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A Tibetan proverb says, "A child without education is like a bird without wings." There's the obvious interpretation—an uneducated child can not function to its fullest potential. But it's worth noting the proverb selects a bird, as opposed to some other object or living thing, to deliver its message. Birds, as symbols, represent freedom, peace, and the human spirit. So, the proverb is about more than living to one's full potential. It's about living itself. A child without education is not free.

The United Nation's fourth sustainable development goal — to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities to all — is not merely important, but vital. To celebrate their commitment, let's check out some of humanity's most impressive accomplishments in education over the years.

1763 — The Prussian government decides to provide broad access to schooling, which would prove to be the first step in a mass schooling movement that would spread across the globe.

1838 — Massachusetts congressman Horace Mann founds and edits The Common School Journal. About Mann's intellectual progressivism, the historian Ellwood P. Cubberley said, "No one did more than he to establish in the minds of the American people the conception that education should be universal, non-sectarian, free, and that its aims should be social efficiency, civic virtue, and character, rather than mere learning or the advancement of sectarian ends."

Arthur Rothstein / New York Public Library

1930 — The Suffrage Movement establishes equality between men and women, allowing women to take up teaching positions without facing discrimination or condescension.

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