Fall is here and the hustle and bustle of the first days of school are over. This relatively calm period – before the holidays begin in earnest – is a good time to reflect on the wonders of education and the powers of enlightenment.
In deference to today’s illuminating topic, here are five fun historical facts about education.
(1) The Boston Latin School is the first and oldest public school in the United States. It was founded in 1635 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(2) The Mather School was the first free taxpayer-supported public school in North America. It was opened in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1639. Dorchester was once its own city. Today, it is a neighborhood in Boston.
The Mather school pledge is as follows.
I must work hard today
Get smarter in every way
Helped by my teacher, my family and my friends
If I make some mistakes
I have what it takes
To keep trying ‘till I really succeed
(3) The Society to Encourage Studies at Home was the first correspondence school in the United States. It was founded in 1873 by Anna Eliot Ticknor. Courses were only offered to women. Students paid a small fee, while instructors offered their time and services for free. Can you guess where it was founded? If you guessed Boston, Massachusetts, you are correct.
(4) As of 2018, more than 900 universities offer massive open online courses (MOOC). First introduced in 2006, MOOCs were originally conceived as open source, open access, free resources for learning. Think of them as the younger cousins of distance learning and correspondence courses that were prevalent during the 1800s and 1900s. Similar to other online education opportunities offered today, MOOCs have increasingly become monetized, for-profit endeavors.
(5) Since the mid-1800s, the United States has collected statistics on the progress of American education. If you are interested in reading these fascinating tomes, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has an archive of historical reports. Condition of Education reports and other informative statistics from 1990 to the present are also available on the NCES website.
Third grade reading level predicts high school graduation. A child who cannot read at grade level by the third grade is four times less likely to graduate than a child who reads proficiently.
That’s powerful information. Consider yourself enlightened.
Quotes to Live By
Surprise your friends and family with your knowledge of the historical facts above. Then impress them by reciting a few of the insightful quotes below. Enjoy!
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~ Aristotle
Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day. ~ Thornton Wilder
There is no greater education than one that is self-driven. ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson
Talent is flame. Genius is fire. ~ Bernard Williams
Prepare today – thrive tomorrow. ~ Anonymous
Finish last in your league and they call you idiot. Finish last in medical school and they call you doctor. ~ Abe Lemons
The mark of greatness is when everything before you is obsolete, and everything after you bears your mark. ~ Dave Chappelle
Believing in yourself is an endless destination. Believing you have failed is the end of your journey. ~ Sarah Meredith
A man doesn’t know what he knows until he knows what he doesn’t know. ~ Laurence J. Peter
The most important thing we learn at school is the fact that the most important things can’t be learned at school. ~ Haruki Murakami
The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. ~ Anonymous
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~ Lao Tzu
Some men know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it. ~ Frederick Douglass
Now, for my younger viewers out there, a book is something we used to have before the internet. It’s sort of a blog for people with attention spans. ~ Stephen Colbert
If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. ~ Will Durant
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. ~ Yehuda Berg
If you have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, then you have discovered the secret of getting along - whether it be business, family relations, or life itself. ~ Bernard Meltzer
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. ~ Epictetus
The secret is to have a sense of yourself, your real self, your unique self. ~ Bill Murray
One thing that’s good about procrastination is that you always have something planned for tomorrow. ~ Gladys Bronwyn Stern
Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ~ Oprah Winfrey
Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not. ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson
A child educated only at school is an uneducated child. ~ George Santayana
People learn something every day, and a lot of times it’s that what they learned the day before was wrong. ~ Bill Vaughan
Only dumb people try to impress smart people. Smart people just do what they do. ~ Chris Rock
The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn. ~ John Lubbock
In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson. ~ Tom Bodett
Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything. Including you. ~ George Carlin
I can tell you that the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. ~ Jim Carrey
No wonder the teacher knows so much; she has the book. ~ Edgar Watson Howe
Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age. ~ Jon Stewart
Beliefs do not change facts. Facts, if one is rational, should change beliefs. ~ Ricky Gervais
Life opens up opportunities to you, and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them. ~ Jim Carrey
Be open to learning new lessons, even if they contradict the lessons you learned yesterday. ~ Ellen DeGeneres
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. ~ Ellen Parr
People who criticize you have usually never achieved anywhere near what you have. Most of them would be too scared to even try. Keep going. ~ Ricky Gervais
I learn each day what I need to know to do tomorrow’s work. ~ Arnold Toynbee
The moment of experience is the firmest reality. ~ Benjamin Boretz
Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them. ~ attributed to Albert Einstein
You should bring something into the world that wasn’t in the world before. It doesn’t matter what that is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a table or a film or gardening – everyone should create. You should do something, then sit back and say, “I did that”. ~ Ricky Gervais
Our great mistake in education is, as it seems to me, the worship of book-learning – the confusion of instruction and education. We strain the memory instead of cultivating the mind. ~ John Lubbock
I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself. ~ Robin Williams (as John Keating, Dead Poets Society)
The more you know, the sadder you get. ~ Stephen Colbert
Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem. ~ Woody Allen
A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: ‘Duh.’ ~ Conan O’Brien
There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. ~ Peter Drucker
If the learner hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught. ~ Anonymous
To know and not do is not yet to know. ~ Anonymous
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. ~ Robin Williams (as John Keating, Dead Poets Society)
Metrics are abstractions made by man, while reality is made by nature. ~ Mike Rother
Plans are things that change. ~ Fujio Cho
In order to maintain an untenable position, you have to be actively ignorant. One motto on the show is, ‘Keep your facts, I’m going with the truth.’ ~ Stephen Colbert
...[T]he most pressing task is to teach people how to learn. ~ Peter Drucker
He who begins many things finishes but few. ~ Anonymous
Creativity — like human life itself — begins in darkness. ~ Julia Cameron
The greatest thief this world has ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large. ~ Henry Wheeler Shaw
...[F]orget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion. Honor your calling. Everybody has one. Trust your heart and success will come to you. ~ Oprah Winfrey
You cannot be anything if you want to be everything. But if you are content to be something, you may by analogy be many things. ~ Israel Zangwill
My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. ~ Indira Gandhi