In The Underachieving School, John Holt Shows us why schools can't be fixed. It's not a lack of money, too many students per teacher, too many societal problems, or any of the other ideas that have been blamed for the state of schooling. Holt shows, rather than tells, that schools can't be fixed because they are not a good idea gone bad. They were a bad idea to begin with.
Full of first hand accounts, this book shows the difference between learning and schooling; why schools are bad for children mentally, physically, and emotionally; why teachers talk too much and prevent students from real socialization; why tests are not only useless, but harmful; why schools turn previously well mannered children into "behaviour problems"; and so much more...
An excerpt from The Underachieving School highlights the problem:
"In school certain things are "spozed" to happen; the kids are "spozed" to sit still, be quiet, read the texts, do the workbooks, pass the exams. If none of these things happens, if the kids learn nothing, riot in the halls, drop out, that's OK, as long as you tried to make happen what was "spozed" to happen. But if you tried to make something else happen, even if, like Herndon's, your kind of order worked and your kids found things worth doing and actually did them, you're a threat to the system, and out you go. "
Many of us think that bad schools and student underachievement are a modern problem. They are not. Everett Reimer wrote about achievement problems in the 70s. John Taylor Gatto wrote about the 80s and 90s. Flesch, of "Why Johnny Can't Read" fame, wrote in the mid-50s. John Holt writes in the early 60s.
Read this book. Read Holt's others books. Read the authors above who came before and after Holt. Then you will have a broad picture, and will be able to truly understand, The Underachieving School.