Perhaps the greatest of all wrongs we do children in school is to deprive them of the chance to judge the worth of their own work and thus destroy in them the power to make such judgments, or even the belief that they can.
John Holt, The Underachieving School, p. 60
We cannot have real learning in school if we think it is our duty and our right to tell children what they must learn.
John Holt, How Children Fail, p. 179
What would happen if everybody started talking about what they know?
Susan Ohanian, Silence Ain’t Golden
There are two main reasons that we test children: The first is to threaten them into doing what we want done, and the second is to give us a basis for handing out the rewards and penalties on which the educational system–like all coercive systems–must operate.
John Holt, The Underachieving School, p. 55.
Live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us.
It is sometimes said ironically in China that individuals are allowed to experiment — so long as they succeed. Of course, so long as success is required, genuine experimentation cannot occur.
Howard Gardner, To Open Minds, p. 237
There is no more obnoxious way to punish a man than to force him to perform acts which make no sense to him… This mystification of useless effort is more intolerable than fatigue.
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity