Pete Seeger: ‘Do you know the difference between education and experience?’

Musician Pete Seeger sings Amazing Grace during a concert celebrating his 90th birthday in New York in this May 3, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files
Pete Seeger sings Amazing Grace during a concert celebrating his 90th birthday in New York in May 2009. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files)

The great Pete Seeger has passed away at the age of 94. Here are some of the things he said and/or wrote in relation to education and the human condition:

“Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t. ”

“Singing with children in the schools has been the most rewarding experience of my life.”

“Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”

 

And then, of course, there are the famous lyrics from “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” that speak to humankind’s penchant to keep making the same monumental mistakes. Seeger wrote the first three verses and Joe Hickerson added the fourth and fifth as well as the repeat of the first Seeger-written verse:

 

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone for husbands everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
Where have all the husbands gone?
Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

 

 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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