Great minds chime in about the traditional school system, creativity, individuality and related topics:
The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.
[...] study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.
Standardization robs life of its spice. [...] I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.
[In school, one] had to cram all this stuff into one’s mind for examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect [upon me] that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year.
I was happy as a child with my toys in my nursery. I have been happier every year since I became a man. But this interlude of school makes a sombre grey patch upon the chart of my journey. It was an unending spell of worries that did not then seem petty, of toil uncheered by fruition; a time of discomfort, restriction and purposeless monotony.
I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think.
My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school.
There will come a time when the proper education of children, by a glorified system of spontaneous education of choice, similar to the Montessori System, will be made possible. [...] Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic.
Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts
Why is it that millions of children who are pushouts or dropouts amount to business as usual in the public schools, while one family educating a child at home becomes a major threat to universal public education and the survival of democracy?
Between the ages of five and nine I was almost perpetually at war with the educational system. ... As soon as I learned from my mother that there was there was a place called school that I must attend willy-nilly—a place where you were obliged to think about matters prescribed by a ‘teacher,’ not about matters decided by yourself—I was appalled.
Education rears disciples, imitators, and routinists, not pioneers of new ideas and creative geniuses. The schools are not nurseries of progress and improvement, but conservatories of tradition and unvarying modes of thought.
When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.
I believe that school makes complete fools of our young men, because they see and hear nothing of ordinary life there.
It is very strange, that, ever since mankind have taken it into their heads to trouble themselves so much about the education of children, they should never have thought of any other instruments to effect their purpose than those of emulation, jealousy, envy, pride, covetousness, and servile fear—all passions the most dangerous, the most apt to ferment, and the most fit to corrupt the soul, even before the body is formed. With every premature instruction we instil into the head, we implant a vice in the bottom of the heart.
We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has becomeone of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.
Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by [traditional] education.
I hated school so intensely. It interfered with my freedom. I avoided the discipline by an elaborate technique of being absent-minded during classes.