It comes down to permission. I’m struck by how scarce that commodity is. I go around America giving people permission to be who they want to be, and I think: Why me? How did I get this job? Isn’t that what our schools are supposed to be doing? The answer, I’ve discovered, is that most Americans look back on their education as a permission-denying experience—a long, winding trail of don’ts and can’ts and shouldn’ts. I’ve made that statement in talks to college presidents and professors and school principals and headmasters, and not one of them has ever stood up and said, “How dare you say such a terrible thing?”

William Zinsser, Writing about Your Life