Photograph: Steve Back/Barcroft Media

Education howlers are stupid things important people have said about education and below I’ve started a short list, utilizing a number randomizer to arrive at the number four (full disclosure: I limited the randomizer to numbers between 1 and 9), and I have three four howlers ready to go and just need help finding one more [thanks to jc and Charlotte for howler #4]. Kindly suggest howlers in the comments–and if we get more than four, we’ll toss away our random number and let it roll. [Note: I looked long and hard for a stupid quotation from Arne Duncan, but aside for this comment about Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans schools, he apparently doesn’t say stupid things. He just implements stupid policies. If you’ve got the goods on Duncan, hit me in the comments]

1.You cannot be creative unless you understand how sentences are constructed, what words mean and how to use grammar” — Michael Gove, UK Secretary of State for Education (Boing Boing)


2.I’ve got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about creationism, that some people have these beliefs as well. Let’s teach them about intelligent design. I think teach them the best science” — Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana (Biology major at Brown University) (Slate)


3. “We have had a strain of hostility to free enterprise and frankly, a strain of hostility to classic America starting in our academic institutions and spreading across this country. And I regard the Wall Street protests as a natural outcome of a bad education system teaching them really dumb ideas”Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and failed 2012 presidential candidate (Business Insider)


Photo credit: Patrick Gensel

4. “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” (; “[T]he illiteracy level of our children are appalling” (; “As Luce reminded me, he said, without data, without facts, without information, the discussions about public education mean that a person is just another opinion” ( — George W. Bush, former president of the United States.

 bush face

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About the Author

Derek Bridges

Derek Bridges lives in New Orleans, trading in words and pictures. A carpetbagger of long standing, he grew up in the top right corner of IL and later went to college in the middle cornfield part. He has also lived in MS and FL, for educational purposes only, and was diasporized for a time in TX.

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