What American Presidents Think About Education

It is a well-known fact that education has helped many people socially mobilize and advance in America. Many of today’s most powerful leaders achieved their goals by pursuing higher education, gaining significant experience, and working hard. In honor of President’s Day, we are sharing some powerful quotes from American presidents, present and past. Read closely — a common thread that ties these words together is the hope that everyone will be able to fairly access a superb education.

“Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.” -Ronald Reagan, 40th president

“The best means of forming a manly, virtuous, and happy people will be found in the right education of youth. Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail.” -George Washington, 1st President

“Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity.” -Lyndon Johnson, 36th President

“Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.” -George H. W. Bush, 41st President

“And when it comes to developing the high standards we need, it’s time to stop working against our teachers and start working with them. Teachers don’t go in to education to get rich. They don’t go in to education because they don’t believe in their children. They want their children to succeed, but we’ve got to give them the tools. Invest in early childhood education. Invest in our teachers and our children will succeed.” -Barack Obama, 44th President

“Knowledge — that is, education in its true sense — is our best protection against unreasoning prejudice and panic-making fear, whether engendered by special interest, illiberal minorities, or panic-stricken leaders.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President

“There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.” -John Adams, 2nd President

“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in. That everyone may receive at least a moderate education appears to be an objective of vital importance.” -Abraham Lincoln, 16th President

“If we want to invest in the prosperity of our nation, we must invest in the education of our children so that their talents may be fully employed.” -Bill Clinton, 42nd President

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.” -John F. Kennedy, 35th President

(photo credit: Rassmussen College)