"Plato--who may have understood better what forms the mind of man than do some of our contemporaries who want their children exposed only to "real" people and everyday events--knew what intellectual experience made for true humanity. He suggested that the future citizens of his ideal republic begin their literary education with the telling of myths, rather than with mere facts or so-called rational teachings."
"The true use of Shakespeare or of Cervantes, of Homer or of Dante, of Chaucer or of Rabelais, is to augment one's own growing inner self.... The mind's dialogue with itself is not primarily a social reality. All that the Western Canon can bring one is the proper use of one's own solitude, that solitude whose final form is one's confrontation with one's own mortality."
"In my early life, and probably even today, it is not sufficiently understood that a child's education should include at least a rudimentary grasp of religion, sex, and money. Without a basic knowledge of these three primary facts in a normal human being's life--subjects which stir the emotions, create events and opportunities, and if they do not wholly decide must greatly influence an individual's personality--no human being's education can have a safe foundation."
"If the children and youth of a nation are afforded opportunity to develop their capacities to the fullest, if they are given the knowledge to understand the world and the wisdom to change it, then the prospects for the future are bright. In contrast, a society which neglects its children, however well it may function in other respects, risks eventual disorganization and demise."
"We as a nation need to be reeducated about the necessary and sufficient conditions for making human beings human. We need to be reeducated not as parents--but as workers, neighbors, and friends; and as members of the organizations, committees, boards--and, especially, the informal networks that control our social institutions and thereby determine the conditions of life for our families and their children."
"Surely knowledge of the natural world, knowledge of the human condition, knowledge of the nature and dynamics of society, knowledge of the past so that one may use it in experiencing the present and aspiring to the future--all of these, it would seem reasonable to suppose, are essential to an educated man. To these must be added another--knowledge of the products of our artistic heritage that mark the history of our esthetic wonder and delight."
"I would urge that the yeast of education is the idea of excellence, and the idea of excellence comprises as many forms as there are individuals, each of whom develops his own image of excellence. The school must have as one of its principal functions the nurturing of images of excellence."
"In England, I was quite struck to see how forward the girls are made--a child of 10 years old, will chat and keep you company, while her parents are busy or out etc.--with the ease of a woman of 26. But then, how does this education go on?--Not at all: it absolutely stops short."
"The old saying of Buffon's that style is the man himself is as near the truth as we can get--but then most men mistake grammar forstyle, as they mistake correct spelling for words or schooling for education."