“The power of imagination makes us infinite.” ~ John Muir

“Responsibility educates.” ~ Wendell Phillips

“Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.” ~ Jawaharlal Nehru, first prime minister of India

A little girl had just finished her first week of school. “I’m just wasting my time,” she said to her mother. “I can’t read, I can’t write, and they won’t let me talk!” ~ e-mail communication

“Ten middle-class guys are sitting in a bar. Then the richest guy leaves, and Bill Gates walks in. Because the richest guy in the bar is now much richer than before, the average income in the bar soars. But the income of the nine men who aren’t Bill Gates hasn’t increased, and no amount of repeating ‘But average income is up!’ will convince them that they’re better off.” ~ Paul Krugman, New York Times, 3/24/06

“Nobody likes to bring this up much, but the problems of city schools are rooted in poverty: High concentrations of poor children in schools is a formula for failure, and that’s been studied and proved. Poor families have fewer choices, so they’re stuck.” ~ Dan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun, 13 Apri 2006

“My son already hates school, and he’s just halfway through kindergarten. . . . Now kindergarten is a 30-hour-a-week job. There’s nightly homework; finger painting is a rare treat; and as for naps, there just isn’t time.” ~ L.J. Williamson, LA Times, 2/27/06

“The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that of the thirty occupations that will grow the most over the next decade, only eight will require a college degree. “~ Jeff Faux, The Global Class War, p. 184

“Required by the district to spend two to three hours a day on Open Court instruction, teachers felt unable to include the literacy curriculum we had previously developed — curriculum that more fully addressed the range of levels and the varied strengths and weaknesses of our students. These students — full of energy and, by and large, eager to learn — became victims of a system that refused to teach them in the way they learn best: actively, holistically, and cooperatively. . . . Poor kids received an education that prepared them for McDonald’s, McMilitary, and Mc-Prison. ” ~ Elizabeth Jaeger, “Silencing Teachers,” Rethinking Schools 4/06

“Studies in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Washington, Denver and Boston — along with others in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales — all show that poverty is a primary determinant of student achievement. High-stakes test scores are very highly correlated with family income.” ~ Donald C. Orlich, Pacific Northwest Inlander, 3/15/06

“Thousands of studies have linked poverty to academic achievement. The relationship is every bit as strong as the connection between cigarettes and cancer.” ~ David Berliner, Arizona State University

“The only way that teachers and parents can change the status quo within the public school system is through outright rebellion. Refuse to administer tests. Refuse to teach to the test. Refuse to allow children to take tests. In California, Education Code 60615 allows parents to waive testing of their child just by requesting it in a letter to the principal of the school. More parents should do that.” ~ Diane Flynn Keith, interview with Jo Scott Coe, 3/31/06

“Today, NCLB is almost as unpopular as the administration and Congress that created it. With the law coming up for reauthorization in 2007, debate is heating up about whether we need Band-Aids to ‘fix’ NLCB or a bulldozer to bury it.” ~ Stan Karp, Rethinking Schools, Spring 2006

“I think what’s going on for our kids, and particularly the kids who have parents who are least powerful, is the worst education I’ve seen in 40 years. I don’t have the same picture of what this increased attention has done. I’ve never seen so many frightened teachers. I’ve never seen so many frightened principals. I cannot imagine how you think that is going to help our race to the top, that the children in our most low-income schools are surrounded by adults whose overriding concern is these terrible tests.” ~ Deborah Meier, Education Sector, 3/10/06

“Any time teaching is done just to help kids pass an exam, it’s wrong. The purpose of teaching is to provide an education, not to help kids pass a test.” ~ Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes Commentary

“What are we but our stories?” ~ Jennifer in Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

Read my reflection on Teacher Man by Frank McCourt. Here are some quotes from the book …

  • “Here they come. And I’m not ready. How could I be? I’m a new teacher and learning on the job.”
  • “On the first day of my teaching career, I was almost fired for eating the sandwich of a high school boy. On the second day I was almost fired for mentioning the possibility of friendship with a sheep. Otherwise, there was nothing remarkable about my thirty years in the high school classrooms of NYC. I often doubted if I should be there at all. At the end I wondered how I lasted that long.”
  • “… What are schools for anyway? I ask you, is it the task of the teacher to supply canon fodder for the military-industrial complex? Are we shaping packages for the corporate assembly line?”
  • ” … in all my years at Stuyvesant only one parent, a mother, asked if her son was enjoying school. I said yes. He seemed to be enjoying himself. She smiled, stood up, said, Thank you, and left. One parent in all those years.”
  • “Find what you love and do it.”

“The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn: 1st, Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action … 2nd, Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: – the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations; … 3rd, Caution, not to make our moves too hastily.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.” ~ Albert Einstein

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.” ~ Confucius

“All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent.” ~ John F. Kennedy

“Anger is only fear turned inward.” ~ Angela in Bones

“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” ~ Joseph Addison, writer

“Playing chess is like taking your mind to the gym.” ~ from new film, Knights of the South Bronx

“If you can win a game of chess, no one can ever call you stupid.” ~ from new film, Knights of the South Bronx

“The first week at August’s was a consolation, a pure relief. The world will give you that once in a while, a brief time-out; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where somebody dabs mercy on your beat-up life.” ~ Sue Monk Kidd in The Secret Life of Bees

“Bee yard etiquette: … the world is really one big bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places: Don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don’t be an idiot; wear long sleeves and long pants. Don’t swat. Don’t even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee’s temper. Act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.” ~ Sue Monk Kidd in The Secret Life of Bees

See a whole page of quotes from The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth…” ~Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“The voice of intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing.” ~ Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis

“Don’t make decisions because they are the easiest, the cheapest, or the most popular. Make your decision because it’s right.” ~ Theodore Hesburgh, former president of the University of Notre Dame

” … some of the most important things — patience, kindness, loyalty, curiosity, dependability, steadfastness, grit, wonder — cannot be measured on an exam.” ~Beverly Beckham

“The children we teach will not care how much we know until they know how much we care.” ~ Thomas Sergiovanni

“All progress requires change. But not all change is progress.” ~ John Wooden, Basketball Coach

“And you overlook Dumbledore’s greatest weakness: He has to believe the best of people.” ~ Snape in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Personal Note: We should all have such a weakness!

“I don’t mean to be rude–” he began, in a tone that threatened rudeness in every syllable.
“–yet, sadly rudeness occurs alarmingly often,” Dumbledore finished the sentence gravely. “Best to say nothing at all, my dear man…” ~Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

“Maps can tell you where you are, and more importantly, where you haven’t been.” ~Pacific Trail Advertisement

“Each kid unrolls an original mural of mind traits. The challenge is to understand his or her special wiring and its implications for parenting, counseling, and education.” ~ Dr. Mel Levine

“… parents and teachers have to be on a constant diligent quest for buried treasure within children.” ~ Dr. Mel Levine

“… sometimes you fix a weakness by pursuing strengths.” ~ Dr. Mel Levine

“There are only two things I have ever done well: paint and fidget.” ~ Claude Monet

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” ~ Albert Einstein

“… Indifference and neglect often do more damage than outright dislike.” ~ Professor Dumbledore

“… it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!” ~ Professor Dumbledore

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~ Professor Dumbledore

“The ugly duckling found out that it was okay to be different. That is what every child in America deserves.” ~ Susan Ohanian

“You can go your whole life and not need math or physics for a minute, but the ability to tell a joke is always handy.” ~ Garrison Keillor

“Weighing the pig more often will not make it grow faster.” ~ Stephen Krashen

“We are only healthy to the extent that our ideas are humane.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss

“All children have special needs.” ~ Social Worker Maxine Gray in the TV show, Judging Amy, CBS

“The choices we make dictate the lives we lead. To thine ownself be true.” ~ Danny DeVito quoting Shakespeare in the film, Renaissance Man

“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” ~ Henry J. Kaiser, American Industrialist, Shipbuilder

“Helping parents, teachers, and students appreciate learning differences is the first step. Helping them celebrate the differences is the goal.” ~ Dr. Mel Levine, All Kinds of Minds

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It’s the only thing.”~ Albert Schweitzer

“New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.” ~ John Locke, Philosopher

“He who has no opinion of his own, but depends upon the opinion and taste of others, is a slave.” ~ Friedrich Klopstock

“What were you in high school? A jock? A brain? A geek?”
“I was a ghost.” ~from an episode of CSI

“Morality cannot be legislated but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.” ~ Martin Luther King

“See what happens when we don’t allow people to do what they do best? We drive them crazy.” ~ Detective Robert Goren in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent

“Find something you like, / Like riding a bike, / or bowling a strike, /
And have fun with your brain every day. / Brains do best when they play.”
~ from A Walk in the Rain with a Brain, Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, illustrated by Bill Mayer

“What is wrong with this country? We are so quick to celebrate young people who succeed: the entertainers, the athletes, and we abandon those who need us the most.” ~ paraphrase from Judging Amy TV show, season finale, 5/05