Felix E. Schelling Quote

“True education makes for inequality; the inequality of individuality, the inequality of success, the glorious inequality of talent, of genius; for inequality, not mediocrity, individual superiority, not standardization, is the measure of the progress of the world.”

~ Felix E. Schelling

Ratings and Comments

Joe, Rochester, MI

Civil rights strive to equalize everyone, destroying education and talent.

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Anonymous    6/19/06

At least the modern education system is familiar with denominators (the lowest common denominator, that is).

David L. Rosenthal

In some ways we will never be equal and in other ways we should be treated as equals. I see nothing complicated about it.

Ropney, Toronto, ON

Very interesting quotation. Of course uneducated people are not equal either. But the idea, which seems to be pervasive where I am, that, at all costs, no child should get ahead of the least talented in the class for fear that the latter's self esteem might be harmed, is so destructive of everyhting education ought to stand for. Do I really need to say it? Apparently I do. The objective ought to be to raise every student to their greatest potential ..... which will, of course, be different for each of us.

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Anonymous    2/21/10

Greatest quote I have ever read

Byron, Fort Collins, CO

WOW! Talk about Politically Incorrect and right on!...What follows from this quotation is that, in a healthy society, promotions should be based on merit, not on Affirmative Action, nor on cronyism, nor on nepotism. Merit.

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Anonymous    5/20/11

In an attempt to ensure equal outcomes, our government violates individual rights - the protection of which is its only proper function. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the gargantuan, failed government school system.

Mike, Norwalk

That is one perspective from a standard of definitions

Michael A. Church, Grenada

The general outcomes of real education are characterized by these various inequalities that human beings cannot escape. However, they are outcomes and not the essence of real education. Consequently, those two aspects must not be confused.

J Carlton, Calgary

Brilliant and absolute.

E Archer, NYC

I'm afraid that the education of the masses has always been used to keep the power structures in place, funneling the fruits of labor to the ruling class who are the authorities of Church and State, often mixing the two creating a seat of power over which to play a game of thrones. ;-)

The ruling class are apologists for the dependency of their subjects, and the philosophy of honorable servitude is peppered throughout their educational texts. You are free because they say you are free -- if they say you are under arrest, you are under arrest. It is up to the 'authorities.' Conditioning children for 12 years to essentially obey and prepare them to be a good servants. With the right skills, you can work inside, wear nice clothes, and maybe have a window. Otherwise, it's gonna be hard labor in the fields. So the conditions of slavery have vastly improved, at least we can say that. ;-)

Mick, Manchester

This statement would only be applicable in the analysis of a comprehensively standard and universal education system e.g. The Japanese system which at least ensures 100% literacy and numeracy. The redistribution of life chances so that all have the opportunity to shine rather than a search for a common denominator of mediocrity is the underpinning philosophy of state education systems which in many western countries, the USA and U.K. in particular are underfunded and are used as poor examples to maintain the cronyism and privilege of private systems that operate alongside them.

E Archer, NYC

I've attended public schools, religious schools, and private schools, at different times, and in different states where attending school was compulsory for all. The UK and America were among those with the highest literacy rates in the world 75 years ago -- and education was not regulated by the federal government, nor attendance mandatory. Dare I say, the 'illiterate and innumerate' are only so in spite of the education system, not because of it. Wherever you find centralized control with armies of bureaucrats protecting their phony-baloney jobs, you will find ignorant people.

Education is a business - it has costs and revenues, people are paid for various roles in the process. A private school must make enough in revenue to cover their costs -- they usually do, quite well even. A government school does not have to generate revenue. The clients of government schools do not pay the school directly nor can they withhold payment until the job is done well. It is a compulsory service provided by the government (at the cost of taxpayers) -- you may choose to avoid such an education by paying for it somewhere else, but you're already paying for it with taxes.

Government-run education is about putting people on the government payroll. Guaranteed jobs for life and a pension -- some jobs you cannot be fired from, no matter the quality of service delivery. The curriculum is filled with the glory of government, and very purposefully 'dumbed-down' to keep the people in a dependency mind-set for the rest of their lives. Government worker unions of millions of people spend millions of dollars to get people elected that will pour more money into the schools because the education of the youth is so poor.

Right now in the US, govt workers are making 6 figure salaries, much higher than their private sector counterparts, for merely management and administration positions. Public education is a business like any other, except that it is not a service we can refuse. And the people getting paid for this work do all they can to support laws that will force people to not only pay for it, but to be 'taught' by them as well. A vicious circle. The worst is that the students are the ones suffering, getting a crappy education, and paying dearly for it. College is now a complete sham!

Mick, Manchester

"Education is business" says it all really. What about those is society who cannot afford to pay for private education. My Grandmother won a place at Grammar School but her parents could not afford the uniform and not to have her contribute so she went to work in factory at aged 14. Education as a private business maintains the privilege of those who can afford to pay for it. Those countries who sit atop the literacy and numeracy tables, e.g. Japan and Scandinavian countries, have excellent well funded and universally provisioned accepted and utilised state education systems. State education accepts that there is difference in ability but also accepts that everyone should start from the same place irrespective of ability to pay.

Mike, Norwalk

My children's education was from home. I was so broke when my first child was of school age we didn't have as much as a vehicle to sleep in. That child started university just before he turned 15. That was the last semester I paid for - the rest was self funded. With no grants or loans, after several children, that child is still getting additional degrees. My grand children are homeschooled also and way beyond their age peers. In countries like Japan and certain of those of Scandinavia that have advanced education - it is a family issue, not a government application. The inequality is based on family = the more government schools and government policies break up families, the greater the depreciation of education.

E Archer, NYC

It all goes back to the responsibility to educate yourself -- do I have to figure out what I am going to do and learn how and do it, or is that responsibility the State's? In England, all are subjects of the Crown, wards of the State. The commoner is regulated like cattle if he has not the means to pay his own way.

Schools are businesses -- labor and resources. Advanced degrees have always cost money ever since there were schools. What is a person to do if they do not have the money? They study on their own with books and apprenticing. Homeschooling was fairly popular a hundred years ago. And what do a community of parents do? They build a little school house, hire a teacher, and send their children to the school. That's how it is done -- in a group of families that take responsibility for their education. The State has merely co-opted that responsibility and rather than provide an economical solution, they hijack the responsibility and then force feed an 'education' that furthers dependence upon the State, a corruption of power.

I, too, homeschooled my children and also helped form a new school for a dozen families, and I am well aware of the politics and challenges of building a curriculum and a consensus between parents, teachers, and students. One of the problems with mainstream education is that students are brought up believing everything is laid out for them. They just show up and are told what hoops to jump through today. The mindset between the homeschooled student and the government schooled student ultimately is different -- one sees himself as the driver of his life, the other a mere passenger in it.

Mick, Manchester

Thanks for the 'Little House on the Prairie' imagery Mr A but I think things have moved on a little since then in terms of the legal requirements to ensure that a child is adequately educated in a safe and appropriate environment and that includes home schooling, certainly in the UK I am aware that home schooling has to be adequately provisioned to not only educate but also promote the safety of the child.
But of course you are correct in terms of the central importance relating to the question of responsibility. I would argue that this is a shared responsibility between society and parent and in some cases necessarily has to be as the state takes on the direct role of parent in child protection cases for instance - or rather the local authority or council as education is a devolved responsibility in the UK. The responsibility of society relates to infrastructure and adequate funding, the responsibility of the parent is to ensure that their child takes full advantage of what is on offer. But even the home schooled child in their education depends on state infrastructure in a more general sense, even if you don't care to acknowledge it.

Mike, Norwalk

Mick - for your information, home schooling rules are mostly State to State issues in the U.S. I lived in one State for about a year where I got turned into the State by a neighbor government school teacher. Multiple attorneys were working on taking the State to court, even to the Supreme Court if necessary. They had an extremely strong case. At the time, home schooling parents had to be certified to a slightly higher standard than regular government teachers. No religious teachings could go on during school hours, government books had to be used and the curriculum had to image the local government schools. If homeschoolers did not strictly follow State rules it was considered child abuse so, the State could secretly kid nap such children without warning, any time they wanted to (of course, gambling and prostitution were legal there). I did not want dummied down children that were socially inept so I moved - I didn't have the time to fight it while I was building a business and teaching my children. I know a school district in another State that would allow home schooled children to take as few as 1 class in any of the schools of the district if the parent felt inadequate in that subject - the home schooled children could also participate in sports. Where I raised most of my children most of the time, there was absolutely no mingling of free home schoolers and enslaved propagators. Most home schoolers associate in loosely tied associations - sharing the wealth. It has been my experience that home schoolers normally and freely associate across socio/economic levels - race, religion, athletic abilities, etc., etc., etc. - more than do government indoctrinated children (maybe that is why so many lies and fairy tales are created about home schooling). The less education depends on state infrastructure in a more general sense, the greater the knowledge and skills acquired.


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