitution puts great limits on what the federal government can do. As recently as the 1950s, people could still question whether the federal government ought to build a national highway system. In order to justify that program constitutionally, it was called the National Defense Highway Act. Today, of course, any notion that such a program would need that sort of constitutional veneer to gain passage is absurd. Bush can help himself and his tax and budgetary plans by trying to reinvigorate constitutionality as a rationale his actions. Programs that do not rest on a clear grant of constitutional power should be abolished or transferred to the states. He can even argue that tax rates that are too high violate the Constitution's prohibition against unlawful seizure."

     --Bruce Bartlett

"Our coins bear the words 'In God We Trust'. We take the oath of office asking His help in keeping that oath. And we proclaim that we are a nation under God when we pledge allegiance to the flag. But we can't mention His name in a public school or even sing religious hymns that are nondenominational. Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeers, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas."

     --Ronald Reagan

"The issues which today confront the nation are clearly defined and so fundamental as to directly involve the very survival of the Republic. Are we going to preserve the religious base to our origin, our growth and our progress, or yield to the devious assaults of atheistic or other anti-religious forces? Are we going to maintain our present course toward State Socialism with Communism just beyond or reverse the present trend and regain our hold upon our heritage of liberty and freedom? ... Are we going to permit a continuing decline in public and private morality or re-establish high ethical standards as the means of regaining a diminishing faith in the integrity of our public and private institutions?... In short, is American life of the future to be characterized by freedom or by servitude, strength or weakness? The answer must be clear and unequivocal if we are to avoid the pitfalls toward which we are now heading with such certainty. In many respects it is not to be found in any dogma of political philosophy but in those immutable precepts which underlie the Ten Commandments."

     --General Douglas MacArthur

"We who are living in the west today are fortunate. Freedom has been bequeathed to us. We have not had to carve it out of nothing; we have not had to pay it with our lives. But it would be a grave mistake to think that freedom requires nothing of us. Each of us has to earn freedom anew in order to possess it. We do so not just our own sake, but the sake of our children, so that they may build a better future that will sustain over the world the responsibilities and blessings of freedom."

     -- Margaret Thatcher

"A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins."

     -- Benjamin Franklin

"If government could create jobs and raise children, socialism would have worked."

     --George Gilder

"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

     --Samuel Adams

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

     --Benjamin Franklin

"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God, I know not what course others may take, but give me liberty or give me death!"

     -- Patrick Henry

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."

     --Lord Alexander Tytler on the fall of the Athenian republic

"The preservation of a free government requires not merely that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority and are Tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves."

     --James Madison

"The poor Constitution itself is hardly paid any attention to. It's necessary to ignore it because most of what government does these days is clearly unconstitutional. The original idea, as expressed by James Madison, was that states would do 95 percent of the governing. Today, they are little more than administrative subdivisions of the central empire."

     --Charley Reese

"But select capable men from all the people -- men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain -- and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens."

     --Exodus 18:21

"As government regulations grow slowly, we become used to the harness. Habit is a powerful force, and we no longer feel as intensely as we once would have [the] constriction of our liberties that would have been utterly intolerable a mere half century ago."

     --Judge Robert Bork

From the Founder of Modern Education: Socialist John Dewey


"It is one of the great mistakes of education to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of the school work the first two years. The true way is to teach them incidentally as the outgrowth of the social activities at this time. Thus language is not primarily the expression of thought, but the means of social communication ... If language is abstracted from social activity, and made an end in itself, it will not give its whole value as a means of development... It is not claimed that by the method suggested, the child will learn to read as much, nor perhaps as readily in a given period as by the usual method. That he will make more rapid progress later when the true language interest develops ... can be claimed with confidence."

1899: School and Society

"The tragic weakness of the present school is that it endeavors to prepare future members of the social order in a medium in which the conditions of the social spirit are eminently wanting ... The mere absorbing of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social motive the acquirement of mere learning, there is no clear social gain in success thereat."

1916: Democracy and Education

"When knowledge is regarded as originating and developing within an individual, the ties which bind the mental life of one to that of his fellows are ignored and denied. When the social quality of individualized mental operations is denied, it becomes a problem to find connections which will unite an individual with his fellows. Moral individualism is set up by the conscious separation of different centers of life. It has its roots in the notion that the consciousness of each person is wholly private, a self-inclosed continent, intrinsically independent of the ideas, wishes, purposes of everybody else."

1935: Liberalism and Social Action

"The last stand of oligarchical and anti-social seclusion is perpetuation of this purely individualistic notion of intelligence."